Ford Explorer

What makes the Ford Explorer so special, and how does it stack up against the competition?

What is the Ford Explorer?

The Ford Explorer was meticulously crafted to provide its customers with a vehicle that can take them wherever they need to go. With its versatile model lineup, the Explorer offers exceptional capability, advanced technology, and ample space for both daily activities and weekend adventures.

The Explorer’s sleek design is sure to turn heads, but it’s the SUV’s performance that really impresses. Whether you’re driving in the city or taking on challenging terrain, the Explorer’s capable engine delivers the power you need. It’s not just about getting there, however. The Explorer also features an impressive array of standard and available equipment, including advanced safety and driver-assist features that ensure a comfortable and secure ride.

Unsurprisingly, the Ford Explorer has been one of Canada’s favourite SUVs for over three decades. With its outstanding combination of style, performance, and advanced features, the Explorer is a true standout in the crowded SUV market. Whether you’re heading out for a weekend of camping, hauling the kids to soccer practice, or simply cruising around town, the Explorer is the perfect choice for anyone who demands exceptional quality and performance from their vehicle.

Trim Levels of The Ford Explorer

Below is a list of the available trim levels for the Ford Explorer for the 2023 model year.


The XLT is designed to be versatile and comfortable for any adventure. With features like Heated Front Seats, Terrain Management System, LED Signature Lighting, and Rear Parking Sensors, you’ll be ready for anything from tailgating to family vacations to nights on the town. Looking for a little more expressive and unique design? The XLT Appearance Package might be right for you.


The limited takes the fundamentals of the XLT and takes it up a notch with a variety if enhanced styling points spanning from the exterior to the interior. Limited has little bearing on the level of customization available, as this trim comes standard with a host of amazing features, as well as even more in terms of optional equipment to make this the Explorer of your dreams


Maybe the chrome accents on the Limited arent for you. Maybe you desire something with a little more attitude and aggression. The ST-Line brings that to the table with some performance-inspired cosmetic enhancements to create a level of distinction and personalization to your drive. Features like the Sport Steering Wheel with Red Stitching and ActiveX Seats set this apart from the rest, making the interior feel as special as the exterior.


Does your commute consist of scaling mountains via a tight and twisty trail, lots of logs and rocks to climb over, and the occasional river crossing? No? Well if you ever decide to try that out, the Timberline is the right Explorer for the circumstance. The Explorer Timberline is purpose-built, meaning it doesn’t only have visual upgrades to give it an off-road appearance. It comes with a lifted ride height to get you over those obstacles, and on the off-chance that you can’t clear it, you’re good because it also comes with steel underbody skid plates to take the brunt of the force. There are many other enhancements to ensure you are ready for any adventure, be it on the road or off-road, the Timberline has your back.


The no holds barred performance Explorer that is sure to put a smile on any occupant’s face, the ST will more than suffice. With a 3.0L Ecoboost V6, built to the tune of 400hp, this family SUV can handle all your adventures and some, with striking good looks, exceptional handling, and unparalleled capability. The ST is the SUV where you take the kids to Great Wolf Lodge and they will have more fun on the way there. Don’t overlook the ST as it might be just the right recipe for your life to add a little spice to your drives.


The Platinum features luxury at every turn. Bask in the rays of luxury with the Twin-Panel Moonroof, listen to the sounds of perfection with the Bang & Olufsen Sound System, and navigate the city effortlessly with the abundance of driver assist features, all designed to create the best driving experience possible. The Platinum, like all Explorer trim levels, has a distinct set of styling enhancements that set it apart from the rest. The Platinum, however, takes it a step further with Tri-Diamond Perforated Leather Seats, Grey Ash Swirl Real Wood accents, a Satin Aluminum Grille, 21″ Bright Machine-Faced Aluminum Wheels and more!

Unleash the performance

If the standard trim levels don’t quite do it for you, there’s always the ST. Buckle up and get ready for a surreal experience on the open road. This SUV packs a powerful punch with its twin-turbocharged 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine that delivers a whopping 400 horsepower. The Explorer ST’s performance-tuned sport suspension and intelligent 4-wheel drive system provide you with the control you need to take on any adventure. And, with its bold design cues, this SUV communicates its thrilling level of performance capability before you even hit the gas. Experience the ultimate driving machine with the Ford Explorer ST.

Top Competitors With The Ford Explorer

Chevrolet Traverse

Starting From

$ 44,047 .00

Honda Pilot

Starting From

$ 52,733 .50

Kia Telluride

Starting From

$ 52,883 .00

Hyundai Palisade

Starting From

$ 50,706 .00

Chevrolet Traverse

The Chevrolet Traverse is an uncommon, yet very competitive SUV in this segment with plenty going for it. The Traverse comes with a 310hp V6 mated to the usual 9-speed Automatic Transmission which provides just enough power to get you going. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat sport appearance though, as the muscle car inspiration does not breathe any athleticism into the Traverse. it is important to note that Chevy did not intend on making this a sporty SUV, which means the ride quality is relatively comfortable.

The Traverse has a fairly attractive starting price, significantly lower than some competition in the same segment, but lacks some of the features, as well as fit and finish that you would probably expect. Though you can get higher trim levels that would seemingly be better compared to other manufacturers, the traverse falls further behind the higher up in rim levels you go. This might be the value option if you’re on a tight budget but must get a third-row capable SUV for the family.

The comfort features in the Traverse are relatively nice because it is a modern SUV. The third row is relatively spacious with enough room for even some adults which can be difficult in some of the competition. Alongside being suitable for third-row passengers, if you feel the need to go on a shopping spree, the Traverse can do that with plenty of room when you fold down the second and third-row seating.

How Does The Explorer Compare?

The Explorer has something for everyone.

Chevrolet has an interesting, but similar approach for positioning the Traverse in comparison to the Explorer. The Traverse has 6 different trim levels, each with unique upgrades over the prior. Where the Explorer stands out is how it differentiates itself between different trim levels. In contrast, the Traverse seems to become very muddy with what benefits you actually get for spending an additional $20,000 over the base model. The base LS trim comes with a great level of customization and it provides third-row seating, which might be the only major attraction to this vehicle.

Ford has taken the Explorer in a slightly different direction, allowing customers to spec out their vehicle at any trim level, as much as they want. Not only that, but each trim has a distinct purpose and personality compared to another, so there is a perfect fit for every customer. Whether you’re looking to go grocery shopping, check out a local trail, or find a winding road, the Explorer can do all that in one fell swoop. Finding a vehicle with a purpose is far better than just finding an SUV that does the trick, and that is the greatest draw to the Explorer, besides its strikingly good looks obviously.

Honda Pilot

Honda has been around for a long time, producing some of the most affordable and well-known cars ever. Gone are the days of affordable Hondas, but the looks they are known for are here to stay! The Honda Pilot is a contender in the 3-row SUV market, offering good looks and modern tech, albeit at a high price point. The Pilot has 5 different trim levels, one of which is a unique off-road-focused trim called TrailSport, which is a direct competition to the Explorer Timberline

The 2023 Honda Pilot has a 3.5L V6 engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission, producing 285hp – a 5hp increase from the 2022 model. They also did away with the 9-speed Automatic Transmission for this new 10-speed for the 2023 refresh, improving throttle response and comfort when shifting through gears. Though the drivetrain did receive a small overhaul from the previous year, don’t expect a significant difference worth getting overly excited about.

The interior on the Pilot is what you would expect, spacious enough. It can fit up to eight individuals but probably is more geared toward the younger audience sitting in the rear rows. There is the option to get 2nd-row captains chairs which bring the capacity down to 7 seats but it might be worth it if you find you get more use out of the second rather than the third row. The infotainment is interesting, as you get a standard 7″ screen, but unlock the larger 9″ version when you pay for the TrailSport trim and above.

How Does The Ford F-150 Compare?

A good option for those that like Honda.

As the Honda Pilot got a refresh for the 2023 Model Year, it is no longer a lame-looking family vehicle. It has some nice design elements that the competition may be lacking. Where the Pilot struggles is defining itself in the lineup, with 4 of the 5 models being very similar. The only trim that competes well with the Explorer is the TrailSport to the Timberline. The only other model that competes is the base model Sport to the XLT. Honda doesn’t offer a sport-tuned version, or ultra-premium focused Pilot because that isn’t the market they are targeting.

Honda Pilot TrailSport vs Ford Explorer Timberline. That is what we need to know. While the TrailSport and Timberline share many characteristics in common and might look similar on the outside, what’s underneath shows the true differences between the two. For starters, the Timberline has Four Wheel Driver rather than AWD, alongside a Locking/ Limited Slip Differential to ensure ample traction and power when faced with an obstacle. The Honda Pilot TrailSport is designed to appeal to those who don’t intend to take their family SUV down anything more than the rare dirt road, which is why the Explorer Timberline is a much more capable off-roader.

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride had taken the media by storm only a few years back, making headlines with its distinct styling and attractive appearance. It recently received its first refresh for the 2023 Model Year and has lost its unique amber DRL design that many enjoyed. Though they ditched the headlight design, they stuck to their ideas of what the Telluride should look like and it now has arguably an even more unique design. Some might mistake the refreshed model for an EV, even though they don’t make one.

The Kia Telluride comes with a naturally-aspirated V6 producing 291hp, similar to much of the competition, minus the lack of a Turbo for some reason. Due to this, the fuel mileage takes a slight hit, especially in the city, and the size doesn’t help either. The pricing is pretty competitive, as it starts and ends around the same as many others in this segment. Something seen as either a benefit or drawback to some is that each trim level has very limited customization besides exterior and interior colour, and things like floor mats and roof racks.

The only trim levels with 8-passenger seating is the entry-level EX and SX, where the rest of the lineup gets an altered 2nd row with a captain-style seat arrangement. Interior colour options are lacking, especially on the lower trims. Folding down the rear seats can provide plenty of rear cargo room for a weekend trip to the cottage or help a friend move their stuff.

How Does The Explorer Compare?

It’s a tough one. Do you care if you have the same SUV everyone else has?

The Kia Telluride is a strong contender in today’s market, offering good looks and modern tech, wrapped in a refreshed package. The downside to the Telluride is the fact that the trim levels don’t excite. This is seeming like a trend, that the competition to the Ford Explorer lacks the distinction between trim levels, or doesn’t offer any true differentiation factors when paying more for a higher trim. Manufacturers think that a badge and an extra feature or two, maybe blacking out a window trim is enough to warrant an extra $5,000. As a model in their lineup, the Kia Telluride has a good level of distinction compared to the others. It’s worth noting that while some may find the lack of excitement in the Telluride’s trim levels to be a downside, others may appreciate the simplicity and ease of choosing between options. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and priorities when deciding whether a Telluride is right for you.

The Kia Telluride comes with two trims that attempt to elevate the off-road capability, titled the X-Line and X-Pro. The X-Line adds Tow Mode and High Ground Clearance (213mm) to give it slightly more capability, while the X-Pro trim gets you additional All Terrain Tires, 18″ black alloy wheels, and 5,500 lb Towing Capacity to provide slightly more functionality. Neither of these is dedicated off-road machines line an Explorer Timberline, but helps when you run into the rare adversary on your commute to work. If how effective the off-road capability of your SUV is, maybe you have a cottage that you visit frequently or have some nearby trails you’d like to explore, the Timberline would be far more suited for you.

Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai Palisade, alongside the Kia Telluride, received a facelift for the 2023 Model Year. It shares the same 291hp V6, as well as everything else mechanically, but takes on different styling. It is a flip of a coin for which is the more desirable between those two and comes down to which style you like more. The Palisade comes with very similar features and interior design and space which makes it great for families who need extra room.

The Palisade simplifies everything about the Tellruide in terms of trim levels and only has 3 to choose from. The Preferred, Urban, and Ultimate Calligraphy. Each prospective trim has roughly a $5,000 premium over the previous, and comes with some design and tech improvements to help justify the price increase. As there are only 3 trim levels, they have done away with any sport-tuned or off-road version, so the Explorer leaves the Palised in the dust in terms of options.

As is the Kia Telluride, the Palisade also shares the same level of interior space and comfort, for cargo and passengers. There is room for 8 individuals, but might not recommend stuffing adults in the back for too long, and great room when you fold down the rear seats for those trips to Home Depot and Walmart. The equipment is more streamlined than with Kia, as each of the 3 models has more packed into each, and a few optional bits available as well.

How Does The Explorer Compare?

Pick one or the other. The Palisade and Telluride re too similar.

The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are virtually the same SUV mechanically, so it is up to you which of the two is best for you. The Palisade lets you streamline the ordering process by reducing the number of options you have, whereas the Kia Telluride gives you a little more variety to find the perfect fit for you. The Palisade is lacking a trim that looks to provide any form of off-road capability which is a downside if that is something you might want to consider. Both the Palisade and Telluride are also missing a performance-related trim, which gives the Explorer a leg up.

The Explorer was designed to provide value to each and every one of its customers, having the XLT and Limited trim to attract those looking at the competition, while also having the ST-Line and ST that invoke a sense of passion in each drive. The competition is seriously lacking the addition of any sport-style model, which sets the Explorer apart. Comparing apples to apples, the XLT has fair competition, but once you start adding in the other trim levels, the Explorer becomes the clear winner. The only redeeming factor for the Palisade is how streamlined the order process is, limited to only 3 trims, and very few options.


“Broad-shouldered aesthetic, plentiful powertrain options, 400-hp ST performance model.”

Final Thoughts

The Ford Explorer has been around since 1991, one of the most well-known and longest-standing modern SUV names on the market today, and Ford continues to update and improve it each and every year. With the addition of Jewel Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Active Park Assist 2.0 is now optional on more trim levels, and many more updates for the 2023 Model Year, the Explorer stays more relevant than ever in today’s market. The USP for the Explorer is the two stand-out ST and Timberline trims, which are the polar opposites of each other but have major key benefits to each. The ST is the uncompromising road-going performance model. It breaks away from the average, by offering exceptional performance, communicated through bold ST design cues and powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine, while still providing standard features such as Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ and SYNC 3 with Voice-Activated Navigation System and FordPass Connect.

The other exciting trim on the Explorer is the Timberline. It’s the most factory-offered off-road capable version to date, featuring a 2.3L EcoBoost engine with 300 horsepower and 310 lb.‑ft. of torque, 3.58:1 TORSEN® limited-slip rear axle, 18″ high gloss black-painted aluminum all-terrain wheels, blackout treatment for headlamps and taillamps, Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R-18 all-terrain tires, and a Class IV Trailer Tow Package with 5,300‑lb. towing capacity, among other features such as the exclusive Deep Cypress ActiveX Seating Material with Deep Tangerine Accent stitching, increased ground clearance, and underbody steel skid plate. If neither a sporty or off-road capable SUV, doesn’t appeal to you, there is always the XLT, Limited, and Platinum that put more focus on comfort and luxury.

Find out if the Ford Explorer is the right SUV for you and please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our Ford Brand Specialists who can provide more detail in person or over the phone. Head to our website to browse our current inventory, or come into our store to Experience the Yorkdale Ford Difference today!

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