Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer
Ford Explorer P4220630.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Production1990–present
Model years1991–present
Body and chassis
ClassMid-size SUV (1991–2010)
Mid-size crossover SUV[1][2] (2011–present)
Chronology
PredecessorFord Bronco II

The Ford Explorer is a range of SUVs manufactured by Ford Motor Company. Introduced in 1990 for the 1991 model year, it is currently in its fifth generation. Variants have also been marketed through the Lincoln-Mercury Division as the Mercury Mountaineer (1997-2010) and Lincoln Aviator (2003-2005). As with the Ford Ranger, it derives its name from a trim package used on the Ford F-Series (from 1968 to 1986). Alongside it, Ford also markets the Ford Police Interceptor Utility, a replacement for the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. A specially modified Special Service Vehicle version is also available from Ford Fleet for law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS agencies.

Intended as the replacement for the Ford Bronco II, the Ford Explorer was introduced in both two-door (the Ford Explorer Sport, also sold as the 1991-1994 Mazda Navajo) and four-door body styles, with the latter being the first four-door Ford SUV. Following the 2002 introduction of the third-generation Explorer, the Ford Explorer Sport was discontinued after the 2003 model year. The Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a mid-size pickup truck based upon two generations of the four-door style from 2001 to 2010. It was sold with several powertrain configurations. Along with two-wheel drive (rear-wheel drive 1991-2010; front-wheel drive 2011-present), part-time four-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive are options. Since 1995, part-time four-wheel drive has been a 'shift on the fly' system with full protection against being engaged at high speed.

As with its Ford Bronco II predecessor, the initial versions of the Ford Explorer derived its chassis and powertrain from the Ford Ranger, sharing a common chassis through 2001 for the four-door (the Explorer Sport was shared this commonality through its 2003 discontinuation and the Explorer Sport Trac would do so through 2005). For the 2002 launch of the third-generation Explorer, the model was given a body-on-frame chassis distinct from the Ranger. For the fifth-generation 2011 Explorer, the model range was shifted to unibody construction and into the full-size segment. Though sharing a similar chassis as the Ford Flex and Ford Taurus, Ford officially markets the current Ford Explorer as an SUV, slotted between the unibody-chassis Ford Escape and body-on-frame Ford Expedition.

First generation (1991–1994)

First generation (UN46)
'91-'94 Ford Explorer.jpg
First-generation Ford Explorer
Overview
ProductionFebruary 1990 – November 1994[3][4]
Model years1991–1994
AssemblyLouisville, Kentucky, United States (Louisville Assembly Plant)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States (St. Louis Assembly)
Valencia, Venezuela (Valencia Assembly)
Body and chassis
Body style3-door SUV
5-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
RelatedMazda Navajo
Ford Ranger
Ford Bronco II
Powertrain
Engine4.0L OHV Cologne V6
Transmission5-speed M5OD-R1 manual
4-speed A4LD automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase3-Door: 102.1 in (2593 mm)
5-Door: 111.9 in (2842 mm)
Length3-Door: 174.5 in (4419 mm)
5-Door: 184.3 in (4673 mm)
Width70.2 in (1778 mm)
Height3-Door: 67.5 in (1714 mm)
5-Door: 67.3 in (1709 mm)
Eddie Bauer 4-Door 4WD: 68.3 in (1735 mm)
1992 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer
Interior

The Ford Explorer was introduced in March 1990 for the 1991 model year. To better compete against the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer and Jeep Cherokee mid-size sport-utility vehicles, Ford sought to replace the Ford Bronco II with a vehicle sized closer to its competitors. In an effort to attract family buyers, a four-door version was developed alongside the two-door (launched the same month as the four-door S-10 Blazer).

As with the Ford Bronco II, the first-generation Ford Explorer shares its chassis and underpinnings with the first-generation (1983-1992) Ford Ranger. In comparison to the Bronco II, the Explorer is far larger, with the two-door Explorer Sport gaining 12.6 inches in length and 2.1 inches of width; a four-door is 22.5 inches longer and 730 pounds heavier.

As with its predecessor, the Ford Explorer has a large degree of commonality with the Ford Ranger, sharing its front bumper, fenders (modified), headlights, grille, and wheels; with the exception of its steering wheel hub, the Explorer shares its entire dashboard with the 1989-1992 Ford Ranger. In a major change from the Bronco II, the Explorer was given its own front door stampings. In addition for creating a four-door layout, the lack of commonality with the Ranger allowed for two major aerodynamic improvements; along with the elimination of exterior drip rails (by wrapping the doors into the roof), the sideview mirrors were integrated onto the doors (rather than bolted on).

Chassis

Sharing its engine with the Ranger and four-wheel drive Ford Aerostar, the Explorer was fitted with a German-produced 155hp 4.0L Cologne V6 as the sole engine offering, replacing the previous 2.9L V6. A Mazda M5OD 5-speed manual was the standard transmission offering, with the option of the Ford 4-speed A4LD overdrive automatic transmission. For 1993, the engine output was increased to 160hp.

Along with the standard rear-wheel drive powertrain, at its launch, the Explorer was also offered with various configurations of part-time four-wheel drive, powered by a Borg Warner 13–54 transfer case. In addition to a manually shifted transfer case, Ford offered "Touch Drive" electronic push-button shifting; both were "shift-on-the-fly" designs that allowed the vehicle to be shifted from two-wheel drive to "four-high" at any speed and into "four-low" when the vehicle was stopped. All Explorers were equipped with the Ford 8.8 axle in either a limited slip differential, or open version with a variety of available gear ratios. Four-wheel-drive front axles were the TTB ("Twin Traction Beam") Dana 35 with some Dana 44-spec components.

Trim

At its launch, the Ford Explorer followed the Aerostar, Bronco, Econoline, F-Series, and Ranger in model trim. The XL was sold as the base trim, with XLT as the upper range, with the outdoors-themed Eddie Bauer trim as the top trim. The XL was distinguished by a black grille (chrome optional) with steel wheels, while the XLT offered a chrome grille and alloy wheels; the Eddie Bauer offered alloy wheels and two-tone paintwork.

The Ford Explorer Sport was offered solely on the two-door body style. Offering black lower bodywork and grille and alloy wheels, the Sport was intended as a replacement for the Bronco II. From 1991 to 1994, Mazda marketed the two-door Ford Explorer as the Mazda Navajo; the model was awarded the 1991 Motor Trend Truck of the Year award.

The Ford Explorer Limited was introduced for 1993 as a luxury-trim model slotted above the Eddie Bauer. Largely introduced as a competitor to the Oldsmobile Bravada, the Explorer Limited was offered only as a four-door with an automatic transmission. Distinguished by its color-matched grille, headlight trim, and model-specific bodywork and wheels, the Limited was offered with several model-specific features, including automatic headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, foglamps, and center roof console (with compass and outside thermometer).

The Limited edition, added for the 1993 model year, was available only in the 5-door body style and was positioned at the top of the lineup above the Eddie Bauer edition. It featured automatic headlights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, foglamps, a center roof console with compass and outside thermometer, unique wheels and grille, and an automatic transmission as standard equipment. The grill and headlight trims on the Limited edition were paint-matched to the body color, unlike the chrome (XLT) or black plastic (XL) versions on other trim levels.

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