Now that Ford has cut the better portion of its car lineup in North America, it will invest heavily in trucks and SUVs, including the next-generation Explorer. Ford showed off a picture of the new Explorer cloaked in a blue sheet at the recent Beijing auto show, and this model should resemble the one that comes stateside. While we can’t see many details, it looks like Ford made at least a few design changes to the popular people-hauler.
Under the sheet, you can see the beltline isn’t straight like it is on the current Explorer. Instead, the line appears to get higher as it moves toward the rear end. The image suggests the Explorer may get a slightly sloped roofline, as well as a long hood.
As we previously reported, the next-gen Explorer will share a platform with the rear-wheel-drive-based Lincoln Aviator, which debuted in concept form at this year’s New York auto show. That platform can accommodate rear-wheel, all-wheel, and front-wheel drive, although Ford hasn’t detailed the configuration for the upcoming Explorer. We do know the Explorer lineup will include a hybrid version and an ST performance variant. In Beijing, Ford announced that the new Explorer will be built locally for the Chinese market by Changan Ford Automobile Co., a joint venture formed to produce Ford vehicles for China. The next-gen Explorer for the U.S. market could be built at Ford’s Chicago plant, where the current model is produced.
Expect the new Explorer to debut in 2019. Until then, the model remains relatively unchanged. For the 2018 model year, the Explorer received a very minor face-lift which included a slightly different grille and foglights, new wheel options, and new paint colors.