Ford Explorer: Unleashing the Power of Tons of Towing Capability

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  October 2, 2022
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The Ford Explorer is a sport utility vehicle produced by the American manufacturer Ford since 1990. The Ford Explorer went on to become one of the most popular sport utility vehicles on the road.

The model years through 2010 were traditional body-on-frame, mid-size SUVs. For the 2011 model year, Ford moved the Explorer to a more modern unibody, full-size crossover SUV/crossover utility vehicle platform, the same Volvo-derived platform the Ford Flex and Ford Taurus use.

What is the Ford Explorer? It’s a mid-size SUV manufactured by Ford since 1991. It’s one of the best-selling Ford vehicles worldwide.

Exploring the Different Variants of the Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer has been in production for almost 30 years and has undergone several changes in its generations. Over the years, Ford has introduced various models and variants of the Explorer, each with its own unique features and capabilities. Some of the available models and variants of the Ford Explorer include:

  • Standard Explorer
  • Explorer Sport
  • Explorer Trac
  • Explorer Police Interceptor
  • Explorer FPIU (Ford Police Interceptor Utility)

Trim Packages and Exclusive Models

In addition to the standard models, Ford has also introduced various trim packages and exclusive models of the Explorer. Some of these include:

  • Eddie Bauer
  • XL
  • Limited
  • Platinum
  • ST

The Eddie Bauer model was introduced in 1991 and was named after the outdoor clothing company. It was retired in 2010. The XL model was introduced in 2012 and is a more basic version of the Explorer.

Shared Platform and Commonality

The Ford Explorer shares its platform with the Ford Expedition, and the two vehicles have a lot of commonality. The Explorer was also derived from the Ford Ranger truck chassis, and the Explorer Sport Trac model was a crew cab utility vehicle with a pickup bed and tailgate at the rear.

Replacing the Crown Victoria Sedan

The Ford Explorer Police Interceptor was introduced in 2011 to replace the Crown Victoria sedan as the primary police vehicle. It is assembled alongside the standard Explorer in Chicago and shares the same platform and mechanical components.

Retaining the Nameplate and Splitting the Explorer

In 2020, Ford introduced a new generation of the Explorer, which split the nameplate into two models: the standard Explorer and the Explorer ST. The new Explorer ST is a high-performance variant with a 400-hp engine and exclusive features such as distinguished wheel wells and rocker panels.

Discontinuing the Explorer Sport Trac and Declining Popularity

The Explorer Sport Trac model was discontinued in 2010 due to declining popularity. The Ford Explorer has primarily been a truck-based SUV, but the latest generation has adopted a more car-like chassis and interior. Despite this change, the Explorer remains a popular vehicle for families and adventurers alike.

Towing with the Ford Explorer: A Confident and Robust Capability

If you’re looking for a towing-equipped SUV, the Ford Explorer is a great option. With its powerful engine and robust collection of tech and utility options, the Explorer remains a storied model in the class. And with the newly reintroduced base turbocharged EcoBoost engine option, the Explorer’s towing capability is better than ever.

The Explorer’s Towing Capacity: Maximum Poundage

The Explorer’s towing capacity is impressive, with a maximum of 5,600 pounds when properly equipped. This means that you can tow a trailer, boat, or other heavy load with confidence, knowing that the Explorer has the horsepower and torque to get the job done.

The EcoBoost Engine: A Powerful Option for Towing

The Explorer’s EcoBoost engine option is a powerful choice for those who need to tow heavy loads. With up to 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, this engine provides the Explorer with the necessary power to tow with ease.

Towing Tech: Options to Make Towing Easier

The Explorer also comes equipped with a variety of towing tech options to make towing easier and more convenient. These include:

  • Trailer sway control: This system helps keep your trailer stable and in line with your vehicle, even in windy conditions.
  • Hill descent control: This system helps you maintain a steady speed when towing downhill, reducing the risk of accidents.
  • Class III Trailer Tow Package: This package includes a frame-mounted hitch, a wiring harness, and a tow bar, making it easy to tow heavy loads.

Towing for Family and Camping Trips

Whether you’re towing a trailer for a family vacation or a camping trip, the Explorer’s towing capability makes it a great choice. With its spacious interior, comfortable seating, and ample cargo space, the Explorer is perfect for long road trips with the family. And with its robust towing capability, you can bring along all the gear you need for a camping adventure.

Overall, the Ford Explorer’s towing capability is a confident and robust feature that makes it a great choice for those who need to tow heavy loads. With its powerful engine, towing tech options, and ample cargo space, the Explorer is a versatile SUV that can handle any towing challenge.

Power and Performance: What Makes the Ford Explorer Stand Out?

The Ford Explorer offers a wide range of engine and transmission options to suit different driving needs. Here are the available powertrain configurations:

  • Standard 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, delivering 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. This engine is perfect for city driving and offers reasonable fuel efficiency.
  • Optional 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission, delivering 365 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. This engine is composed and potent, making it perfect for drivers who want extra power and performance.
  • The Timberline and King Ranch trims come with a standard 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, delivering 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. This engine is the most powerful in the lineup and allows the Explorer to hit 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds.
  • The Platinum trim comes with a standard hybrid powertrain that pairs a 3.3-liter V6 engine with an electric motor and a 10-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain delivers a combined output of 318 hp and allows the Explorer to achieve an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Performance and Handling

The Ford Explorer is an athletic SUV that motivates drivers to explore more. Here are some of the performance and handling features that make it stand out:

  • Intelligent 4WD with Terrain Management System allows drivers to choose from seven different drive modes to match the terrain they’re driving on.
  • Available rear-wheel drive configuration gives the Explorer a more athletic ride and handling.
  • Stiffer suspension on the ST trim provides a more aggressive ride and better control.
  • Available adjustable suspension allows drivers to choose between a softer or stiffer ride depending on their preference.
  • The Explorer has a real towing sense, with a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,600 pounds when properly equipped.

Innovative Features

The Ford Explorer is packed with innovative features that make it a pleasure to drive. Here are some of the standout features:

  • The available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster provides drivers with real-time information about their vehicle’s performance.
  • The available Ford Co-Pilot360™ suite of driver-assist features includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering, and Evasive Steering Assist.
  • The Police Interceptor Utility version of the Explorer is the quickest police vehicle tested by the Michigan State Police.
  • The Explorer uses a direct injection fuel system that delivers fuel more efficiently and reduces emissions.

Experience the Ultimate Comfort and Convenience with the Ford Explorer Interior

The Ford Explorer offers a variety of interior features that make your trip comfortable and easy. Some of the standard features include:

  • 8-inch touchscreen display
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Easy-to-use control center
  • Plenty of storage area
  • Cloth or leather material, depending on the model you choose

If you prefer extra features, you can shop for the Ford Explorer’s unique packages that include additional convenience and advanced technology.

Cargo Space Designed for Carrying Your Gear

The Ford Explorer is perfect for people who love to go on long trips and need plenty of space to carry their gear. The cargo area is large and designed to keep your items safe and sound. Some of the significant cargo features include:

  • 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third rows folded
  • A lower cargo area with a step for easy entry
  • Upper cargo area for carrying smaller items
  • A center console designed for storing your things
  • A grab handle on both sides of the cargo area for keeping your balance while putting things in or taking them out

Stay Connected with the Ford Explorer’s Audio and Instrument Controls

The Ford Explorer is equipped with advanced audio and instrument controls that help you stay connected while on the road. Some of the features include:

  • A sound system that provides excellent sound quality
  • A modern instrument cluster that keeps you informed about your trip
  • A range of audio options, including SiriusXM Radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
  • Keyless entry and push-button start for convenience

The Ford Explorer’s audio and instrument controls are easy to use and provide a significant level of convenience while driving.


So, the Ford Explorer is a multipurpose vehicle perfect for families and adventurers alike. It’s been in production for 30 years and has undergone many changes, but it’s still one of the most popular vehicles on the market. The Ford Explorer is a great choice if you’re looking for a vehicle that can tow, has a robust capability, and offers plenty of tech options for towing easier. So, don’t be afraid to explore all the possibilities the Ford Explorer has to offer!

Also read: these are the best trash cans for the Ford Explorer

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.