2025 Ford Explorer Gets New Trim Ladder & New Look, Starts At $41,220

The Ford Explorer has always been an icon in the ongoing SUV wars, but if you were to look at the state of affairs when it came to its trim ladder, things were starting to get a bit complicated. Ford has decided to simplify things for 2025 with the new 2025 Ford Explorer aiming to not only clean up some excess flab for the new model year but also add new levels of tech and style to the venerable three-row hauler too.


Explorer Exterior Gets Touched Up, But Interior Steals The Show

One of the things that Explorer buyers will notice for the new model year is that the front fascia has received a makeover. New headlights are flanked by a larger front grille while the taillights have also been tweaked. The new grille will also help identify what trim level you are looking at with each one getting an exclusive grille design. For example, the new Active trim (which replaces the XLT moniker) gets a simple black/chrome mesh grille while the range-topping Platinum trim gets a Satin Chrome treatment with an incorporated wing design. Meanwhile, the ST and ST-Line models get black honeycomb mesh grilles.

The trim ladder itself has also been lightened for 2025 with the aforementioned XLT, Timberline, Limited, and King Ranch models all being axed. This is roughly in line with what we saw in the smaller Escape which also simplified its trim ladder for its own updates. Ford says that this simplification will help give customers a better grasp of what model is right for them while also reducing some of the confusion that occurred when comparing various trims and their respective equipment packages.

The bulk of the updates are found in the interior with Ford engineers moving the dashboard forward which helped enhance ergonomics and front passenger room. A 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system is newly standard and the Explorer will be the first Ford offering to introduce the company’s “Digital Experience” to Ford buyers. We last saw this system teased on the Lincoln Nautilus and Ford claimed then that the new system was designed from the ground up to fully incorporate many of the popular mobile apps and services that buyers have come to expect. They include Google’s Assistant technology and other Google Built-in services as well as Amazon Alexa Built-In. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard and Ford even reveals that Digital Experience has five times more processing power than the outgoing SYNC-based system. Other apps including Youtube aim to enhance usability while a separate gaming app allows Explorer occupants to play them via a bluetooth-enabled game controller.


Carryover Performance Continues

With all the updates that Ford made to the exterior and interior, it’s no surprise to see that the engine lineup is carried over from the outgoing model with the base 300-hp, turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder continuing to see duty in the Active, ST-Line, and Platinum trims. The 400-hp, turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 also returns with the ST continuing to get it standard. The Platinum also gets access to the engine but only as an optional extra. A 10-speed automatic is paired to it once again, but Ford says that it recalibrated the software to improve shift quality.

The Explorer’s platform continues to be a RWD-based one, but all-wheel drive will continue to be available on every trim level with Ford reps also promising revisions to the suspension to help improve handling. Order books for the 2025 Explorer are open now, with a base Active model starting at $41,220 which is a noticeable bump up from the outgoing model’s $38,485 base sticker. Ford wasn’t ready to reveal fuel economy numbers just yet, but look for that information to be revealed later before the model makes its way to showrooms later this year.

Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.

Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.

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