The Ford Explorer is one of the safer SUVs on the market, but it's not a strong performer in the latest, toughest crash tests.
The Explorer has earned five stars overall in crash tests performed by the NHTSA. The agency awarded the Explorer five-star scores in all subcategories except for the mathematically determined rollover score, where it earns a four-star score.
The IIHS gave the Explorer mostly high marks, including "Good" scores on the roof-crush and side impact tests—but it earns only a "Marginal" rating in the new small-overlap frontal test, which simulates hitting a telephone pole or other slim, vertical object.
Every Explorer comes with great outward visibility, thanks to a high seating position, except to the rear quarters where thick C-pillars create a rather large blind spot.
Bluetooth hands-free connectivity is standard, as is a rearview camera. MyKey lets parents set volume and speed controls for children who may borrow the Explorer. Optional inflatable rear-seat belts come bundled with blind-spot monitors.
For light towing, the Explorer has electronic aids that keep it and its trailer stable. The Explorer has a special "Curve Control" feature for its stability control, which adapts throttle and brake to upcoming corners; trailer-sway control also helps make maximum use of its 5,000-pound towing capacity.