Ford Refines Interior, Exterior on 2025 Explorer

As best-selling model's 35th anniversary and a major redesign approach, Ford prioritizes interior and experience improvements for latest Explorer.

All trim levels of the 2025 Ford Explorer, including this Platinum (left) and ST, have unique grille designs. (Ford)

The Ford Explorer will celebrate its 35th anniversary for the 2026 model year, and it is highly likely that America’s best-selling SUV will meet the occasion with a complete redesign. Ford introduced the current generation in 2020, making it ripe for a major update. The company revealed the refreshed 2025 Ford Explorer today, with bolder exterior features and a redesigned interior that offers more tech to the driver and passengers. It also continues Ford’s effort to simplify trim-level lineups to make manufacturing and purchasing easier.

The silver accents on the gloss black grille mark the Platinum 2025 Ford Explorer. (Ford)

“We have refined almost every part of the new Explorer – focusing on a redesigned interior, additional technology like BlueCruise and special editions like the 400-horsepower Explorer ST,” said Andrew Frick, president of Ford Blue.

Leather in Mojave Dust and matching stitching is the material used for the interior of the 2025 Explorer Platinum. (Ford)

On the outside, the entire 2025 Explorer lineup has larger grilles, sleeker all-LED headlights, front skid plate and lower, wider air curtains that, Ford says, lower the vehicle’s visual center of gravity. For Platinum, ST and ST-Line models, a black roof is optional. Out back, the liftgate has LED taillights that extend from the corners to a stretched horizontal nameplate.

Platinum (shown), ST and ST-Line Explorers receive an ambient lighting system with seven selectable colors. (Ford)

The grilles are unique to each trim level. Platinum models have an ebony grille in a wing design with satin chrome. ST and ST-Line have honeycomb gloss black grilles with a black mesh insert. The Active has a sawtooth design with a black mesh insert with chrome bars.

Inside: detail focused

All Explorers have a shelf under the 13.2-inch touchscreen that includes available wireless charging and USB-C ports. (Ford)

The redesigned interior includes added details, surfaces and colors, including wrap-and-stitch soft-touch surfaces on the center console, door panels and new dashboard. Also included are silver mesh accents and optional ActiveX synthetic seating material.

Designers pushed the dashboard forward, creating more room for the driver and front-seat passenger. A tray below the 13.2-inch (392 mm) touchscreen has an available wireless charging pad plus USB-C ports.

Kelley Clark, chief engineer on the Explorer, said customers were satisfied with the driving dynamics (Ford did recalibrate the 10-speed automatic transmission for the 2025 models). “So, we focused on improving other areas, including redesigning the interior with new materials, textures and colors,” she said. Those include:

  • Platinum: Mojave Dusk leather console, instrument and door panels, and seats with matching stitching.
  • ST and ST-Line: Black Onyx console, instrument and door panels, and seats with red stitching / ActiveX seats with suede or cloth inserts.
  • Active: Ultra Dark Space Gray instrument panel, door panels and console with bronze stitching or Dark Gray cloth seats with Black Onyx inserts and bronze stitching.

All trims except the Active offer seven-color selectable ambient lighting system.

The experience

The 2025 Ford Explorer ST’s unique grille of gloss black honeycomb with black mesh insert. (Ford)

In addition to standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the company’s new Ford Digital Experience infotainment system allows drivers access to apps and services from Google and Amazon, controlled by Google Assistant voice commands or Amazon’s Alexa. While parked, Explorer passengers can watch YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and even surf the web using the available Vivaldi browser. 5G wireless tech supports up to 10 devices at a time.

Upper trims are equipped with Ford BlueCruise hardware for hands-free highway driving if bought as part of a subscription after a 90-day free trial.

Standard equipment includes a 10-way power and heated driver’s seat, four-way power heated front passenger seat, eight total USB ports, including two in the third row, three 12-volt power points, FordPass Connect modem and a Class III trailer tow package.

Under the hood Ford’s continuing effort to simplify its trim-level offerings results in the following powertrains for the 2025 Explorer. All come with rear-wheel drive standard and available 4WD.

  • Platinum: 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-4 turbo standard (300 hp/224 kW, 310 lb-ft/420 Nm), with 400-hp (298 kW), 415-lb-ft (563 Nm), 3.0-liter V6 EcoBoost turbo available.
  • ST: 3.0-liter EcoBoost.
  • ST-Line: 2.3-liter EcoBoost.
  • Active: 2.3-liter EcoBoost.