Home » The Only Way To Buy A 2025 Ford Explorer Hybrid Is To Be A Cop

The Only Way To Buy A 2025 Ford Explorer Hybrid Is To Be A Cop

Preproduction Mode Show. Available Spring 2024.
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After four years on the market, Ford has refreshed its popular Explorer SUV, and one thing’s conspicuously absent from the options list. Yep, the Explorer Hybrid has been shuffled into fleet-only channels right as hybrids are becoming huge on the consumer market.

The big hybrid discontinuation actually happened for 2024, when Ford announced that hybrid models will be exclusively reserved for Police Interceptor Utility units, as confirmed by Motor 1. Still, this continues for 2025, with a hybrid powertrain appearing absolutely nowhere on the spec sheet for the Explorer you and I can buy.

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Mind you, the refreshed 2025 Ford Explorer still looks like a vast improvement over the outgoing car, with updated styling inside and out, new tech, and revisions to a controversial drivetrain. Let’s break it down.

The 2025 Ford Explorer marks the passing of the old guard, with the base trim disappearing and a new Active trim replacing the XLT trim, adding a bunch of goodies in the process. We’re talking amenities like heated power front seats, a 13.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 12.3-inch digital cluster, eight USB ports, a power liftgate, and a trailer hitch receiver all come standard. That’s a great lift in standard equipment, but the bigger inside story is an entirely new dashboard that no longer looks rental-grade.

2025 Ford Explorer Active Interior

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Drawing inspiration from the Mustang Mach-E for a fabric-wrapped soundbar-like element, this new cabin features more stitched materials, a handy shelf for an optional wireless smartphone charger, nicer-looking door cards, and, unfortunately, a reduction in the number of physical controls. Like the 2024 Mustang, climate controls move to the touchscreen, the radio tuning knob disappears, and other than a volume knob, the only physical controls in the center stack are for key vehicle functions like hazard warning lights and disabling traction control.

2025 Ford Explorer ST

Under the hood of most trims sits a carryover 2.3-liter Ecoboost turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque on premium fuel. Output on regular 87 octane hasn’t been specified, but expect it to offer comparable figures to the 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the Toyota Highlander. However, that’s not the only option, because you can also get the updated Explorer with a 400-horsepower three-liter twin-turbocharged Ecoboost V6. Now we’re talking. Sure, this is another carryover engine, but it should haul some serious ass, and comes in sporty or comfy trims, depending on whether you choose the ST or Platinum Ultimate Package model. Speaking of mechanical bits, it’s worth noting that the current Explorer is built on a longitudinal architecture, offering a choice of rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.

2025 Ford Explorer Platinum

Granted, no matter which engine you choose, it’ll come attached to Ford’s contentious ten-speed automatic transmission. The last Explorer I drove took ages to upshift once cruising on the highway, would occasionally hunt its way through several ratios trying to pick the right one, and would deal out some fairly harsh shifts. As for newer applications, the last Ecoboost Mustang I drove with this transmission suffered from low-speed lag-and-lurch. Ford claims that in the 2025 Explorer, the transmission tuning has been recalibrated, and we’re definitely interested in putting tire to pavement to see if it’s made an appreciable difference.

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2025 Ford Explorer Platinum

One appreciable difference that’s noticeable without driving the new Explorer is the revised styling. Ford seems to have drawn some inspiration from the Chinese-market Explorer, and this updated model looks substantially more handsome thanks primarily to a new front bumper, new headlights, a new grille, and new taillights.

2025 Ford Explorer Platinum

In any case, expect the new Explorer to hit showrooms this Spring, starting at $41,220 including freight. That’s $2,765 more than the old stripped-out base model and $955 more than the old XLT trim, but it offers a noticeable upgrade in equipment and style over either of those trims. That doesn’t seem like bad value, although we will mourn the loss of another base model.

(Photo credits: Ford)

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BobWellington
BobWellington
20 days ago

My mom has a 2022 Explorer and really the only improvements here seem to be the recalibrated trans (we’ll see how that pans out) and the nicer looking interior. The front of the car and the lack of physical controls are hard to understand. Why don’t these companies learn from each other?

Mike B
Mike B
21 days ago

TFL did a video about this, at the end Andre asked, “what do you think?” and it occurred to me that there are few vehicles I care LESS about than the Ford Explorer.

The first gens with the TTB front end are kind of cool, but anything after that, meh.

I have no idea why anyone would buy one of these over a Highlander or Pilot.

Vee
Vee
21 days ago

I did some contrast adjustment because I was curious, and the actual grille opening is two tiny slots underneath the logo the size of napkins, and the actual grille is the lower valance. And yet the grille shroud is the size of my desk.

StalePhish
StalePhish
21 days ago
Reply to  Vee

People just like their grills I guess. That’s why a bunch of EVs have entirely fake grills with no air opening whatsoever, just to have the look.

AGuyNamedGuy
AGuyNamedGuy
21 days ago

I’m pretty sure that the 2.3L in these is the all new 2.3L MPC engine that is shared with the Mustang and is not the carryover 2.3L. Confusing that it’s the same size, but definitely a completely different engine. I worked on it.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
21 days ago

“It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?”

“Fix the cigarette lighter”

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
22 days ago

I’m all for supporting our trustworthy men in blues but considering the price, do all our police departments need all of these amenities? Can’t we get them a safe well made speedy vehicle that can’t tow a house? Do they need Corinthian leather? Do they need a beautiful trim package? Does it have good traction is more important. Does it need a tow package at a dealer cost? Does it’s screen package work with the cops package or does it require other screen installed? Selling the American public a LT company car to every cop station is a waste.

Space
Space
21 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I own a police spec ford and if it’s anything like mine they don’t have these options.
My SSV has cloth seats, key start, no rear seats, has real physical buttons and no infotainment screen! It does have AM/FM radio with the single line LCD.
I love it and the lower price combined with the lack of extra electronics made me a happy buyer.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
21 days ago
Reply to  Space

And yet if you read the article you would have known it has all the extras and it is for cops only. Do you need help reading or did you just skip over reading the well written totally inclusive article that covered everything you ignored?

A Man from Florida
A Man from Florida
21 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

This seems unnecessary.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
21 days ago

True but isn’t all of this?

Space
Space
21 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

The article only covers the Active trim, ST or Platinum Ultimate trims, none of those is the cop trim which is called SSV or special service vehicle.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
21 days ago
Reply to  Space

Yeah the cops that drive these or Suburbans round here seem to have some really low spec interiors. And cages.

And if you have a plastic badge, well you can buy one here too.

Last edited 21 days ago by Col Lingus
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
21 days ago
Reply to  Space

I must have missed that only saw the headline where the Only Way To Buy it is being a cop. I didn’t see anywhere it broke out specs.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
21 days ago
Reply to  Space

I have never seen a police-spec vehicle without steel wheels.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
22 days ago

I seem to recall reading some dealers are willing to check the necessary option boxes to allow the general public to buy cop-spec vehicles. I’m not in the market for an Explorer, but if I were, I’d ask my local Ford dealer, which sells dozens of Explorers to my state’s highway patrol, to see if I could buy a Bluesmobile:

“It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?”

Ben
Ben
22 days ago

Points for keeping the gauge cluster hooded, no points for the tacked on center screen and removal of physical controls. Also, the new grilles are making me vaguely uncomfortable, which probably means they’re triggering my trypophobia.

No hybrid is just foolish, but then they probably blew all of their manufacturing money on tooling up the Lightning and Mach E. Trying to skip over hybrids was a mistake.

Detroit-Lightning
Detroit-Lightning
22 days ago

It’s pretty embarrassing that they’re not even offering a hybrid

Timmy
Timmy
22 days ago

Supposedly to prioritize for other models where they have bigger retail impact like maverick and f150. Pretty sure escape still has hybrid offerring too. Realistically a cop idling a lot and City driving will have more benefit from a hybrid than most retail buyers

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
21 days ago
Reply to  Timmy

I have never had a worse experience trying to buy a car than the one I had trying to buy an Escape Hybrid last year. Two kids of driving age, all I wanted was a safe, somewhat frugal vehicle for them to share that I would drive occasionally. But the Ford dealer was a psychopath. Ten in stock. Unsold, sitting there. All of them were white, which was odd but I didn’t care, white’s fine. 5K additional markup not including the stupidest aftermarket alarm system ever invented that required the driver to enter a six digit code into a keypad before the thing would respond to the start button. Salesman said it’s already installed and it’s not coming off the car. I’m not kidding about any of this. I couldn’t believe it.

I said to the guy (in a pleasant way) I’m not paying markup on a piece of shit Escape and I’m not paying you to make me do ten-key data entry in order to drive a car that I own. I said I realize there are shortages but you have ten frigging Escape Hybrids sitting there, so you’ll remove the alarm and I’ll pay sticker just to get out of here and end this hellish experience. He says he’s got to talk to his sales manager, he thinks they can work something out. Comes back out, I guess from the next state over since it took what seemed like hours, and said no can do. The price is msrp + 5K markup + $1,200 for the alarm system they will not be removing. So I left and bought Mazda CX5 for invoice plus a little.

For six months the sales manager left me a voice mail once a week. “What happened? We can make a deal!”

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
18 days ago

if you want the hybrid you can get the lincoln Aviator. The hybrid was only available in the top trim last year anyway so it’s only about a $6,000 upgrade to the lincoln.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
22 days ago

I don’t know what it is, but the changes on the grill/headlight area makes the front end look worse. It’s just weird looking. Not quite a gaping maw, but weird.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
22 days ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

Helps the criminals and speeders pick out the fuzz

Jim Zavist
Jim Zavist
22 days ago

Our Police Department hasn’t been able to get an Explorer PPV, in any form, for a couple of years, now, so they’re now buying Durango Pursuits.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
22 days ago

It’s much nicer when the police have a dedicated vehicle that gives you that instantly recognizable ping in your mind that you should check your speed.

I wish the Explorer, at all, wasn’t sold to the public. It’d make this much easier on everyone not to feel like you’ve done something horribly wrong when Grandpa is behind you, tailgating you, in an explorer.

VanGuy
VanGuy
22 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I feel exactly like this. When I see an Explorer I start going through a checklist in my head.
Roof rack? Spotlights? Black trim? Badging?
That stupid cop-lookalike SHO trim?

RedR58
RedR58
22 days ago

My father has a 2020 Ford Fusion Titanium plug-in hybrid. He drives about and hour to his office 2 or 3 days (works from home otherwise) a week and last I saw his car was reporting about 65mpg average. On warm days the car will go about 25-30 miles on its battery, maybe just under 20 during the winter but he absolutely loves it for the comfort (no climbing up) and mileage. The first 18 months or so he had it, he was working exclusively from home and between him and my mom sharing the car, they put something like 10,000 miles on it purely on battery. I had been dismissive of hybrids before he picked up the car but even with its relatively short range, it’s amazing how far you can get even on that limited range with the battery for local trips. Plugging in the car has become second nature to them now, just like plugging in a phone at the end of the day.

Last edited 22 days ago by RedR58
MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
22 days ago
Reply to  RedR58

I’ve thought about the possibility of picking up a used Fusion PHEV for commuting purposes. My commute is 22 miles one way when I got into the office, and just before the pandemic my company installed a shit ton of chargers at work. I could damn near be gas free on my commute. Good to hear the results from your dad’s Fusion.

A Man from Florida
A Man from Florida
21 days ago
Reply to  MikuhlBrian

I got a used 2020 about 6 months ago. My average is 120mpg. Even when it’s running hybrid only, it bumps up on 50. Because my commute totals at about 20-25 miles, I manage to be battery only most days. Gives me about 1000 miles on a tank, which gets refilled about once a month. And Sync is fantastic, plus there’s physical buttons for HVAC and volume. Very recommended.

RedR58
RedR58
21 days ago

You are getting great mileage! Did you upgrade the modem on the car? I think it was 2G or 3G I don’t remember but there is an upgrade available for 4G I believe. He has yet to upgrade his modem and at the moment it’s not working with the a shutdown of the older cellular network.

Last edited 21 days ago by RedR58
A Man from Florida
A Man from Florida
20 days ago
Reply to  RedR58

I actually didn’t know that it could be. What are the advantages? What’s the process?

RedR58
RedR58
21 days ago
Reply to  MikuhlBrian

Unfortunately, his office does not have a charger in the parking lot, which would make a big difference as it takes about 6 hours to recharge from empty. Although theoretically, he could take his charger with him and plug it in somewhere onsite I suppose. But that might be more trouble than it’s worth. The charger that came with the car is just running on 120 V. The car had been sitting on the dealer’s lot for nearly a year and that and combined with Pennsylvania plug in hybrid rebate at the time and I *think* a federal tax credit it turned out to be a very good deal. I think all Titanium Fusions in the last few model years (2020 was the last year) came fully loaded with the only option being AWD, but his is FWD. I helped him find the car initially online and we never once saw an AWD car anywhere.

Last edited 21 days ago by RedR58
MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
21 days ago
Reply to  RedR58

Thanks for the additional information. Definitely gonna be considering one here soon. I would like to get one as new as possible as well as the Titanium edition, since those as you state are pretty much fully loaded.

Jason Roth
Jason Roth
22 days ago

The rear is giving Subaru vibes.

Chrisjbuffy
Chrisjbuffy
22 days ago

Remember the lawsuits against Ford from police agencies citing exhaust leaking into the cabin while idling? Providing a hybrid that can shut off the engine during idle seems to be their solution. I’m guessing police interceptor explorers have a higher profit margin, hence they get priority.

Last edited 22 days ago by Chrisjbuffy
Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
22 days ago

As someone who’s going to be shopping in this class soon enough no hybrid=no dice for us. It’s really that simple. We are not going to be driving around in DC in something that gets fuel economy in the teens in 2024. As I wrote a manifesto about in yesterday’s morning dump *commentariat collectively groans* this is arguably the class it makes the most sense to hybridize…and the fact that companies like Ford, Honda, Hyundai/Kia, etc. are still putting nothing but gas chugging V6 powertrains into these cars is so disappointing.

Electrify them. The market is there and then some. Toyota can’t keep hybrid Highlanders and Grand Highlanders on their lots and lots of folks pay over MSRP for them. 3/4s of CX90 sales so far are the PHEV option. It’s ridiculous to me that so many companies seem to have the “it’s a family hauler, you won’t care about the gas mileage” attitude.

It’s not the 90s/early 2000s anymore. Pretty much everyone under 40 is environmentally conscious and us millennials are approaching the age that we’re having kids. Give us hybrids damn it! Also AC controls in the infotainment? Child please…

Ben
Ben
22 days ago

us millennials are approaching the age that we’re having kids.

Technically speaking, the oldest millenials are 43 now and may very well have kids who are out of school already (I know someone who graduated two by the time he turned 40). But your point stands anyway. 🙂

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
21 days ago

Cmon a paid for vehicle getting 10 mpg is cheaper than a 45 mpg vehicle with a 700 a month payment. I get women saying they saved $200 by buying a $700 dress for $500. But saving a few mpgs and taking on 5 years of payments or more to save based on a few mpgs is femilogic. I bet Steph and fancy Kristen would agree.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
21 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

It’s not all about the money, amigo. It’s about wanting to reduce your carbon footprint. We’ll pay more for that because it aligns with our values.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
21 days ago

Yes clearly and that is why we see today’s column that sales of electric vehicles are growing so much faster than ICE vehicles.

Clearly the facts are lieing to us and we need to trust people who are telling us things that our eyes are telling us are lies. Not big into cults.

Timmy
Timmy
20 days ago

The grand Cherokee 4xe looks pretty enticing. If you could get one with 40-50 miles electric range that would cover 80% of daily duty for me

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
18 days ago

you would be surprised how many people buy these three row SUVs and put very few miles on them just drop off/ pick up school , grocery shopping, ect. If your just a stay at home mom you are not going to put that many miles on the car fuel will be a small expense. I think everything should be a hybrid and EVs are silly for 99 percent of people but if you just need a big people hauler and your only putting 7,000 miles a year fuel is not much concern.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
22 days ago

Giving these kinds of vehicles a serious hybrid setup or 30 miles of plug in range would drastically cut our nation’s emissions. It’s an absolute shame that not only were we not at that point nearly a decade ago, but that we’re still not at it now

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
22 days ago

.

Last edited 22 days ago by getstoneyII (probably)
Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
22 days ago

..

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
22 days ago

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
22 days ago

.—.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
22 days ago

—- —- — —-

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
22 days ago

/\—/|
| o_o |
 \_^_/

Last edited 22 days ago by Manwich Sandwich
getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
22 days ago

I’m going to take a nap.

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
22 days ago

Nice update but the new Chevy Traverse keep the HVAC controls with physical buttons and switches with a nice layout of the screen focused on the driver. Having everything on the screen is something I don’t understand other than a cost reduction.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
22 days ago

I can imagine that Ford doesn’t want volume to be taken away from the Maverick. It’s my understanding that the batteries in the Ford’s EV projects aren’t compatible with Ford’s Hybrid drivetrains, so they are limited on capacity for building Hybrids.

The new styling design is a little bit better, I had the current model as a rental and the design already feels a little old. Also, Ford needs to make a GT model and slap in the 5.0. An Explorer should always have a V8!

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
22 days ago
Reply to  rctothefuture

Yep, Ford can’t build enough hybrids, so rather than boost production capacity, they’re just removing the option.

Also, they’re gaming the CAFE credits with the F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach E, to where their ICE vehicles don’t need to be as fuel efficient anymore, since their selling enough EVs to offset them in the fleet average. That’s why a hybrid Mustang was considered, then cancelled, was no longer needed to make the math work, even if there was customer demand

Njd
Njd
22 days ago

I wonder if this is part of Ford focusing on building their own hybrid systems. iirc the Maverick uses the first completely in-house system, and they’ve had a hard time building capacity.

Darnon
Darnon
22 days ago
Reply to  Njd

I don’t think in practice they moved that much in-house for the Maverick. Ford was already producing much of the transmission in-house and Maverick switched to manufacturing their own electric motors within the eCVT (previously manufactured by Toshiba), but the HVB is still supplied by Panasonic AFAIK.

Njd
Njd
22 days ago
Reply to  Darnon

Good to know. I’m sure the “completely in house” phrasing was a bit of marketing speak.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
22 days ago
Reply to  Njd

This all about the increased demand for the Hybrid F-150, which uses most of the same components, and to a lesser degree the increased demand for the Hybrid powertrain in the Police versions.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
22 days ago

I’m ambivalent on the exterior styling updates, but appreciate the revised interior. My household is currently shopping for a replacement of our aging minivan, and when we looked at the Explorer the crap interior and bizarre portrait-mode screen on the higher spec models was an instant turn off for my partner. I’m still not a fan of giant screens everywhere, especially the ones that look like someone taped an iPad to the dash, but at least they made it landscape so it is less goofy looking. Then again, another minivan is the likely replacement vehicle for us, so my opinion is mostly immaterial.

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