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2018 Ford Explorer update: squint to see the changes

With its Explorer beginning to gray at its temples, Ford has given it the gentlest of touchups—and some new in-cabin technologies—to keep it on shoppers’ radar.

You’ll have to look closely to see how the Explorer has changed for 2018 Lightly revised front and rear bumpers feature new fog lamps and, on range-topping Explorer Platinums, both LED high- and low-beam headlights. Oh, and models with the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 engine now feature quad tailpipes that help set them apart from the rest of the lineup.

Inside, the changes are hidden beneath the brand’s latest Sync 3 infotainment system. A 4G LTE antenna, with service optionally provided by AT&T, connects the Explorer to the outside world. For a monthly fee, buyers can specify a plan that delivers fast data service directly to the Explorer that can then broadcast the signal to 10 devices. It’s not groundbreaking, but it does bring the Explorer within range of several rivals.

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Additionally, a package that combines automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam, and blind spot monitors is available on XLT and above trim levels for 2018; previously, the package was relegated only to higher-spec models. 

Ford is also now offering its smartphone-based connectivity with the Explorer. With an app available on Android and Apple devices, Explorer owners will be able to access in-vehicle diagnostics and lock or unlock the crossover’s doors directly from their smartphones. The system operates anywhere the Explorer is within AT&T’s network.

The Explorer itself dates back to 2011, meaning it’s not the springest of chickens—although it was updated for 2016. 

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