Ford Explorer

The Volkswagen relationship is the most intriguing dynamic story to this new car. The Explorer, a crossover just 2cm longer than the Focus, is the first of two electric Fords to be based on the MEB architecture (the other will be a more rakish model set to be called Capri), which has only really made for one standout everyday driver’s car so far with the Cupra Born.

Yet the Born is a hatchback and the Explorer a tall-bodied crossover with a 10% weight penalty. Ford’s engineers, arguably the industry’s finest at making everyday handling heroes, have their work cut out.

Still, the dynamics team led by Geert van Noyen, vehicle dynamics manager at Ford’s Lommel proving ground in Belgium, consider the MEB platform to be “fundamentally healthy and close to a Ford” and far better than early cars produced from it showed.

It has been a case of tuning hardware and software, including giving the Explorer bespoke Continental tyres, to make it drive like the Fords that we’ve got to know and love, which van Noyen concurs – with the caveat here of weight – are based on agility, intuition and a feeling of being connected to the road. 

There are so many – so, so many – 4.5m-ish electric crossovers from every brand filling every conceivable niche, so it can be hard to find where a new entrant like the Explorer can fit in.

The Explorer doesn’t make the mundane thrilling like a Focus would at its very best, yet it’s still pleasant and attention has clearly been out on making it a car that’s easy to gel with. It’s a nice car to drive at everyday speeds, nicer for sure than the likes of the related Volkswagen ID 4 and Audi Q4 E-tron, as one of the best-handling electric crossovers to date.

The steering has just the right amount of weight to it to remain light but still feel precise. That precision extends to the handling: it’s all very predictable and it feels an easy car to place. It goes where you want it to go obligingly and tries to bring you into the process as far as possible, and there’s plenty of Ford-ness detectable. 

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