How To Build a Custom Ford Explorer

Learn all about the best trim levels and upgrades for your custom Ford Explorer.
Written by Zachary Morgan
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
A central part of Ford’s lineup for more than 30 years, the Explorer is a great mid-size SUV with a good deal of customization potential. With ten different trim levels to choose from, you’ll certainly be able to build the exact Explorer you want.
A good SUV is one of the most useful vehicles you can buy. Whether you’re taking the kids to soccer practice, packing for a weekend camping trip, or helping your friend move, the storage space and extra seating of an SUV are bound to come in handy. 
If you’re in the market for something a little smaller than a full-size SUV, consider the Ford Explorer. It has multiple engine options and great potential for customization, meaning you can build it exactly as you want it.
Luckily, we threw this little guide together to help you navigate the process of customizing your
Ford Explorer
rating reverse-full
"I’m earning
awesome rewards
every week, just for driving safe!”

2022 Ford Explorer customization options

The Ford Explorer is a mid-size four-door SUV that has been a pivotal part of Ford’s catalog since replacing the two-door Bronco in 1991. Thanks to its three rows of seating and plentiful storage space, it has become a popular choice for a family vehicle. Other competing models in the Explorer’s class include the
Kia Telluride
Hyundai Palisade
, and
Jeep Grand Cherokee L
, to name a few.
The 2022 Explorer is offered in a whopping ten trim levels: Base,
, ST-Line, Timberline,
, Limited Hybrid, Platinum Hybrid, King Ranch, and
. The Base and XLT ($36,350 and $38,500, respectively) are two of the more popular trim levels and are based more on functionality than extra bells and whistles. As the trim levels go higher, the add-ons are more focused on luxury, and the price is significantly increased as a result (MSRP for the Platinum trim is $58,000).
The Base, XLT, and Limited trims are equipped with a turbocharged 2.3L 300-hp four-cylinder engine, while the ST, Platinum, and King Ranch models are powered by 3.0L 400-hp twin-turbo V6 engines. Recent years have seen the addition of several hybrid models (Limited Hybrid and Platinum Hybrid), equipped with a 3.3L 318-hp V6 engine paired with an electric motor.
A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard for all Explorer models.
In addition, all Explorers come equipped with the following features:
  • Frontal collision mitigation: Warns the driver of a possible collision and applies the brakes.
  • Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert: Warns the driver if a vehicle is in your blind spot while reversing or changing lanes.
  • Lane-keeping assist: Guides the vehicle back into the lane if it drifts over the center line.
  • Trailer sway control: Helps control trailer sway/movement by adjusting the vehicle’s brakes.

Ford Explorer optional packages

If you’re buying a new Explorer at the Ford dealership, you have two major packages to choose from. 
The Trailer Tow (Class IV) Package costs $545 and will get you a Class IV frame-mounted trailer hitch and the connectors that go with it. Models equipped with the 3.0L V6 will be able to pull 5,600 pounds, while hybrid engine models have a slightly lower max towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. This package is standard for the ST and Timberline but is an optional upgrade for the Base, XLT, ST-Line, Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum.
The Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist+ is the second package available for the Explorer, at a cost of $995. Opting for this upgrade will net you the following navigation and driver-assistance features:
  • Adaptive cruise control: Includes stop-and-go, lane centering, and speed sign recognition.
  • Evasive steering assist
  • Voice-activated touchscreen navigation system
  • Blind spot information system
  • Rear-view camera
  • Automatic emergency braking and auto high-beam headlights
This package is standard on the Limited, ST, Timberline, King Ranch, and Platinum models and is available as an upgrade for the XLT trim.
Make safe driving pay
Get rewarded for safe driving. Earn points and unlock benefits. Totally free.
Start earning now

The best Ford Explorer mods

There aren’t a ton of upgrade options at the actual Ford dealership, but that’s where the
aftermarket parts
comes in. There is a whole world of possibilities when it comes to the additional parts, pieces, and add-ons available on the secondary market. Here are just a few of the upgrades popular with Explorer owners:

Brakes and brake pads

One of the safer modifications you can install on your Explorer is higher-quality brakes and brake pads. While it may not be quite as cool as a new spoiler or set of rims, an upgraded braking system will significantly improve the stopping distance for your Explorer.
The Explorer is a family vehicle at its core, and upgraded brakes will keep the precious cargo you’re carrying safer than ever. The Power Stop Z23 Evolution Brake Kit is a popular choice, as is the Z36 Truck & Tow Brake Kit for even more “stopping power.”

Tuning and performance chips

One of the more technical upgrades you can make to your Explorer is having it tuned and/or installing a performance chip
Tuning a vehicle
means optimizing it for a certain set of performance requirements, which are often significantly different from the vehicle’s original specifications. Depending on how you have your Explorer tuned, you could enjoy increased engine performance, better fuel efficiency, and smoother handling, to name a few possibilities.
Tuning is often done by a professional mechanic, but there are aftermarket chips available that can be installed with the proper know-how. The Bully Dog GT Platinum Tuner is a great option. It’s a bit pricey (most tuners are) but it comes equipped with a broad range of features to monitor and improve your Explorer’s performance.


Tires are an important piece of equipment for any vehicle, but they are often overlooked. Tires are similar to brakes in that having a good set of them is critical for keeping you, your passengers, and your cargo as safe as possible.
Picking tires for your Explorer can be a bit complicated, given that they are offered in three different wheel sizes (18-, 20-, and 21-inch) and come equipped with rear-wheel drive but have the option of upgrading to four-wheel drive. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll assume you drive the Base trim (18-inch wheels, RWD) and recommend the Hankook Kinergy GT as a budget option and the Michelin Premier LTX as a higher-quality, more expensive alternative.

How to find affordable insurance for your Ford Explorer

Whatever modifications you decide to make to your ford Explorer, you’ll still have to make sure it’s protected with a good
car insurance
can help you there. Traditional car insurance shopping is a messy, frustrating process, full of confusing paperwork and obnoxious phone calls. Jerry, the
trustworthy super app
for car owners, puts an end to all of that.
Just enter your information into the Jerry app, and you’ll get a personalized list of quotes from top insurance providers in under a minute. If you see a policy you like, Jerry can even help you cancel your old one! 
The best part? Jerry users save an average of $887 a year on their car insurance! With that kind of cash, you can afford more upgrades for your Explorer, maybe even that set of rims you’ve had your eye on.
is the future of car insurance! I downloaded the app, entered the information, picked my insurance rate, and paid my fee. I even switched insurance providers easily! Jerry saved me $182/month so quickly!” —Paulina F.
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings