It's not often we see an automaker's unannounced new vehicles running around without disguises. However, that's consistently been the case with Ford lately. Today we have more spy shots catching the 2024 Explorer fully exposed on the outside, and we mean fully. Not only do we see the SUV's mid-cycle refresh, but we catch a new Explorer trim level red-handed. Say hello to the Explorer Active.
How do we know it's an Explorer Active? That would be the big chrome Active badge in full view on the liftgate. It seems Ford isn't interested in hiding anything at this point, and if the trim hierarchy matches that of the smaller Ford Escape, Active will be a lower-spec version in the Explorer lineup between the Base and XLT.
Gallery: Ford Explorer Active Spy Photos
That fits with what we see here – a rather nondescript SUV with simple aluminum wheels and a lack of flashy trim. The wheels resemble those assigned to the aforementioned Base and XLT trims, which use spoked 18-inchers. This version also appears to be rear-wheel drive, as the 4WD badging we've seen in other Explorer spy shots is missing.
As before, it's very easy to see the changes coming to the Explorer's face. It's essentially a copy of the Explorer that debuted last year for the Chinese market, which could explain why Ford isn't keen to keep things under cover. Compared to the outgoing version, 2024 will see headlights shrink just a bit while the grille gets larger and adopts a rectangular shape. The lower fascias we've seen in spy shots for North American models are different from the Chinese Explorer, and taillight structures are different as well. The overall redesign for the rear, however, mirrors the overseas version.
One mystery that remains unsolved is the interior. We've not had a good look inside to see what's happening, and that's important because the Explorer sold in China has a radically different layout with a larger 27-inch center display that covers much of the dash. That's in addition to a separate driver display behind the steering wheel. We don't think the US model will see that same setup, but until an official debut takes place, we're left wondering.
Speaking of, when will this debut happen? It has to be soon, considering we're more than halfway through 2023 and Ford isn't interested in hiding anything on the outside. Stay tuned, because an announcement is likely just weeks away.