Arguably the catalyst igniting the SUV boom of the 1990’s, Ford’s Explorer is credited with bringing the compact sport utility vehicle into mainstream prominence. Introduced in 1990, as a 1991 model, the Ford Explorer was based on the Ranger line of small pickup trucks, replacing the more utilitarian Bronco II in Ford’s lineup.
An overnight sensation, the Explorer introduced style to a generation of family car drivers who were bored with minivans and wouldn’t be caught dead, OK, wait, would ONLY be caught dead in a station wagon (AKA a hearse).
But we digress.
Basically, the Explorer was a really good answer to a question a lot of people didn’t realize they’d been asking. But once they did, they flocked to the Explorer in droves, causing nearly every other mainstream manufacturer to build (or contract) a version of this vehicle.
There have been four generations of the Explorer offered since its introduction. Ford Motor Company vehicles based on the Explorer over the years include Mazda Navajo, Mercury Mountaineer and Lincoln Aviator.
We cover Explorer model years 1995 to 2011 in this article.