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A white 2021 Ford Explorer Platinum Hybrid is shown in front of a modern building after leaving a Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorer dealer.

Find a Great Pre-Owned Explorer With Ford’s Blue Advantage Program

“Something old, something new” these words, which are commonly associated with a bride making last-minute preparations on her wedding day, certainly apply to the topic we’re going to discuss. Since its debut during the 1991 model year, the Ford Explorer has exemplified performance and versatility as one of the most popular SUVs ever to grace the highway. Its far-stretching lineage as the flagship SUV for the Ford brand can be described as something old, but what about something new?

In this case, “something new” refers to Ford’s Blue Advantage Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program that Ford implements, which has single-handedly shifted the paradigm of used vehicle shopping. The two-tiered system, which comes in the form of Blue and Gold Certification, offers consumers the chance to own a vehicle for a lower price with all the quality assurance that typically comes with a new purchase. Today, we’ll be looking at the advantages of utilizing the Blue Advantage program to obtain a great Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorer.

What Is the Ford Blue Advantage Program?

The Ford Blue Advantage program offers pre-owned Ford models that are held to a higher level of quality than a standard used vehicle. By visiting a Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorer dealer, you can reap the benefits of this program, which are divided into two categories: Blue and Gold. In order to be Gold Certified, vehicles are no more than six years old and have less than 80,000 miles of travel. Before going on the market, the vehicle goes through a rigorous 172-point inspection, and genuine Ford OEM parts replace any that are found to be faulty. You’ll also benefit from two manufacturer-backed warranties: a 12-month/12,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty and a powertrain limited warranty that covers up to 7 years/100,000 miles.

Blue Certified vehicles have a different set of guidelines, which cover vehicles that are no more than ten years old and have less than 120,000 miles on the odometer. These vehicles also undergo an extensive 139-point inspection before being put on the market and come with a 90-day/4,000-day comprehensive limited warranty. Both Gold and Blue Certified vehicles come with a 14-day/1,000-mile money back guarantee, as well as 24/7 roadside assistance for up to 7 years/100,000 miles. As you can see, Blue Certified vehicles have a less strict set of guidelines and contain vehicles that are older than Gold Certified models. Ultimately, Blue models will offer less expensive options than Gold while still having some protection included.

Year by Year, Gear by Gear

Now, we’ll be going through some noteworthy Explorer model years. Hopefully, this information will give you a broader perspective of which model of Explorer might be the most beneficial for you and your unique driving needs. We begin our journey in 2017:

The 2017 Ford Explorer: Practicality With Purpose

The 2017 Ford Explorer was, by all accounts, an ideal compromise for many consumers who needed a vehicle that was, above all else, practical. In terms of style, it was what one might expect a three-row crossover to look like, but appearances alone aren’t what people look for in an SUV. 2017 was the second year following the 2016 redesign, and the arrival of SYNC 3 software elevated the vehicle in terms of user-friendly technology.

Three engine options were available to coincide with both FWD and AWD drivetrains. The standard 3.5L V6 engine offered drivers 290 hp, while an available 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder could be optimized for better fuel consumption. The top trims benefitted from a twin-turbocharged V6, which produced an impressive 365 hp. The 2017 model also placed comfort at the forefront, with a sleek and stylish interior that gave the rugged SUV a more sophisticated look. As with many of the versions of the Explorer, a five-star safety rating was awarded to the vehicle by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

A white 2017 Ford Explorer is shown rounding a corner on a tree-lined road.

The 2018 Ford Explorer: More Style and Substance for the Masses

Retaining many of the same capabilities from the previous model year, 2018 saw a few noticeable upgrades that appealed to those looking to take advantage of tech-savvy features and who had a keen eye for style and aesthetics. New technology was made available for those seeking the former, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot and the Safe and Smart package, which included innovative safety tech like adaptive cruise control and a lane keeping system. Regarding style, new colors and wheel designs were added, allowing drivers to take advantage of more customization.

The 2019 Ford Explorer: Better Equipped, Inside and Out

While we certainly had no way of knowing it, 2019 would be a final year of normalcy before a global pandemic and microchip shortage considerably impacted the entire world. Still, the Explorer would be gifted new accessories and features that complemented the vehicle’s interior and exterior. The introduction of the Limited Luxury package gifted the explorer 20-inch painted wheels and chrome mirror caps. The elevated steps in outfitting certain amenities placed the Explorer in direct competition with the Range Rover, albeit for a much more affordable price.

In terms of capability, the Explorer boasted a 5,000 lb tow rating, and by all accounts, the interior cabin kept unwanted noises out. Speaking of the interior, the SYNC 3 software was updated and more user-friendly than it had been in previous years. A plethora of safety and driving assistance features were also made available, such as a forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking. These complimented another five-star safety rating from the NHTSA.

The 2020 Ford Explorer: A Rebirth Among Troubled Times

This particular year certainly had no shortage of events on everyone’s mind. It was during this unique period that the Ford Explorer experienced a bold renaissance that saw a new redesign and more advantages than ever before. Refocusing their efforts on the family-oriented consumer, the 2020 Explorer featured a spacious interior with three rows of seats that maximized comfort.

In terms of performance, the Explorer raised the bar much higher than it had in previous years. Towing capacity was increased to 5,600 lbs, and even the base trim was equipped with a four-cylinder that cranked out 300 hp. A new hybrid model gave the Explorer increased fuel efficiency, allowing for 27 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. It was another year where a five-star safety rating spoke to the consistency of Ford’s determination to provide their customers with the safety features they were looking for in a vehicle. Features that had been available, such as automated emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist, were now standard across all levels of trim.

A blue 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid is shown towing a boat next to a lake.

The 2021 Ford Explorer: Greatness Continues Uninterrupted

For the 2021 model year, many of the same attributes were carried over with little changes. For those shopping for a CPO Ford Explorer with limited mileage, the 2021 model is perfect. The year in which much of the world returned to normalcy marked another year where Ford demonstrated their aptitude for retaining the high standards of quality they’ve always been known for. New levels of trim accentuated the diversity of the lineup, making the Explorer more palatable for a whole new generation of drivers.

The Quality and Affordability You’re Looking For in a Pre-owned Ford Explorer

While several manufacturers offer CPO programs, Ford’s Blue Advantage program offers the most for a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle. These model years of the Explorer, accessible in their top-tier gold program, can provide you with unsurpassed quality and versatility that many look for in a safe and reliable SUV. As many of us have seen, the past few years have been marred with unpredictability and surprises that aren’t always favorable. That said, the Ford Explorer has retained its position as a vehicle for the masses that can always be relied upon. It was here before the SUV experienced its widespread popularity surge, and we can all rest assured it will be here long afterward.