This update on Ford Explorer is China exclusive and won’t make it to MY2023 in other markets
Ford may have exited India, but is still a giant in most global markets. The blue oval almost makes me nostalgic too and wonder if only it launched more vehicles to drive sales. No, Ford is not coming back to India as of yet. But the company has raised some eyebrows with the launch of the China-spec Explorer SUV.
As of now, this China-spec Ford Explorer might have the largest single-piece touchscreen in the world. You might say that Mercedes-Benz EQS has a 56” system, a few Cadillacs get a 38” OLED system and Lucid Air has a 34” system. Yes, you’re right.
But they are a combination of different screens and screen size is a culmination of the whole system. If we go by single-piece screen, BMW’s Theatre Screen found on the new 7-Series and i7 is the largest. But it is not a touchscreen and is for rear passenger entertainment and not main infotainment.
2023 Ford Explorer SUV
China-spec Ford Explorer SUV gets a giant 27” single-piece touchscreen which acts as the main infotainment unit. 27” is what most computer monitors are. How did Ford manage to fit it on the dash? 27” is the true diagonal measurement of this screen, but it is not a standard 16:9 or 21:9 aspect ratio like BMW’s screen we just mentioned.
This is an extremely wide screen with just around 10-15% of that width in height that is also found on China-spec Ford Evos. This giant screen, fortunately, doesn’t host the climate controls as they fall below it in a separate panel. Imagine the driver having to stretch their hands to operate the other end of this screen while driving. It is bonkers.
We suspect that this screen might not fare well with Android Auto as it is in a weird aspect ratio. Apple CarPlay shouldn’t be a problem in future, though, as Apple is working on custom software to take over every screen of every car to incorporate it into the CarPlay system when connected.
Apart from the massive screen, which is the main highlight, it is a heavily updated version of Explorer that Ford currently sells in China. It is marketed as an all-new midsize SUV, but is just an update. As part of this update, Explorer gets a larger chrome grille, fully redesigned LED headlights, wider LED taillights, new 21” alloy wheels, the bonkers 27” screen and some more.
Should Screens Replace Buttons & Dials?
Ford is expected to launch an electric version of Explorer. But that is not expected to happen until late 2024 or even 2025. Most of these changes are expected to be exclusive to China-spec Explorer and won’t make it to the MY2023 US-spec model. Ford will also launch the 2023 Lincoln Aviator which is a rebadged 2023 Explorer.
Looking at this new trend of screens taking over buttons and dials, it begs the question as to what is acceptable. Sure, screens look cool and will perform the same consistently for years as there are no moving parts. Glass also doesn’t wear off as plastics and metals do. Ask Jaguar owners in India and they’ll tell you about it.
But screens will never match the physical tactility and reassurance of physical dials and buttons even with supreme haptic feedback. I don’t want to seem like a boomer, but even though they’re less functional, physical tactility trumps futuristic convenience.