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Ford Explorer 4WD.

going for a swim?

2003 February: Ford has further improved the 4WD Explorer, adding new safety features, colours, trims and upgraded wheels to the 2003 UX Explorer.

Extra safety features in the 2003 UX Explorer include the addition of a lap-sash seatbelt for the second row centre passenger and a safety canopy as standard on XLT and Limited variants.

The special safety canopy is an inflatable nylon curtain designed to inflate between the side window area and the occupants to enhance protection during certain collisions, plus the usual airbags and lap-sash seatbelts for the passengers.



2001 September: The new Ford Explorer "is set for release to the Australian market in November."

The new car will be available with either a 4.0 litre V6, or a 4.6 litre V8 engine. It is the same length and width as the previous model, but the wheelbase is longer, and the body is said to be much stiffer. That, and the independent rear suspension(!), holds out a promise of better handling on our outback roads - a weak spot of the old car.

white instance in a sunset or sunrise

2001 March: The new Ford Explorer (right) was recently launched in the USA. Ford is keen to point out that prototypes were tested in Australia, perhaps because the suspension on the previous Explorer came in for harsh criticism locally: "Changes to the Explorer suspension for the Australian market include unique bushes, spring settings and sway bars."

The length and width of the new and old cars are the same but the wheelbase has grown. The new body is said to be considerably stiffer than the old. Engine options are a new alloy 4.6 litre sohc V8, or the 4 litre sohc V6. The new Explorer will go on sale in Australia in mid 2001.

- 4wd.sofcom.com/Ford/Ford.html
4 w d picture courtesy of austr@lia Ford

1999 Ford Explorer XLT released mid year in Australia carries Ford's hopes to boost sales which have not been spectacular down-under despite the Explorer being a large seller world-wide.

Explorer keeps its two 4 litre V6 engines - the ohv base engine in the XL, and the sohc unit in the XLT and Limited models. The former has the 5-speed manual gearbox and the latter have the 5-speed automatic. They drive into the control-trac automatic 4WD system which uses slip-sensors and a clutch to lock drive to the front wheels.

Explorer XLT and Limited also get self-levelling rear suspension to improve an area that some have criticised. This is effected by (automatic) adjustment to the pressure in the gas shock absorbers.

Side air-bags are a new "no-cost option" (Ford says) on the XL and XLT, as in the M-class and Rangie. The (base) XL now has 16" wheels and the Limited gets new alloy wheels.

Prices: XL from 40,500, XLT from 48,500 (), and Limited from 60K (July '99).

croo.c@b (c) 4 w d o n l i n e

1999 Ford Explorer Sport Trac (right) crew-cab at the Motor Show. What are Ford's plans for this?


  • 1990 March 15: First Ford Explorer, 4-litre V6. 140,000 sold in year.
  • 1995: Replaced by new model. Control-Trac automatic 4WD system.
  • 1996: 5-litre V8 offered (not .au).
  • 1997: 4-litre SOHC V6 (OHV continues).
  • 2000: 10th anniversary.
  • 2001: V8 sohc engine for top model(s).

Go to the 1998, 1997, Explorer-I and Ford pages

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