Ford has been making the Explorer for over 30 years but it only introduced a hybrid version in 2020.
The Hybrid Explorer model is the only vehicle in its class that can tow 5,000 lbs and it’s built to take on tough terrain with full off-road capability.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at its average lifespan.
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Here is the short answer to how long the Ford Explorer Hybrid lasts:
A Ford Explorer Hybrid should last at least 200,000 miles and may even last over 300,000 miles providing it’s properly maintained. Based on an annual mileage of 15,000 miles, you can expect 13 – 20 years of service from your Explorer Hybrid before requiring uneconomical repairs.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Ford Explorer Hybrid?
Ford’s first hybrid venture was the Escape Hybrid which was introduced for the 2005 model year and you can find plenty of these on used car websites such as Car Gurus and AutoTrader, with over 200,000 miles and still going strong.
On the same sites you can find gas-driven Explorers with some incredibly high mileages, some with well over 300k on the odometer.
With the experience Ford has built up over the years in developing hybrid drivetrains and ICU (internal combustion engine) Explorers, you can expect an Explorer Hybrid to last a really long time.
With this in mind, the Ford Explorer Hybrid should have no problem reaching 200,000 and may even last up to, and potentially beyond 300,000 miles.
There’s a strong argument that Hybrid Explorers may even outlast their gas-driven counterparts as the hybrid drivetrain helps reduce the amount of stress the engine is put under.
A vehicle is usually considered ‘finished’ once the cost of repairs outweighs the value of the vehicle, and this usually occurs when big-ticket items fail at high mileage, such as the engine or transmission.
The hybrid battery should last upwards of 150,000 miles although there’s a good chance they may last much longer, and a replacement shouldn’t cost too much either with new batteries costing around $2000 – $3000, although you’ll have to factor in labor costs.
As with any vehicle, the biggest determining factors of longevity are:
- Driving habits
Performing routine maintenance on your Explorer Hybrid is the easiest way to ensure it hits high numbers.
Maintaining hybrids requires a specific set of skills and tools, so it’s also important to leave it in the hands of a qualified EV service technician.
Smooth use of the gas and brake pedal will also ensure wear and tear on components is kept to a minimum helping them to last longer.
Ford also offers an 8-year/100,000-mile hybrid powertrain warranty which should cover you for a good part of the vehicle’s useful lifespan.
Does the Ford Explorer Hybrid Hybrid Rust Easily?
The new Ford Explorer Hybrid shouldn’t have too many issues with excessive rust and corrosion. As it’s such a new model it should benefit from the latest rustproofing technology; additional rustproofing isn’t generally recommended.
However, no vehicle is immune to rust, in fact Ford recently recalled about 350,000 Explorers from 2013 – 2017 model years in states where corrosion is common.
Rust is much more of an issue in states that use salt on the roads in the winter – salt accelerates rust.
The problem caused the rear suspension to fracture.
This recall won’t affect the hybrid model which debuted for the 2020 model year and if anything, it hopefully means Ford will have taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again as it is an extremely costly error for them.
A common complaint on older generation Ford Explorers is paint bubbling on the aluminum hood. But the rest of the body is made from high-quality steel that is quite resilient against such issues.
Keeping your Explorer rust-free is important as it can negatively impact its resale value and even the integrity of the vehicle.
Regular car washes will help keep rust at bay, this includes the underside of the vehicle and the wheel wells, and is especially important after exposure to dirt, grime and salt.
Ford offers a 5-year/unlimited mile Corrosion Warranty to address any premature rust through and perforation issues on all the Explorer’s body panels.
What is High Mileage for a Ford Explorer Hybrid?
A Ford Explorer Hybrid with over 100,000 miles is considered high mileage. Perishable items, like the shocks, brake rotors, wheel bearings, belts and hoses, will need to be replaced sooner rather than later, and although relatively cheap fixes, the costs can add up.
Considering that the Explorer Hybrid is new to the market, it’s quite rare to see ones that have already crossed the 100,000-mile mark — unless they were used as a rental or for commercial purposes, it’s best to steer clear of these.
Once the Explorer Hybrid’s mileage reaches six digits, you’ll no longer be covered by the vehicle’s hybrid component warranty. If encounter issues with the hybrid battery, you’ll be entirely responsible for repair costs.
Mileage only gives some indication of the value of the vehicle, its overall condition is much more important.
If you’re buying a used Ford Hybrid, consider the following:
- Check that the car was properly serviced and the owner can provide evidence of this.
- Have the car inspected by a mechanic who understands hybrids.
- As a general rule, less previous owners is better. More owners usually means more wear-and-tear. A one-owner car that’s been regularly serviced on time is less likely to have issues and nasty surprises.
- The condition of the interior tells the story of how well the car was maintained and cared for.
- Mileage relative to vehicles age: A car that has done alot more, or a lot less than 15,000 miles per year on average is a red flag.
How Long Does the Ford Explorer Hybrid Last Compared to Other Hybrid SUVs?
In this section, we’ll size up the Explorer Hybrid against its competitors.
Ford Explorer Hybrid vs. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is another versatile midsize SUV that offers seating for seven people.
The Highlander has had a hybrid version since its first-generation model was released roughly 15 years so it has a proven reliability record.
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid should be able to last well over 300,000 miles or 20+ years which is longer than what the Explorer Hybrid might be able to muster.
- RepairPal gave the Toyota Highlander 4/5 stars for reliability while the Ford Explorer only got 3.5/5 stars.
- The Highlander will be cheaper to maintain in the long run as it costs only an average of $489 per year while the Explorer costs $732 per year.
- Looking at Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index, the Highlander Hybrid was given a score of 4.9/5 for reliability while the entire Ford Explorer lineup only got 3.7/5 stars.
- Edmunds consumer reviews gave the 2021 Highlander Hybrid an overall score of 4/5 stars while the 2021 Explorer Hybrid got a slightly higher 4.2/5 stars.
- JD Power gave both vehicles almost similar scores for Quality and Reliability with the Toyota Highlander getting 82/100 while the Ford Explorer got 81/100.
While the Ford Explorer Hybrid’s powertrain can last just as long as the Highlander Hybrid, the car itself might suffer from typical Ford problems and not hold up for quite as long.
Aside from Toyota’s legendary reliability and extensive experience with hybrid vehicles, the Highlander will likely give you fewer headaches even after being on the road for 10 or more years.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Toyota Highlander Hybrids Last?
Ford Explorer Hybrid vs. Kia Sorento Hybrid
The Sorento Hybrid is also a midsize SUV that can seat up to seven passengers. However, it’s also a little bit smaller than the Explorer.
Like the Explorer, the Sorento’s hybrid variant was only recently released so there isn’t much data yet about how well they hold up after years of use.
Despite this, we’re confident in predicting that the Kia Sorento Hybrid can last 200,000 – 300,000 miles, just like the Explorer Hybrid.
- RepairPal gave the Ford Explorer a pretty average reliability rating of 3.5/5 stars especially when compared to the Sorento’s pretty respectable 4/5 stars.
- Ford Explorers are generally more expensive to maintain and cost an average of $732 per year while the Sorento only costs $533.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the entire Explorer lineup a 3.7/5 for reliability while the Sorento Hybrid got a much higher 4.6/5.
- Edmunds consumer reviews gave the 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid an overall rating of 4.2/5 which is similar to the Sorento Hybrid’s rating of 4.1/5.
- JD Power gave the Ford Explorer a higher rating for Quality and Reliability at 81/100 compared to the Sorento’s 77/100.
The Kia Sorento has proven itself to be a very reliable family SUV that’s also cheaper to maintain than an Explorer. The Sorento Hybrid also gets better gas mileage than the Explorer Hybrid.
However, the Explorer Hybrid does beat the Sorento when it comes to internal space and ground clearance. At the same time, it’s also more expensive to buy brand new.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Kia Sorento Hybrids Last?
Ford Explorer Hybrid vs Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The RAV4 Hybrid is a very popular compact SUV with a pretty big following.
It’s a lot smaller than the Explorer and it also has less space and passenger capacity. But it’s a pretty decent, and more affordable option if all you’re looking for is a hybrid SUV.
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid can last over 300,000 miles or 20+ years which is slightly more than what the Explorer Hybrid can deliver.
- RepairPal gave the Toyota RAV4 4/5 stars for reliability while the Ford Explorer only got 3.5/5 stars.
- The Highlander will be cheaper to maintain in the long run as it costs only an average of $429 per year while the Explorer costs $732 per year.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the RAV Hybrid a score of 3.6/5 for reliability while the entire Ford Explorer lineup got 3.7/5 stars.
- Edmunds consumer reviews gave the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid an overall score of 4.1/5 stars while the 2021 Explorer Hybrid got a slightly higher 4.2/5 stars.
- JD Power gave the Toyota RAV4 a lower score of 74/100 for Quality and Reliability while the Ford Explorer got 81/100.
A RAV4 Hybrid will be much cheaper to maintain than a Explorer Hybrid.
But if you need a bigger vehicle with more room for cargo and passengers, the Explorer Hybrid should be quite reliable as well.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Toyota Rav4 Hybrids Last?
|Explorer Hybrid||Highlander Hybrid||Kia Sorento Hybrid||RAV4 Hybrid|
|RepairPal Reliability Rating*||3.5/5||4/5||4/5||4/5|
|RepairPal Annual Repair Average*||$732||$489||$533||$429|
|KBB Reliability Rating||3.7/5*||4.9/5||4.6/5||3.6/5|
|Expected Lifespan (miles)||200k – 300k||300k – 500k||200k – 300k||300k – 500k|
|Expected Lifespan (years)||13+||20+||13+||20+|
* Ratings for entire model range (not specific to hybrid models)
Is the Ford Explorer Hybrid Reliable?
The Ford Explorer has received mixed reviews from leading car review sites over the years. The hybrid models will share much of the same issues as the gas-only versions and share a similar level of reliability, which is probably average at best.
Consumer Reports had this to say about the 2022 Explorer:
“We expect the 2022 Explorer will be much less reliable than the average new car. This prediction is based on data from 2020 and 2021 models.”
They have also ranked the Explorer 13th out of 14 for 3-Row Midsized SUVs, taking into account all aspects of the vehicle.
There isn’t much data about the reliability of Explorer Hybrids because they’re still only a few years old, but they should be on par with regular gas-driven Explorers – if not more reliable.
One thing to consider is that the Explorer Hybrid’s gas engine won’t be used or strained as much as in the non-hybrid version since the electric motors are there to share some of the load.
In theory, the vehicle’s engine will likely last even longer than normal because it’s lived an easier life.
Ford Explorer Hybrid’s reliability data:
- JD Power gave the latest generation Ford Explorer lineup a Quality and Reliability rating of 81/100.
- Owner reviews on Edmunds gave the new Explorer an overall score of 4.2/5 stars which shows that people are quite happy with their vehicles.
- Consumer Reports gave the 2022, 2021 and 2020 Explorer 1/5 for reliability.
Reliability Compared to Other SUVs
|Mazda CX-5||4.5 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Santa Fe||4.0 / 5.0|
|Toyota Venza||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Veracruz||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Endeavor||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Journey||4.0 / 5.0|
|Toyota Highlander||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Nitro||4.0 / 5.0|
|Toyota 4Runner||4.0 / 5.0|
|Subaru Outback||3.5 / 5.0|
|Ford Edge||3.5 / 5.0|
|Toyota FJ Cruiser||3.5 / 5.0|
|Honda Pilot||3.5 / 5.0|
|Jeep Liberty||3.5 / 5.0|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||3.5 / 5.0|
|Mazda CX-7||3.5 / 5.0|
|Nissan Pathfinder||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru Tribeca||3.5 / 5.0|
|Ford Explorer||3.5 / 5.0|
|Ford Explorer Sport Trac||3.5 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Tahoe||3.5 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Traverse||3.0 / 5.0|
|GMC Acadia||3.0 / 5.0|
|Buick Enclave||3.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Touareg||3.0 / 5.0|
|Ford Police Interceptor Utility||2.0 / 5.0|
|Avg. Midsize SUV||3.5|
Data source: Repair Pal
The Best and Worst Years for the Ford Explorer Hybrid
The Ford Explorer Hybrid is still fairly new so there aren’t too many differences between model years yet.
But let’s take a look at how the different model years have changed so far.
Worst Model Year
The 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid is the worst model year as it has the most complaints logged on the NHTSA database so far and has received the most recalls.
Compared to the 2020 and 2022 models that have received no complaints yet, the 2021 Explorer Hybrid already has 22 complaints.
Common issues pertain to the electronic systems and the body integrity which includes squeaks, rattles, wind noises and loose or cracked seals.
Feedback on Consume Reports also indicates some owners have experienced transmission issues with the 2020 model with one owner posting:
“Transmission cooler stopped working and had to be replaced. Vehicle only had 2500 miles at that time and was in the shop for three weeks. New design and flawed production roll out”
Best Model Year
From what we can so far, the 2022 Explorer Hybrid is the best model year to date.
This is currently the latest model year and will likely be updated in a couple more years.
The 2022 Explorer Hybrid has had zero complaints recorded so far and it’s the first year it was offered in the top-spec Platinum trim level.
Model Year and Number of Complaints
Here is the total number of complaints for the Explorer Hybrid reported on the CarComplaints website and the NHTSA database so far.
|Model Year||No. of Complaints|
What About Recalls for the Explorer Hybrid?
The Ford Explorer Hybrid has only had 4 recalls so far, and all of them were issued for the 2021 model.
- 2022 Ford Explorer Hybrid: 0
- 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid: 4
- 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid: 0
Recalls were issued for:
- Faulty rear suspension module
- Faulty rearview camera
- Improper deployment of side air bags
You can always check if your Ford Explorer Hybrid has a recall campaign by entering your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the Ford recall webpage or the NHTSA recall database.
Recalls are manufacturing faults that impact safety, they are repaired at no charge to the consumer.
Ford Explorer Hybrid Model Year List
The Ford Explorer Hybrid was first released as a 2020 model alongside the release of the sixth generation Ford Explorer.
First Generation (2020 – present):
- 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid
- 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid
- 2022 Ford Explorer Hybrid
Is the Ford Explorer Hybrid Expensive to Maintain?
Ford Explorers are typically more expensive to maintain than other SUVs in the segment due to their shaky reliability. According to RepairPal, the Ford Explorer costs $732 per year in maintenance which is above the $573 average for the midsize SUV segment.
You can expect the hybrid variants to cost a similar amount, keep in mind if you run into any issues you should be covered by the 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty.
The Explorer Hybrid also comes with a 5-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and an 8-year/100,000-mile hybrid powertrain warranty.
|Model||Avg. Annual |
Repairs (per year)
|Probability of |
|Hyundai Santa Fe||$515||0.2||10%|
|Toyota FJ Cruiser||$506||0.5||14%|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||$666||0.3||13%|
|Ford Explorer Sport Trac||$720||0.3||14%|
|Ford Police Interceptor Utility||$1,160||1.0||20%|
|Avg. Midsize SUV||$573||0.4||13%|
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
The Ford Explorer Hybrid’s factory brake pads should be able to last over 100,000 miles.
- The Explorer Hybrid uses regenerative braking to charge the hybrid battery whenever you lift your foot off the accelerator.
- This also helps slow down the vehicle at the same time so you don’t have to use the brake pedal as much.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
The Ford Explorer Hybrid’s factory tires should last 30,000 to 50,000 miles or about 2 to 3 years. The longevity of your tires can depend on factors like treadwear rating, driving habits and road conditions.
To get the most life from your tires:
- Rotate tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
- Check your tire pressure every few weeks to make sure they’re at the correct tire pressure.
- Check your wheel alignment every 6 months.
How Long Do the Transmissions Last?
The Explorer Hybrid uses the same 10-speed automatic transmission used in the entire sixth gen Explorer lineup. It should be able to easily reach 200,000 miles as long as it’s looked after and properly maintained.
The Ford 10-speed automatic is used in a lot of vehicles like the F-150 and Mustang and has been a fairly reliable unit overall.
Some have reported harshness while shifting and hesitation issues, but premature failures are not very common.
How Long Will the Explorer Hybrid’s Electric Motors Last?
The Explorer Hybrids electric motors can probably last over 500,000 miles and will likely outlast the entire vehicle.
Electric motors require less maintenance than a traditional engine and also run much cleaner to boot, which boosts their reliability and longevity.
Ford already has a lot of experience with building reliable electric motors especially now that they’ve started building all-electric vehicles starting with the Mustang Mach-E.
So you won’t have anything to worry about when it comes to the durability of the electric drivetrain.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
The Ford Explorer Hybrid’s internal combustion engine typically needs new spark plugs every 100,000 miles.
If the car is used for carrying or towing heavy loads, the spark plug interval can be shortened to 60,000 miles.
You may need new spark plugs sooner if they look too worn down or fouled up during the car’s regular inspection
How Long Do Ford Explorer Hybrid Batteries Last?
Based on what we know about Ford’s hybrid batteries in older models like the Escape Hybrid, the new Explorer Hybrid’s batteries should be able to last well over 150,000 miles.
Lots of older Ford hybrids were used in taxi fleets in different cities and many have gone several thousand miles using their original hybrid batteries.
The Explorer’s hybrid battery is also covered by the standard 8-year/100,000-mile hybrid powertrain warranty which should be able to take care of any premature battery failures.
What About Insurance Costs?
According to Insuraviz’s estimates, a new Ford Explorer costs 1,448 per year on average or roughly $109 to $128 per month to insure.
Insurance costs can vary from person to person, so be sure to shop around to find the best possible deal for your Explorer Hybrid.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Ford Explorer Hybrid
- Practice smooth and safe driving habits.
- Keep up to date with factory-recommended maintenance.
- Use quality parts and fluids.
- Keep on top of repairs to prevent them from developing into larger problems.
- Regularly wash your Explorer Hybrid to remove dirt and grime, as well as to protect the paint and undercarriage from rust.
- Keep your Explorer stored in a garage to help protect it from extreme heat and cold.
- Read the owner’s manual to learn the location of important components, what your SUV needs and in what quantities, and to understand the symbols and dashboard warning lights.