Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2017 Ford Explorer VS 2016 Lexus GX460 Near Peoria, AZ

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2017 Ford Explorer

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2016 Lexus GX460

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The GX460 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Explorer uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The GX460 uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the Explorer and the GX460 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty Comparison

There are almost 20 times as many Ford dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The GX460 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer Sport/Platinum’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 64 more horsepower (365 vs. 301) and 21 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 329) than the GX460’s 4.6 DOHC V8.

As tested in Car and Driver the Explorer Sport/Platinum 3.5 turbo V6 is faster than the Lexus GX460:



Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.8 sec

21.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

7.6 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

3.7 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.4 sec

5.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

89 MPH

Top Speed

123 MPH

111 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer Sport/Platinum 4WD turbo V6 gets better fuel mileage than the GX460 (16 city/22 hwy vs. 15 city/20 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Explorer uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Explorer Sport/Platinum for maximum performance). The GX460 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The GX460 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the GX460:



Front Rotors

13.85 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

12.3 inches

The Explorer stops much shorter than the GX460:



70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Explorer’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GX460’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer offers optional 20-inch wheels. The GX460’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Ford Explorer has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Lexus GX460 has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the GX460 (112.8 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 4.6 inches wider in the front and 4.6 inches wider in the rear than on the GX460.

The Explorer Sport 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the GX460 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Explorer Limited 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GX460 (27.7 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Explorer Base/XLT/Limited’s turning circle is 2.5 feet tighter than the GX460’s (38.9 feet vs. 41.4 feet). The Explorer Sport’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the GX460’s (40 feet vs. 41.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 700 pounds less than the Lexus GX460.

Unibody construction makes the Explorer’s chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The GX460 doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The GX460 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 21.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GX460 (151.5 vs. 129.7).

The Explorer has 3.4 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front hip room, 6.1 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 5.4 inches more rear legroom, 1.6 inches more rear hip room, 3.7 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.6 inches more third row headroom and 4 inches more third row legroom than the GX460.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the GX460.



Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

11.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

81.7 cubic feet

64.7 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Explorer easier. The Explorer’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 31.1 inches, while the GX460’s liftover is 33.8 inches.

The Explorer’s cargo area is larger than the GX460’s in almost every dimension:



Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)






Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Sport/Platinum’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The GX460 doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

The Explorer’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The GX460’s swing out door blocks loading from the passenger’s side.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer’s cargo door can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Explorer also (except Base) offers an optional power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper. The GX460 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening cargo door.

Ergonomics Comparison

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The GX460 doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

The Explorer’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The GX460’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Explorer’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The GX460’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional Enhanced Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The GX460 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the Lexus GX460 by almost ten to one during 2015.

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