What’s The Difference Between The Ford Explorer XLT And The Limited?


The Ford Explorer, since 1991 model, has produced high-quality SUV models that have been able to pose competition to other SUVs.

The Ford Explorer XLT and Ford Explorer Limited are some of the midsize SUV models produced by Ford. 

Ford Explorer XLT trim is a step higher from the base model, followed by the Limited trim.

Based on statistics, these trims are the ones that seem to have attracted many consumers. 

Therefore, it is important to provide a comparison between these two Ford SUV models based on their performance, consumption, price, etc.

What’s The Difference Between The Ford Explorer XLT And The Limited?

Of the two, Ford Explorer Limited is more spacious, has a higher trim level, and is more powerful, able to tow about 4,000-5,000 pounds. However, note that the towing capacity varies based on cargo, the configuration of the vehicle, the number of passengers, and the accessories. 

These two trims, regardless of their belonging to the Explorer series, have some evident differences. 

The key features in the Ford Explorer Base are carried on to the following models, but trims that are released later tend to have more advanced and better options to suit the consumer’s increased needs.

With that shallow comparison, it is crucial to focus on the differences between these two trims to give the customer a broad scope of features to consider when choosing between them. 

This is because the Ford Explorer is credible and brings something distinctive to the table with each trim that the previous one possesses.

Let’s look at more features of Ford Explorer and Limited and how they compare.

How Does the Engine and Power of The Ford Explorer XLT Compare To The Ford Explorer Limited?

Both trims have a 2.3L EcoBoost 1-4 turbo engine, which is standard in both. 

This engine is used to power compact mid and full-size cars, pick-up trucks as well as SUVs.

In addition, this engine provides buyers a flawless fuel economy. 

This is because of the Ti-VCT technology that is used in the engine.

The Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing) technology refers to the engine with the ability to advance or retard the intake camshafts independently as opposed to the original versions VCT, which can only operate on only a single camshaft.

It produces 300 horsepower and 310 ft.-Ib. of torque. 

However, the Ford Explorer Limited also has a different option with a 3.3L V6 hybrid motor which is the only hybrid powerplant in the class. 

As a result, it has the capability of producing 318hp and 322 ft.-Ib. of torque.

What Amenities Do The Ford Explorer XLT and The Limited Offer?

The Ford Explorer Limited has leather-trimmed seats that are accent stitched and with tiny perforations with great ventilations. 

These seats are great as they improve the car’s interior look, making it look luxurious, reduce slippage, help reduce excessive sweats, etc. 

Ford mainly uses the Hampton Perforation or the Euro Perforation, both of which are very high quality. 

These seats help in heat retention and make temperature control very easy.

The XLT trim comes with manual single-zone climate control, while the Limited trim comes with an automatic dual-zone electronic temperature control. 

This means that the Limited trim can quickly and independently maintain various preferred temperatures. 

Typically, this means that one can select a comfortable temperature within the car. 

Unfortunately, the climate control works in the front row seats only.

The Ford Explorer XLT uses standard cloth upholstery. 

However, this can be substituted with Active X material which is easier to clean and resists staining. 

In addition, this material is relatively long-lasting compared to leather and still maintains a superb appearance and feel.

The Limited trim, unlike the XLT, comes with Rear Bumper Step Pad covered with a black finish. 

These, when standing on the bumper, provide traction and function as a stylish border.

What Gadgets Are In The Ford Explorer and Ford Explorer Limited?

Both trims have superb up-to-date technology features, which are unique in most three-row SUVs. 

However, the Limited, a step higher than XLT trim, offers more technologically advanced features.

Limited, for example, comes with a touchscreen and the SYNC infotainment system with voice assistance. 

For the sake of mobile services, the infotainment system is equipped with the FordPass Connect app. 

However, the XLT trim lacks this feature.

The XLT trim features a SiriusXM Satellite Radio plus a six-speaker sound system meant for entertainment purposes. 

On the other hand, the Limited trim has a B&O 12-speaker sound system by Bang & Olufsen.

The Limited trim features include the smart-charging USB ports, wireless charging ports, and 12-volt power outlets.

The USB ports are essential, especially when one needs to charge their devices. 

However, you can also use USB ports to play music whenever Bluetooth in the car is not functioning. 

The car USB charger converts the 12-volt output to 5 volts, the standard volt output required for a USB supply.

How Many Passengers Can The Explorer Limited And XLT Carry?

The XLT trim has a passenger capacity of 7 people, while the Limited trim has a capacity of 6 passengers. 

This is because the seats on the second row are adjusted to the captain’s chairs. 

This means the seats provide the passengers with ample space on the seats, armrests, and enough comfort.

How Do The Safety Features Of The Ford Explorer XLT Compare To The Ford Explorer Limited?

The Explorer XLT comes with several standard safety features.

They include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot alert, lane departure warning and mitigation, emergency braking, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic headlights, and an automatic braking system.

The Limited trim maintains the features but goes a step higher to add the front parking sensors, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and an automated system that aids the driver with evasive maneuvers to prevent accidents from occurring.

What Other Features Are In The Ford Explorer XLT The Limited?

Although we have seen the many differences between these Ford Explorer trims, that’s not all.

They have a wide range of similarities. 

These are similarities that are worth checking before deciding which trim to buy over the other. 

These features are many since the Ford Explorer Limited is an improved version of XLT, which has some of the features from the XLT and Base retained. 

Some of these similarities include:

  • In both trims, the Tri-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control is provided. This means that the driver, the passenger in the front seat, and the rear passengers adjust temperature and air distribution in the car to meet their needs.
  • They both have automatic headlights. Automatic headlights are luxurious features that come with the car model. These use photoelectric sensors, which are fixed in the instrument panel at the base of the windscreen. These lights can come at times when the driver may not necessarily require them or at times delay. Therefore, the driver is required to use the manual system whenever this problem arises.
  • Both the Limited trim and the XLT trims run on a 10- speed automatic transmission, which is fitted with Select-Shift technology. The quick-shifting gearbox is very important in transmitting adequate torque to the optimal 4WD system. In addition, the safety and comfort of the trim are improved as the need to constantly use the car’s clutch before and after a gear shift is eliminated.
  • Both feature a 50/50 configuration and a split-fold bench seat located in the rear row, the third row. However, the Limited trim has an option of adjusting the third-row seats with PowerFold technology.
  • The rack situated on top, rails on the sides, and power liftgate are available for both the Limited and the XLT trims.
  • Both the Limited and XLT trims possess a 12.3-inch digital screen display in which all the driving settings are available for the driver to use when the need arises.
  • Both the Limited and the XLT trims can be equipped with Hill Descent Control which enhances vehicle’s stability, especially in sloped areas. You also need to be aware that there are approximately seven settings that you can select from the Selectable Drive Modes. These help in the optimization of transmission, engine mechanics, and drivetrain mechanics. These different types of modes help with maximizing off-road traction.
  • Also, both Limited and XLT have a 4G LTE Wi-Fi modem that can connect to 10 gadgets. The AT&T-powered modem has a maximum connection range of about 45-50 feet.

Closing Thoughts

For those interested in the purchase of Ford Explorer, the information above, I believe, will help you in choosing between the Ford Explorer XLT and the Ford Explorer Limited. 

Both Explore trims have unique characteristics, although the Limited trim has more advanced features.

These features are designed to give consumers a unique feel when driving an SUV. 

However, the Ford Explorer Limited’s advanced qualities make it more expensive than the Ford Explorer XLT.

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

Recent Posts