Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Explorer - The better pick

Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Explorer - The better pick

Ford vehicles in here are usually looked for their ruggedness with respect to the SUVs and performance in terms of cars like the Mustang. A Ford Mustang is an epitome and is the manufacturer’s flagship. Similarly, the Explorer is Ford’s top dog in terms of SUVs. It was also the first Ford SUV to have four doors. The vehicle is currently in its fifth generation and has to face competition from the likes of vehicles from Isuzu and Toyota. While the Isuzu MU-X isn’t a downer, people who want luxury turn towards Toyota. The Japanese with its Fortuner has hit pay dirt and has got things in its grasp. The Fortuner in spite of being launched two years ago, is still the best seller in its category. Will the age-old Ford take it up against the new kid Toyota on the block? Let’s find out.

Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Explorer - Looks


Toyota Fortuner

The Fortuner has had a generation change two years ago. It is built on the TNGA platform. This translates to a lighter and more able chassis than before. The way the Fortuner looks, defines its capabilities. The vehicle looks chiselled and all muscle rather than the flabby appearance of the older SUV. The LED DRLs are very bright and suit the chrome ringed face very nicely. We also like the subtle aggression shown on its face. The Toyota Fortuner measures 4,795 mm in length, has a width of 1,855 mm and height of 1,835 mm. The wheelbase stands at 2,745 mm. There are 18-inch alloys but no option to upgrade to bigger wheels.

Ford Explorer

Lusted after a Range Rover but obviously couldn’t afford one? The Ford Explorer is your next big bet. Modelled on the lines of the Freelander 2, the Explorer looks handsome but has more of a slab profile. The 7-shaped headlights and those DRLs look very good indeed. The typical Ford grille with a slightly smaller airdam is too neat. Ford offers the option of 20-inch alloys for the Explorer. What we don’t like is the side profile of the car which looks like any other normal SUV in this category. The rear is also done tightly and the tail lights are very small too. They are joined by a chrome strip which has to do extra duty of stretching to the extremes. The twin exhausts on both the ends signify its sporty intentions. In terms of dimensions, the Explorer measures 5,037 mm in length, 2,292 mm in width and 1,777 mm in height. The wheelbase is 2,866 mm.


Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Explorer - Interior

Toyota Fortuner

The cabins of the Fortuner SUV is stylish inside too. There are leather seats with the front two getting electrical adjustment. You will also notice there is plenty of space inside the cabin in general. Apart from this, Toyota offers the Fortuner with a multifunction steering wheel, touchscreen infotainment system, seven seats, automatic climate control, second row AC vents and 12 bottle holders around the cabin. A couple of charging points for the phone or other devices too can be found splattered around the cabin. Ambient lighting is also part of the deal here. Paddle shifters are present behind the wheel too. We don’t particularly fancy the old-school low-res touchscreen infotainment system. It doesn’t support modern phone apps either but has USB as well as Bluetooth connectivity. The sound quality from the 6-speaker system is average as well and serious audiophiles will definitely want to add a woofer and few more speakers. The third row of seats is best for children or adults depending on if its a short or long journey. Boot space is decent at best. Toyota offers a remote boot release function.

Ford Explorer

The interior of the Explorer is also nicely laid out with leather. The front seats are perforated and also have cooling function. Needless to say, both the seats also have electric adjustment along with memory function. The touchscreen infotainment system gets Sync 3 and can adapt to voice commands as well. It supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. We like the responsiveness of the touchscreen as well. The seats here are a tad more comfortable than the ones in the Fortuner. Boot space is 595 litres with all the seat rows in place. With the two rows of seats down, there is a massive 2,137 litres of space. More than the Fortuner’s 1,700 litres. The last row of seats tumbles electrically. The boot can be opened by just waving your feet under the rear bumper - a nifty feature to have.

Engine and performance

Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Explorer - Engine

Toyota Fortuner

Toyota offers two petrol engines with the Fortuner. Interestingly, the V6 engine or the bigger motor is offered only in UAE. Since we don’t actually care about the efficiency of a vehicle, it makes sense too. The engine measures 4,000 cc in volume and produces 235 PS of power with 383 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters behind the wheel. In 9 seconds flat, you reach 0-100 kmph. The top speed is closer to 210 kmph. The fuel efficiency is 8 kmpl while doing this. In contrast, the standard 2.7-litre four cylinder engine makes 164 PS and 240 Nm. It also is paired to the 6-speed automatic. This engine completes the 0-100 kmph run in 12.2 seconds. There is also the bump in efficiency number to 11 kmpl.

Ford Explorer

Ford offers the Explorer with V6 petrol engines only. The first is the economy conscious turbo-ed 3.5-litre EcoBoost motor that produces 370 PS of power and 475 Nm of torque. This engine is paired to a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters too. Ford claims that this engine will propel the Explorer to 100 kmph in 7.6 seconds and the top speed is closer to 230 kmph. The efficiency considering it boasts eco-technologies is 10.1 kmpl. The other engine is the 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 that makes 294 PS of power and 346 Nm. The 6-speed gearbox is also common here and comes with paddle shifters. Expectedly so, this one takes a bit longer to reach 100 kmph at 9 seconds and the top speed is 200 kmph. Efficiency-wise, this one returns 10.3 kmpl.

Ride and handling

Toyota Fortuner


The Fortuner is quite the sherpa when it comes to going off-road. It has a full time four wheel drive mode and is adept at tackling the rough. However, the road manners need slightly more refinement. There is a bit of bob and pitch when one brakes hard. In terms of brake feel, there is room for improvement. The brakes feel wooden when applied and this will rob off confidence. High speed stability is easily affected by crosswinds.

Ford Explorer

Surprisingly, the Ford feels more car-like to drive. It is planted at all speeds. However, cornering isn’t its forte especially if you happen to take a particular apex at higher speeds. There are different modes for the Terrain Management system. This includes modes for Snow, Rain, Mud and Normal. These work just by the twist of the knob and are effective enough. The Ford engine is a bit quieter too in operation. The brakes are fantastic.


Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Explorer - Features

Toyota Fortuner

Toyota offers the Fortuner with seven airbags and this is standard across trims. The other driving aids include ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control, cruise control, ISOFIX, rear parking sensors and rear view camera. Crash tests have shown that the Fortuner does really well in occupant as well as child safety protection. It lacks in pedestrian safety though.

Ford Explorer

Ford offers the Explorer with the same number of airbags as in the Fortuner. Driving aids include Roll Stability Control, Individual tyre pressure monitoring system, Blind Spot Alert, Overview camera, rear view camera, lane keeping assist, Crash alert system, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, over speed warning and ISOFIX tethers. Clearly, the Explorer offers more in terms of safety tech.


Both the competitors are evenly matched here. While the Explorer has a better laid out interior, more safety features as well as better on-road manners, the Fortuner balances it out by providing better off-road tractability and more efficient engines. With respect to the pricing, the Ford Explorer starts at AED 162,750 while Toyota has priced the Fortuner starting from AED 114,900. While the Explorer is a costly option, it is bigger and offers more goodies. It will be our recommendation here.

Zigwheels team

Zigwheels team

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