The Explorer has also been involved in controversy, after a spate of fatal rollover accidents involving Explorers fitted with Firestone tires.
Both two-door Explorer Sport and four-door models of Explorer have been sold. Part-time four-wheel drive is an available option, and since 1995 this has been a 'shift on the fly' system with full protection against being engaged at high speed.
A specially modified Special Service Vehicle version is also available from Ford Fleet for law enforcement.
Explorer was also the name of a trim package offered on the Ford F-Series trucks from 1968 to 1986.
The Ford Explorer Sport was a 2-door version of the Ford Explorer, designed to take the place of the Bronco II in Ford's model line, and was produced from 1991 to 2003. The Sport began as a trim level of the Ford Explorer, but it eventually became its own model. It rode on a 10" shorter wheelbase. There was only one Sport, but there were several other trim levels of the Explorer that were available with 2 doors(edmunds trim levels), such as the XL (1991-1997), the Eddie Bauer (1991-1994), and the Expedition (1995). In 1998 the Explorer Sport became the only 2-door trim level of the Explorer, and in 2001 it became its own model, as the second generation Explorer moved on to a 4-door-only 3rd generation.
The Ford Explorer was released in March 1990 as a 1991 model. It was equipped with a 4.0L 155hp (116kW) V6 engine and 4-speed A4LD automatic transmission or 5-speed M5OD manual transmission. Like the Ford Bronco II it replaced, it was an SUV derivative of the Ford Ranger Pickup, but larger. Following the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer, it came in both 2-door and 4-door bodystyles. It was available with rear or four-wheel drive. The four-wheel drive versions came with a Borg Warner 13-54 part-time four wheel drive transfer case. The 13-54 was available with "Touch Drive" electronic push button shifting as well as manual, lever operated shifting. Both designs were "shift-on-the-fly" designs that allowed the truck to be shifted from two wheel drive to 'four-high' at any speed. All Explorers came with the 8.8" Ford rear axle in either a limited slip or open version with a variety of available gear ratios. Explorers came in 4 trim levels: base XL, XLT, Sport (only available on the two-door version), and the upscale Eddie Bauer Edition. 15hp (11kW) was added for 1993 for a total of 170hp (119kW). The Limited edition, added for 1993, was available only in the 4-door style and was even more upscale than the Eddie Bauer version. It featured automatic headlights, foglamps, an automatic transmission as standard equipment, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, a center roof console with compass and outside thermometer, special wheels, and a special grille.