New York — Ford Motor Co. introduced a refreshed 2018 Ford Explorer featuring new front and rear styling and enhanced technology during a media reveal Monday.
The latest Explorer will have an available 4G-embedded modem including a Wi-Fi hotspot, along with new safety packages, four new exterior colors and five new wheel designs. Sync Connect allows owners to remotely connect with their SUVs using FordPass.
Ford revealed the updated SUV ahead of press days for the New York International Auto Show.
The Dearborn automaker launched the SUV in 1991 and it has become one the company’s sales leaders. It was last refreshed for the 2016 model year and then received a new engine and a platinum trim-level.
The 2018 Explorer will be available this fall. It will be built at the company’s Chicago Assembly Plant.
Explorer sales through the first three months of the year totaled 54,671, down 2.2 percent from the same months in 2016. Sales in 2016 totaled 216,294, down 3.6 percent from 2015 figures.
Ford predicts SUV growth to continue, growing from 40 percent of non-premium U.S. retail sales to up to 50 percent in the next five to seven years.
Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said the average sales price of Ford SUVs have grown by about $4,000 in the past few years as consumers select higher trim lines.
“If we respond to consumer demand, we’ll continue to innovate, keep improving fuel economy, keep adding technology, keep proliferating series mix and the number of entries,” LaNeve said. “That’s what fuels the growth.”
Analysts expect to see an all-new Explorer in the next two to three years. The company plans to launch five new SUVs in North America by 2020 including the EcoSport, a new electric SUV and the Bronco.