Some vehicles just get the look right. In the case of the 2018 Explorer, Ford gets it right both inside and out. To show you what we mean, in this comparison guide we'll give you a written tour of the 2018 Ford Explorer's interior and exterior and compare them to one of the Explorer's top contenders: the 2018 Toyota Highlander. We think you'll agree that the Ford Explorer is the more attractive vehicle.
Exterior: 2018 Ford Explorer
The 2018 Ford Explorer starts at just over $33,000, but this SUV looks much more expensive than that. Some have compared the Explorer to the Land Rover Range Rover, which costs more than twice as much. Features we love on this Ford include standard LED low-beam headlights, chrome grille and bumper, bulging hood, flared wheel wells, and sleek sides. The Explorer looks refined, but simultaneously muscular and aggressive. The front bumper looks like a black steel beam, connoting strength. We especially like the Explorer in Shadow Black, Ruby Red, and Blue. If you want to take it up a notch, the Sport trim features blacked out trim and grille and standard 20-inch wheels. Or you can splash even more chrome on the Explorer at the Limited and Platinum trim levels.
To put it mildly, the 2018 Toyota Highlander suffers from a big nose. The Highlander's oversized grille emphasizes its blunt nose and makes the headlights appear small. We're thinking more minivan than sport utility vehicle when we look at the Highlander. We also aren't big fans of the large vertical bars that remind us of a ribcage or prison cell. There's a slight bulge in the hood, very moderate flaring to the wheel wells, and a pretty nondescript rear. That leaves its blunt nose and grille as the only standout features. Maybe it's a matter of taste, but compare photos and we think you'll agree that the 2018 Ford Explorer has the superior exterior.
Interior: 2018 Ford Explorer
There's a lot of tech on offer and the interior of the Platinum trim level is a sight to behold in the 2018 Ford Explorer. We liked that, even with touch screen, Ford has placed a lot of physical knobs and buttons. Not that we're complaining about the display. This one is a large 8-inch screen that hosts Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system. This system wows with its intuitive and responsive menus. And the Platinum trim interior is gorgeous, filled with matte metal, real wood, and soft-touch, glossy plastics.
If you have long arms, you might feel perfectly at home inside a Toyota Highlander. But lots of people find the controls difficult to reach. On the plus side, they're arranged in a logical and straightforward order. The standard touchscreen is smaller, at 6.1 inches, but not excessively so. Otherwise, the Highlander has an appealing design and attractive interior.
For our money, we prefer the 2018 Ford Explorer, which is beautiful, both inside and out. And who doesn't want that?