1998 Ford Explorer

  • 1998 Ford Explorer Base Utility

    Base Utility

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      4.0L V6
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1998 Ford Explorer Review

A perennial SUV favorite.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1998 Ford Explorer classifies as an SUV, introduced by Ford Motor Company in 1990. It replaces the smaller but similar Ford Bronco II, and it comes from factories in Chicago, Illinois and Hazelwood, Missouri.

The Explorer marks an important car for both Ford and the North American automotive industry since it plays a major role in generating interest among consumers about the SUV. Not only does the Explorer enjoy popularity today, but the SUV market has turned into one of the most profitable ones in the global automotive sector.

The Range

Body Styles: three-door SUV, five-door SUV
Engines: 4.0-liter V-6, 5.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: five-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Ford Explorer Sport, Ford Explorer XL, Ford Explorer XLT, Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer, Ford Explorer Limited

What's New

The 1998 Ford Explorer shows only minor changes from the previous year. A revised tailgate marks one of the few noteworthy changes for this year.


The 1998 Explorer retains some heavy truck characteristics in its exterior styling. The first generation of the SUV looks more truck-like than this generation, but the similarities remain nonetheless.

The five-door version of the 1998 Ford Explorer sits on a wheelbase of 111.6 inches, while the three-door version uses a wheelbase of 101.7 inches. The five-door Explorer has a length of 190.7 inches, while the three-door variant shortens to 180.8 inches. Both versions of the Explorer have a width of 70.2 inches.


The Explorer offers one of the most spacious interiors in its segment. More importantly, however, entry and exit to and from the Explorer prove far better than in other SUVs, mainly because of its low step-in height. The five-door version of the Explorer offers enough space for three people to sit in the rear without their shoulders touching.

The 1998 Ford Explorer offers some of the best cargo space in its class as well, and the split seatbacks at the rear and the long load floor add even more space to the cargo area. Another positive aspect about the cargo area concerns the spare tire, which does not sit in the cargo area eating away a large percentage of the available space like in other SUVs.

Up front, the controls and gauges in the 1998 Ford Explorer look simple and easily readable. The intuitive layout of the controls makes it very easy for the driver and front passenger to operate them. Visibility remains good as well, thanks to the height of the rear windows and the side windows.

Performance & Handling

The 1998 Ford Explorer contains an overhead-cam, four-liter V-6 which launched last year. This engine delivers 205 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Another engine option, a five-liter V-8 delivers 210 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 engine pairs with a five-speed automatic, while the V-8 engine matches with a four-speed automatic or a five-speed automatic transmission.

The five-liter V-8 offers an incredible amount of power, but an equally lackluster fuel economy. On the other hand, the four-liter engine turns out to be a good combination of power and efficiency, even though it does not offer as much sheer acceleration as the larger V-8 does.

The automatic transmissions feel smooth and responsive, and the wide stance of the 1998 Ford Explorer makes it relatively more stable than smaller SUVs. However, the short-wheelbase version of the Explorer tends to deliver a choppier ride. In any case, the Explorer steers precisely and corners well.


The 1998 Ford Explorer receives four out of five stars for driver and passenger safety in frontal-impact tests conducted by the NHTSA.

EPA Fuel Economy

Ford Explorer 5.0-liter V-8, automatic: 15/20 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good acceleration with the V-8
  • Lots of passenger and cargo space
  • Stable and comfortable ride
  • Well-crafted interior
  • Good visibility

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Loud wind noise

Sum Up

A perennial SUV favorite.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevrolet Blazer
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Dodge Durango

See the New 2018 Explorer.

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