Greene Ford Compares 2013 Ford Explorer VS 2013 Lexus RX Near Flowery Branch, GA

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2013 Ford Explorer

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2013 Lexus RX

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer XLT/Limited 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 RX Series doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Explorer Limited/Sport offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The system also pre-charges the brakes to begin deceleration more quickly. The RX Series doesn't offer a collision warning system.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The RX Series doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Explorer Limited’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The RX Series doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The RX Series doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Explorer’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The RX Series doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Explorer and the RX Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all-wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Lexus RX Series:


RX Series



4 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

351 lbs.

466 lbs.

Neck Compression

8 lbs.

49 lbs.



4 Stars

4 Stars




Chest Compression

.5 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

192 lbs.

239 lbs.

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

140 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Lexus RX Series:


RX Series

Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

135 G’s

174 G’s

Hip Force

295 lbs.

331 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

4 Stars

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

41 G’s

Hip Force

524 lbs.

1003 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

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.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer has more powerful engines than the RX Series:



Explorer 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

270 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.5 DOHC V6

290 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Sport 3.5 turbo V6

350 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

RX 350 3.5 DOHC V6

270 HP

248 lbs.-ft.

RX 450h 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid

295 HP

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the Explorer’s engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the RX Series:


Explorer 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

1750 RPM

Explorer 3.5 DOHC V6

4000 RPM

Explorer Sport 3.5 turbo V6

1500 RPM

RX 350 3.5 DOHC V6

4700 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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 RX Series doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Explorer’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the RX Series are solid, not vented.

The Explorer stops much shorter than the RX Series:


RX Series

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

145 feet

155 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the RX Series (245/65R17 vs. 235/60R18). The Explorer’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RX Series (255/50R20 vs. 235/60R18).

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 RX Series’ optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer offers optional 20-inch wheels. The RX Series’ largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the RX Series (112.6 inches vs. 107.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than on the RX Series.

The Explorer Limited 4WD handles at .77 G’s, while the RX 350 AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Explorer Limited 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the RX 450h AWD (27.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Explorer has a greater minimum ground clearance than the RX 450h (7.6 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Explorer’s minimum ground clearance is .3 inch higher than on the RX 350 (7.6 vs. 7.3 inches).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Explorer Limited 4WD is quieter than the RX 350 AWD:


RX Series

At idle

35 dB

42 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the RX Series can only carry 5.

The Explorer has 50.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RX Series (151.7 vs. 100.9).

The Explorer has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, 3.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.8 inches more rear headroom, 3 inches more rear legroom, 2.2 inches more rear hip room and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the RX Series.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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


RX Series

Third Seat Folded

43.8 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


40 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

80.7 cubic feet

80.3 cubic feet

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


RX Series

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






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’s exterior keypad. The RX Series 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 RX Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Optional SYNC for the Explorer (not available Base) allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including playing internet radio stations and other online activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The RX Series doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The Explorer Limited’s optional 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 RX Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Explorer owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Explorer will cost $61 to $669 less than the RX Series over a five-year period.

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