When the Ford Motor Company first introduced the 1991 Ford Explorer to the consumer market, it was modeled after the infamous two-door Bronco II. It was the first four-door SUV that came out of the Louisville, Kentucky, Ford manufacturing plant. When describing the physical dynamics of the Ford Explorer, it belongs to the light truck category, slotted between the smaller Ford Edge and the larger Ford Expedition. Since its debut in 1990, the Explorer has had a number of changes to its chassis and powertrain makeup. Now running in its sixth generation, the Ford Explorer has gone a long way since its original Ford Ranger derision it came from. The first two generations of the Explorer used the Ranger’s physical characteristics before switching to a model-specific design going into the third and fourth generations. Upon the fifth generation, it was repackaged as a CUV as it adapted a variant of the Ford Taurus chassis that was designed for SUV use. There are many cars on the road that are similar to the Ford Explorer. These include the models of the five-door Explorer wagon, as well as a three-door, that was offered to the consumer market from 1991 until 2003. According to CBS Quality Cars, the Ford Explorer has become the best-selling SUV in America of all time. With a track record like this, it is no wonder several vehicle manufacturers strive to compete against Ford, working hard to meet and beat its impressive performance record. Since 1991, there have been some vehicles seen on the road that share uncanny similarities with the Ford Explorer.
1. Buick Enclave
Although compared to the Ford Explorer as an alternative, the Buick Enclave features comfort and elegance a few notches above. The seating capacity of seven people matches the Explorer and the interior storage capacity is 97.4 cubic feet. It can also haul up to five thousand pounds. The V6 engine puts out 310 horsepower and can reach the sixty miles per hour mark in 6.6 seconds. Known for luxury models, Buick made no exception with the Enclave. The base price starts at $40,000 USD.
2. Chevrolet Traverse
Similar to the Ford Explorer, the Chevrolet Traverse is a mid-size SUV unit with a three-row seating arrangement. It can accommodate up to eight people and has an interior cargo capacity of 98.2 cubic feet. It can haul up to 5000 pounds and starts at the base price of $29,800 USD. Much like the Explorer, its exterior is elegant yet uncomplicated.
3. Dodge Durango
The Dodge Durango is a sporty SUV, just like the Ford Explorer. It also has the same athleticism and has an interior cargo space of 85.1 cubic feet. It seats six people and starts at the base price of $32,570 USD. The 6.2-liter, V8 engine has a horsepower of 710 and can hit sixty miles per hour in 3.6 seconds. Of the Ford Explorer alternatives, the Dodge Durango is among the fastest and most impressive.
4. Honda Pilot
The Honda Pilot is a mid-size family SUV, just like the Ford Explorer. It can also hold up to eight people, thanks to the spacious interior. As for the cargo capacity, the Pilot offers 83.9 cubic feet of storage in the rear, which is smaller than the Explorer’s 87.8 cubic-foot measurements. The combined fuel economy of the Honda Pilot averages at twenty-three miles per gallon and can hit sixty miles per hour on the road in 5.9 seconds. As for the Explorer, it takes 5.6 seconds. The Pilot’s V6 engine has an output capable of 280 horsepower, which is slightly less than the 300 horsepower coming from Ford’s Explorer model. As for its price tag, the base 2022 Honda Pilot runs at $32,500 USD, which is not much less than the 2022 Ford Explorer’s base price of $32,925 USD. However, the number of standard features Honda offers makes it a favorite alternative to the Explorer for the price.
5. Hyundai Sante Fe
Built similar to the Ford Explorer is the Hyundai Sante Fe. While the Explorer can fit seven people within its three rows, the Sante Fe only fits five. However, both share the same amount of interior cargo room and both can bring the rear seats flat down. Just like the Explorer, the Sante Fe offers a variety of powertrain options, as well as a hybrid option. However, the Explorer remains the stronger SUV between the two with its 2.3-liter turbocharged engine, capable of 300 horsepower. The Sante Fe model has a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that can produce up to 277 horsepower. The base model of the Sante Fe starts at $27,200 USD while it starts at $32,925 USD with the Explorer. With hybrid options, the Explorer’s V6 engine with electric motor produces up to 318 horsepower while the Sante Fe uses a 1.6-liter, turbocharged gasoline engine, and two electric motors that can reach up to 226 horsepower. As for fuel mileage, the Explorer ranges from twenty to twenty-eight miles per gallon on gasoline only while the Sante Fe averages between twenty-two to twenty-eight miles per gallon.
6. Kia Telluride
Flying just under the radar as a mid-size family SUV is the 2022 Kia Telluride. Still, it is one of the best options as a comparable model to the Ford Explorer currently on the market. The sheer sophistication of its exterior parallels beautifully with the comfortable interior design that is built with practicality in mind. Even at the base trim level, the amount of safety and tech poured into the Telluride could be enough to make every other SUV of its kind jealous. Kia’s Telluride ranges between $32,190 USD to $44,390 USD, pending on the available trim level options. Just like the Ford Explorer, this SUV can seat up to eight people in comfort. Also, just like the Ford Explorer, it offers a maximum cargo capacity of 87 cubic feet. As for its towing capacity, it can pull up to five thousand pounds, just like the Ford Explorer. Its 3.8-liter, V6 engine has a maximum horsepower output of 291 and can reach sixty miles per hour in 7.2 seconds. As for fuel economy, it averages at twenty-three miles per gallon.
7. Mazda CX-9
Starting at the base price of $34,160 USD, the three-rowed, midsize Mazda CX-9 is an SUV similar to the Ford Explorer. This 4-cylinder 2.5-liter gas engine has a horsepower output of 227 and can haul approximately 3,500 pounds. Granted, the Explorer can tow more but Mazda’s CX-9 continues to impress review sites such as Car and Driver, including earning itself an Editor’s Choice Award for its sporty performance.
8. Subaru Ascent
With the ability to seat up to eight people, which is comparable to the Ford Explorer, the Subaru Ascent starts at the base price of $32,295 USD. In seven seconds, it can reach the sixty miles per hour mark. It also makes a great off-road driving experience, just like the Explorer. The cargo space is measured at 86.5 cubic feet, which is also comparable with Ford’s flagship SUV.
9. Toyota Highlander
Classed in the same mid-size SUV category as the Ford Explorer is the Toyota Highlander. At the starting price of $35,085 USD, it is also more expensive. As for its basic exterior, size, and weight, the Highlander lineup has much in common with the Explorer. Just like Ford’s prized SUV model, it has an interior storage capacity of 84.3 cubic feet and can hold up to eight people. Just like the Ford Explorer, Toyota offers a hybrid option for the Highlander series. It can also tow up to 5,000 pounds and is just as capable off-road. The 2022 Toyota Highlander offers a V6 engine that can produce up to 295 horsepower and reach sixty miles per hour in 6.8 seconds. It may not be considered quite as rugged as the 2022 Ford Explorer but makes up for it with a more sophisticated appearance that has proven to be a real head-turner.
10. Volkswagen Atlas
Much like the Ford Explorer, the Volkswagen Atlas has three rows that can accommodate up to seven people. This curvy alternative to the Explorer starts at $31,565 USD. For the right price, one may choose a two-liter, four-cylinder engine that has a 235-horsepower output or a 3.6-liter V6 engine that has a 276-horsepower output. In 7.2 seconds, the Atlas can accelerate up to sixty miles per hour. Also, like the Explorer, it can haul up to 5000 pounds.