Ford

Bill Walsh Ford-Lincoln

2900 Columbus Street
Directions Ottawa, IL 61350

  • Sales: (888) 711-9405
  • Service: (866) 263-9598
  • Parts: (866) 771-2003

History of the Ford Explorer

History of the Ford Explorer 

Early Days

In the late 80s and early 90s, the compact SUV segment was still relatively new. At that time, Jeep practically had a monopoly over the segment. Then, in 1991, Ford unveiled the first-ever Ford Explorer, which would go on to become one of the biggest names among modern SUVs. At the time, the nameplate was released as both a two-door and four-door version with two different wheelbases - the two-door being shorter and more maneuverable. It was designed and marketed as a sporty off-roading vehicle similar to the Jeep Cherokee.

First Generation

That first-generation Explorer went on to be one of the best-selling vehicles in the industry, selling upwards of 300,000 units per year. The eventual second-generation went on to sell 400,000 units per year, and by 1994, the Explorer was the ninth best-selling nameplate in America. However, over time, the Explorer had to adapt and change with trends in the auto industry.


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Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer Sport  
Ford Explorer 

Explorer Sport

The Ford Explorer Sport debuted alongside the 1991 model, featuring a four-door configuration on the standard two-door's shorter wheelbase. It lasted through two generations of the standard Explorer thanks to its popularity and even spawned an offshoot, the Mazda Navajo, which was based on the same platform. Then the Explorer Sport Trac came about. This model combined the popular appearance and familiar name of the Explorer with a truck bed for an off-roading, mid-size pickup experience.


Mercury Mountaineer

From 1997 through 2010, the later generation of the Explorer ran alongside its more upscale sibling - the Mercury Mountaineer - which featured design changes like a more aggressive front grille. By the third generation, the Ford Explorer was no longer based on the Ranger and received an extensive overhaul. This was seen as a major improvement, with more modern and convenient amenities along with more space than your typical mid-size SUV.


Explorer Today

Through the years, the Explorer's platform has been used for many other nameplates, but the Ford Explorer itself continues to carry on and is still extraordinarily successful today. Visit us at Bill Walsh Ford to see the all-new 2017 Ford Explorer for yourself and see how much has changed over the years.

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