Ford buys some time with lightly-updated 2018 Explorer

They changes should keep the aging SUV relevant for another year

The fifth-generation Explorer has been around since 2010, with Ford applying a comprehensive facelift for the 2016 model year.

But time is ticking for the large SUV, and the automaker has decided to give it some modest updates for the 2018 model year to keep it relevant until an all-new Explorer arrives.

So what's new, you ask? The 2018 Explorer brings slightly updated front and rear ends, more technology, and new safety features. Spotting the styling changes is not easy, but they consists of a new grille and fog lamps, slightly restyled front and rear bumpers, and quad pipes for 3.5L EcoBoost models.

Customers can personalize their 2018 Explorer with four new exterior color choices (Burgundy Velvet Tinted Clearcoat, Cinnamon Glaze, Platinum Dune Tricoat, and Blue Metallic) and five new wheel designs.

On the tech front, the Explorer brings an available 4G embedded modem that includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and supports as many as ten devices simultaneously. The SUV also features SYNC Connect, which allows owners to connect with the vehicle remotely using FordPass to start, lock, unlock, and locate the car.

For 2018, the Explorer also offers a newly available Safe and Smart Package that bundles driver-assist features such as Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, Blind Spot Information System, Cross-traffic alert, Lane-keeping system, and Auto high beams.

As before, buyers can opt for five different Explorer models featuring three engine choices, including a 280 hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, a 290 hp 3.5L Ti-VCT V6, and a 365 hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 (on Explorer Sport and Platinum models).

The 2018 Ford Explorer arrives at dealerships this fall.