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A red 2023 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid is shown from the front parked on a parking garage.

A Look at the Extensive 2023 Ford Explorer Lineup

When it comes to car shopping, having tons of options can be a blessing or a curse. Depending on the consumer, some might find themselves overwhelmed by all the available options. It’s not as simple as saying, “I’d like to get behind the wheel of the 2023 Ford Explorer.” Every new Explorer comes in a variety of trim levels, exterior and interior colors, and available options packages. By the time you’re done sifting through all the possible combinations, you could easily end up looking at dozens of variations of one SUV.

To make the process feel less puzzling, we’ve done some of the heavy lifting on your behalf by assembling a breakdown of the 2023 Ford Explorer’s best options. With this simple examination of all the available choices, you can effectively decide what packages seem to best align with your criteria. Once you’ve nailed the perfect configuration, all that is left is to head down to your Explorer dealer to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Before you know it, you’ll be riding high in your new favorite SUV.

What’s New About the 2023 Explorer?

For those familiar with previous model years of the Ford Explorer, you already know this is a tough and versatile midsize SUV. Perfect for families or solo adventurers, the Explorer goes above and beyond when it comes to capabilities, blending city and country road prowess seamlessly. Every year, Ford refines the Explorer with subtle and practical upgrades that keep this popular model fresh in the eyes of its biggest fans. Without overhauling the Explorer’s best qualities, Ford made a few tweaks to bring this vehicle into 2023. They refreshed the grille by widening it and adding some chrome accents, redesigning the LED headlights, adding available 21-inch alloy wheels, and adding a new exterior color. These changes help usher in the fourth model in the latest generation of the Explorer.

What Are the Choices?

When shopping for a new vehicle, it’s obvious you’ll have the choice of trim, colors, and packages. Whatever you decide will likely depend on your needs, lifestyle, and budget. Higher-level trims come with more upscale options and stronger performance, so naturally, those will cost up to thousands more than the base-level Explorer. But depending on your budget, the options that compose the higher trims may get you the most bang for your buck.

The 2023 Ford Explorer comes in eight trim levels: Base, XLT, ST-Line, Limited, Timberline, ST, Platinum, and King Ranch. Among these trims, three different engines are available on the various levels. There is a 2.3L turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that comes standard on the Base, XLT, and Limited trims. This engine is fast and efficient, delivering 300 hp and an EPA-estimated 21 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway.

There is also a larger, 3.0L twin-turbocharged EcoBoost six-cylinder powertrain available for drivers craving more juice. This configuration is more powerful than the 2.3L, offering 400 hp, standard on the ST, Platinum, and King Ranch trim levels. The final engine option is the hybrid engine that first joined the lineup for the 2020 Explorer model. The hybrid is a combination of a 3.3L naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. This hybrid has an output of 318 hp and is available for the Limited and Platinum models.

Every 2023 Ford Explorer rolls off the assembly line with a 10-speed automatic transmission, leaving the guesswork out of picking one out. However, customers have a choice regarding the drive platform with a rear-wheel drive system or an all-wheel drive system. Shopping with performance in mind will help narrow down the trims since you can zone in on exactly which powertrains best suit your driving needs. If you’re selecting for towing capability, a properly equipped 2023 Explorer can tow up to 5,600 lbs.

A silver 2023 Ford Explorer Platinum is shown towing a small fishing boat out of a lake.

A Closer Look at the Trim Levels

Trim-level breakdowns can be a bit overwhelming, whether you’re prioritizing interior materials, powertrain variations, or driver assistance technologies. This brief breakdown of each trim level will give you a better understanding of what to expect from each model and hopefully help you narrow down some potential options.

The Base Explorer

The Base model 2023 Explorer has everything you need without the extra features you may not be looking for in an SUV. With seating for up to seven passengers, the Base has convenience features like rear parking sensors and a power liftgate, which other brands often gatekeep behind more expensive trim levels. On top of the features that come with the base model, Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of safety and driver-assistance features is also standard.


The next level up is the XLT trim, which puts an emphasis on efficiency and style. It comes with an optional XLT Sport Package that dresses up your Explorer with eye-catching Carbonized Gray-painted wheels and other sleek details. The XLT has available ActiveX seating that is multifunctional, simple to clean, and comfortable, providing a perfect interior for a busy family.

The ST-Line

Those models wearing the ST-Line badge deliver top-quality sound to every ride. Enjoy the 12-speaker audio system by Bang & Olufsen for premiere sound quality with all your favorite music, audiobooks, and podcasts. An array of useful features also become standard on this trim, which includes wireless charging, a 360-degree camera, ambient lighting, and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The Timberline

The Timberline trim is one of the mid-tier trim levels available for the 2023 Ford Explorer, offering a good mix of upscale touches and tons of value. Only the Timberline comes with a unique, dark carbonized gray grille and a rugged, 3.58 TORSEN Limited-Slip Rear Axle that makes off-roading a breeze. The standard cargo area management system allows you to organize your belongings in the rear, while the voice-activated touchscreen navigation system will help get you to your destination with ease. The available PowerFold feature allows you to lower the third-row of seats with the push of a button.

The Limited

The Limited model comes with the available 3.3L Hybrid six-cylinder engine that’s fun and fuel efficient. The Limited can also tow up to 5,000 when you need an extra hand with a small trailer, heavy sporting equipment, or even a small boat. It also comes equipped with front parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, leather-trimmed seating, and 20-inch premium painted aluminum wheels.

A blue 2023 Ford Explorer ST is shown in a parking spot on a busy street.

The ST

The 2023 Explorer ST has a luxurious-feeling interior thanks to Miko micro-perforated inserts and silver accent stitching throughout the interior. Its 3.0L EcoBoost six-cylinder engine speeds up fast and easily maneuvers through even the stickiest traffic. It also has a unique sport-tuned independent front and rear suspension and SelectShift, allowing you to manually shift gears for a truly customized performance. The first-row seats are heated, which will come in handy on those cold winter mornings, while the available 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system will take your music-listening experience to the next level.

The King Ranch

King Ranch’s high-quality interior shines with comfortable Del Rio heated leather seats designed with lumbar support in mind. The exterior shines with dazzling 20-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels with a King Ranch center cap. The trim also comes with a variety of exterior enhancements, which include satin aluminum roof rack side rails, a stone gray grille mesh insert, and unique King Ranch Badging. It also comes standard with reverse brake assist, LED taillamps, and a host of available floor liner options for every row of seats.

The Platinum

The highest level trim for the 2023 model year is the Platinum Explorer. The available twin-panel moonroof brings the outside in, exposing you to beautiful views and plenty of light. The Platinum also comes equipped with Terrain Management System, remote start, and wireless charging. It also comes with the innovative active park assist 2.0, which will take control of the vehicle and park for you, whether in a grocery store parking lot or a busy side street, taking out the stress of having to carefully back into a spot by yourself.

Everything You Need, All in One Vehicle

One of the best things about the 2023 Ford Explorer is the rich assortment of options available in the lineup. If you’re shopping for your next family vehicle, every trim level offers safety and entertainment features that offer confidence whenever you get behind the wheel. The Ford Explorer also offers plenty for drivers looking for that perfect adventure companion.

The 2023 Explorer is versatile, making it a great road trip SUV that can fit all your belongings and tow the rest. It offers off-roading capabilities, strong suspension, and plenty of spectacular performance. In fact, there is probably at least one or more trim levels of this Explorer that can excite almost anyone. It’s up to you, the wise driver, to figure out which Explorer checks all your boxes.