What is the 2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity? Best seven-seater SUV.

2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity chart

The 2018 Ford Explorer continues to deliver an unparalleled mix of enthusiasm, power, and adaptability. The Explorer is the best-selling SUV, as one of America’s most popular SUVs in the segment, redefines style and comfort. The Explorer proves itself with features like seating for seven, ample cargo space, and combines Family-Friendly comfort with capable towing. Many people are looking to tow a boat, trailer, or camper, so it’s important to know how much a vehicle can tow safely. In this article let’s take a look at the trim, engine options, and the 2018 Ford Explorer’s towing capacity in detail.

2018 Ford Explorer trim levels2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity
Ford Explorer2,000 – 5,000 lbs.
Ford Explorer XLT2,000 – 5,000 lbs.
Ford Explorer Limited2,000 – 5,000 lbs.
Ford Explorer Sport5,000 lbs.
Ford Explorer Platinum5,000 lbs.
The above-shown numbers are subject to change and are for reference purposes only.
Towing trailers beyond the maximum recommended gross trailer weight exceeds the limit of your vehicle and could result in engine damage, transmission damage, structural damage, loss of vehicle control, vehicle rollover, and personal injury. Do not exceed the GVWR or the GAWR specified on the certification label.
2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity

2018 Ford Explorer Engine Specs

Ford Explorer powered by your choice of three engines option is a more refined, and all-around performer. The powertrain provides better fuel economy.

  • 2.3L Ecoboost:  This twin-scroll turbocharged, direct-injection EcoBoost engine has quick turbine spin-up for responsive acceleration performance. Pair it with the Class II Trailer Tow Package to pull up to 3,000 lbs.
  • 3.5L Ti-VCT V6: This powerful V6 is matched to a 6-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission that’s standard with all engines. Twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) allows intake and exhaust valves to adjust independently, helping optimize performance.
  • 3.5L Ecoboost: The V6 horsepower. Plus, a robust supply of torque. Combining twin turbochargers with direct injection technology, this responsive V6 engine generates nearly quick power on demand.
Engine2.3-liter EcoBoost I-43.5L Ti-VCT V63.5L Ecoboost V6
Horsepower280 hp @ 5,600rpm290 hp @ 6,500rpm365 hp @ 5,500rpm
Torque310 lb.-ft. @ 3,000rpm255 lb.-ft. @ 4,000rpm350 lb.-ft. @ 3,500rpm
Note: Specific states require electric trailer brakes for trailers over a specified weight. Be certain to review state regulations for this determined weight. The maximum trailer weights listed could be limited to this specified weight, as the vehicle’s electrical system may not include the wiring connector needed to activate electric trailer brakes.
2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity

2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity without Trailer tow package

Your vehicle can tow a trailer provided the maximum trailer weight is less than or equal to the maximum trailer weight listed for your vehicle configuration on the following chart:

EngineAxle RatioGCWR (lbs.)DriveMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs.)
2.3L Ecoboost GTDI3.366,9002WD2,000
3.5L TiVCT3.39

2018 Ford Ranger Trailer Tow Package

The trailer towing packages increase your Explorer’s towing capacity. Each allows for heavier hauls and expands the options of what you can take with your SUV. When properly equipped with Class II Trailer Tow Package and Class III Trailer Tow Package for maximum towing capabilities. Towing a trailer places an extra load on your vehicle’s engine, transmission, axle, brakes, tires, and suspension. Inspect these components periodically during, and after, any towing operation.

Class II Trailer Tow Package (towing capability up to 3,000 lbs.):

  • Hitch receiver.
  • 4-Pin Trailer Wiring Harness. (Requires 2.3L EcoBoost I4 engine)
Note: Hitch receivers do not include a hitch ball or ball mounting. You are responsible for obtaining the proper hitch ball, ball mounting, and other appropriate equipment to tow both the trailer and its cargo load.)

Class III Trailer Tow Package (towing capability up to 5,000 lbs.):

  • Hitch receiver.
  • Engine oil cooler.
  • 7-Wire Harness & 4-/7-Pin Connector (Requires 3.5L V6 engines)
Maximum towing capabilities are for properly equipped vehicles with required equipment and vary based on cargo, vehicle configuration, accessories, option content and number of passengers. See label on door jamb for carrying capacity of a specific vehicle. For additional information, see your vehicle owner's manual.

2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity with Trailer tow package

EngineAxle RatioGCWR (lbs.)DriveMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs.)
2.3L Ecoboost GTDI3.36
3.5L TiVCT3.39
3.5L Ecoboost GTDI V63.1610,4004WD5,000
Explorer does not offer factory-installed towing equipment for this application; only available as a dealer accessory. Do not exceed the trailer weight for your vehicle configuration listed in the chart above.
For towing trailers up to 3500 lbs, use a weight-carrying hitch and ball, which uniformly spreads the trailer tongue loads through your vehicle’s underbody structure. For towing trailers over 3500 lbs, up to the maximum trailer weight, we recommend you use a weight-distributing hitch to increase front axle load when towing. Be sure to take into consideration the trailer's frontal area. Do not exceed 20 ft² (1.86 m²) if your vehicle can tow a class I trailer, or 55 ft² (5.11 m²) if your vehicle can tow a class III trailer weighing more than 5,000 lbs.

Frontal Area Considerations

Base Vehicle Frontal Area (20 sq. ft.)Without Class II or Class III Trailer Tow Package
30 sq. ft.With Class II Trailer Tow Package
40 sq. ft.With Class III Trailer Tow Package
The chart above shows the maximum trailer frontal area that must be considered for a vehicle/trailer combination.
Frontal Area is the total area in square feet that a moving vehicle and trailer exposes to air resistance. Exceeding these limitations may significantly reduce the performance of your towing vehicle.
2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity

2018 Ford Explorer trims

For 2018, you can choose from 5 well-equipped models: Explorer, XLT, Limited, Sport, and Platinum. Refined seating for up to seven people is offered in a wide range of durable fabrics and luxurious leather trims. Let’s find out more about all the details of the maximum towing potential of each of the trim levels of the 2018 Explorer lineup below.

2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity

The 2018 Ford Explorer Base trim highlighted features are the 2.3L EcoBoost engine, P255/65R18 all-season BSW tires, AM/FM stereo with 6 speakers, SYNC Voice Recognition Communications & Entertainment System with 4.2″ color LCD screen in the center stack, AppLink, smart-charging USB port, 8-way power driver seat with manual lumbar support, 1st- and 2nd-row carpeted floor mats, 12V powerpoints, SecuriLock Passive Anti-Theft System, power side view heated mirrors with integrated blind spot mirrors and black caps. The maximum towing capacity when equipped properly is between 2,000 to 5,000 pounds.

2018 Ford Explorer XLT towing capacity

The 2018 Ford Explorer XLT offers you a choice of the standard 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 engine or the 2.3L EcoBoost. Six Standard driver-assist technologies include Autolamp Automatic On/Off Headlamps, Hill Start Assist, and voice-activated SYNC with SYNC AppLink. The XLT Desert Copper Package combines an Ebony Black leather-trimmed interior with unique Copper accents, chrome side view mirror caps, and 20″ polished aluminum wheels. Select the Comfort Package for heated front seats with an ActiveX seating material that’s easy to maintain and resistant to many stains. The maximum towing capacity when equipped properly is between 2,000 to 5,000 pounds.

2018 Ford Explorer Limited towing capacity

Whether you choose the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 engine with its 5,000-lbs. towing capacity, or the capable 2.3L EcoBoost, you’re sure to enjoy the ride in Ford Explorer Limited. A convenient driver’s memory feature recalls saved settings for your heated and cooled leather-trimmed seat, power-tilt/-telescoping steering column, and power-folding heated side view mirrors. A front 180-Degree Camera with Split View, heated 2nd-row outboard seats, the PowerFold 3rd-row seat, and a hands-free foot-activated liftgate.

2018 Ford Explorer Sport towing capacity

With its 3.5L EcoBoost engine, paddle shifters, fully independent sport-tuned suspension, Intelligent 4WD with the Terrain Management System, and 5,000 lbs. towing capacity. Quad exhaust tips combine with high-gloss Black exterior accents and more to deliver the signature Sport look. Inside, you’ll enjoy the convenience of a 3rd-row PowerFold seat, plus the unique styling of Ebony Black leather-trimmed seats with standout Red stitching, Carbon Sport appliqués, and illuminated front door-sill scuff plates Sport exhibits its capability.

2018 Ford Explorer Platinum towing capacity

The 2018 Ford Explorer Platinum is all about comfort and style. Front-row, heated and cooled, multi-contour seats with Active Motion offer you lumbar region and upper leg area massage functionality. The all-digital instrument cluster, and adjusting the industry-exclusive 500-watt Audio System from Sony with Clear Phase and Live Acoustics technology. All of the Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology found in the Ford Safe and Smart package is standard on platinum trim. The powerful 3.5L EcoBoost engine, 5,000-lb. towing capacity, and Intelligent 4WD with the Terrain Management System.

2018 Ford Explorer Towing Features

The Ford Explorer is also equipped with Hill Descent Control, which modulates the descent on rough terrain, without the driver needing to apply the brakes. For towing, combined with Curve Control, which reduces the throttle and applies the brakes when you enter a curve too quickly, significantly improves the safety of small trailer towing.

  • Rear-wheel drive: It also improves driving capabilities and towing capacity by 600 pounds compared to previous models.
  • Towing and Trailer Sway Control: It increases control when towing heavy loads by automatically braking and adjusting engine power to ensure trailer control and stability.
  • Tow/Haul: Use whenever towing or hauling, this mode enhances performance when transporting heavy cargo.
  • Intelligent 4WD with Terrain Management System: This allows the driver to adjust the system to accommodate wet, snow-covered, gravel, sand, grass, or other rough road surfaces and conditions, making your vehicle more versatile.
2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity
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The system applies the brakes to the individual wheels and reduces engine torque to aid vehicle stability. If the trailer begins to sway, the stability control warning lamp flashes and a message appears in the data display. Slow your vehicle down, pull safely to the side of the road, and check for the correct load distribution. Turning off trailer sway control increases the risk of loss of vehicle control, serious injury, or death.

Note: This feature does not prevent trailer sway, but reduces it when it begins. This feature cannot stop all trailers from swaying. In some cases, if your vehicle speed is too high, the system may turn on multiple times, gradually reducing your vehicle speed.
2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity

FORD CO-PILOT360™ Technology

  • Advance Trac with RSC (Roll Stability Control): It enhances vehicle stability in a wide range of conditions. By selectively applying individual brakes and modifying engine power, the system helps keep all four wheels firmly planted. In addition, Curve Control helps slow the vehicle down if you’re heading into a curve too quickly.
  • BLIS® with Cross-Traffic Alert: Changing lanes requires your full attention. BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) can help by alerting you to vehicles detected in your blind spots. Cross-Traffic Alert helps by detecting and alerting you to traffic behind your vehicle as you’re slowly backing up.
  • Lane-Keeping System: If you drift out of your lane, it directs you with steering wheel torque to return, and can also alert you through vibration pulses. Lane-Keeping System can help during a moment of distraction.
  • Auto High-Beam Headlamps: They can detect poor lighting and switch them on for you. They can also sense oncoming headlamps and dim automatically for other drivers.
  • Rear View Camera: It helps by providing a great view of what’s behind your vehicle. It also helps when you’re lining up a trailer. A washer helps keep the camera free of debris (like dirt or snow), helping you navigate Reverse clearly and with more confidence.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control: It can also alert you to a potential collision and helps maintain your choice of speed and preset gaps from the vehicle in front of you. If one is detected, the system flashes a warning, sounds an alarm, and can pre-charge the brakes to provide full responsiveness when you do brake.
  • Active Park Assist 2.0: Active Park Assist 2.0 makes it easy to park time after time even in tight parallel or reverse perpendicular spots. Park Out Assist with side-sensing capability can help you confidently navigate out of a spot when someone’s parked too close.
  • Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers: They activate themselves automatically as needed, once you’ve turned the system on.
Reminder: Ford Explorer does not offer factory-installed towing equipment for this application; only available as a dealer accessory. Do not exceed the trailer weight for your vehicle configuration listed in the chart. Maximum weights shown are for properly equipped vehicles with required equipment. Weight of additional options, equipment, passengers and cargo must be deducted from this weight. 

2018 Ford Explorer Trailer Towing guide

  • Towing trailers beyond the maximum recommended GVWR or the GAWR specified could result in engine damage, transmission damage, structural damage, loss of vehicle control, and vehicle rollover.
  • Do not exceed the lowest rating capacity for your vehicle or trailer hitch. Overloading your vehicle or trailer hitch can impair your vehicle’s stability, loss of control, and handling.
  • Modifying the trailer hitch could reduce the hitch rating don’t cut, drill, weld, or modify the trailer hitch.
  • Make sure that the vertical load on the tow ball is between the minimum and maximum recommended weight at all times.
  • Do not tow a trailer fitted with electric trailer brakes unless your vehicle is fitted with a compatible aftermarket electronic trailer brake controller.
  • Place loads as low as possible and central to the axle of your trailer for the best stability of the trailer in an unloaded vehicle.
The stability of your vehicle-to-trailer combination is dependent on the quality of the trailer. For additional information and assistance, we recommend that you contact an authorized Ford dealer. Failure to follow the instruction could result in the loss of control of your vehicle, personal injury, or death. 
2018 Ford Explorer towing capacity

Frequently Asked Questions

How much can a 2018 Ford Explorer tow?

With its impressive towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped with a Class III Trailer Tow Package and available safety features, the 2018 Ford Explorer is the perfect SUV for towing your small recreational vehicle, trailers, speed boat, ATVs, and bicycles.

How much can a 2018 Ford Explorer 3.5L V6 tow?

The 2018 Ford Explorer 3.5L V6 engine produces a maximum power of 365 hp @ 5,500rpm and 350 lb.-ft. @ 3,500rpm torque. When equipped with the Class III Trailer Towing Package, AWD, and a 3.65 axle ratio it can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Can a 2018 Ford Explorer tow a camper?

The 2018 Ford Explorer has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. It can easily tow pop-up trailers, hybrid trailers, teardrop trailers, and some small travel trailers. Besides engine performance and towing capacity, it also has a comfortable cabin to keep all occupants occupied along the drive across town or across the country. 

2018 Ford Explorer Video
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Aaron Bennett is an accomplished author and a true aficionado when it comes to pickup trucks. With an unwavering passion for all things automotive, Aaron has dedicated his life to exploring the world of pickups and sharing his expertise with others. As the proud owner of several powerful machines, he has spent countless hours behind the wheel, navigating rugged terrains and conquering highways with unrivaled enthusiasm.

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