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FEATURES | 10 out of 10
One thing that mystified me was the MyFordTouch system...I thought it was an overly complicated ergonomic setback...
New York Times
Inside the Limited package...you'll be treated to Ford's best electronics, including MyTouch, Sync and a new Sony premium audio system with a piano-black touch-pad interface so sleek it would make an iPhone blush.
Drivers who possess a USB mobile broadband card for their laptops can plug it in to the car's media hub, enabling Internet access akin to that at a Starbucks.
Los Angeles Times
The V-6 has a 5000-pound towing capacity, and Ford engineers also integrated a trailer sway control system and a rearview camera with a zoom feature, a fabulous idea.
On uplevel models with the Sony stereo system like the Limited seen in our photos, all of the HVAC functions are operated via capacitive touch switches that look sleek but can be hard to locate by feel.
The 2015 Ford Explorer blows most of its competitors out of the water in terms of available technology. In some cases, it offers even more than you can find in some luxury vehicles–leaving it to compete almost exclusively with Jeep Grand Cherokee in terms of convenience features in a relatively affordable family vehicle.
One feature that you'll need to come to terms with if you're considering the Explorer is MyFord Touch--a complex and controversial system in any Ford. The idea is to trade buttons and switches for LCD touchscreens, voice commands, and steering-wheel controls, so that drivers can run functions like audio or navigation more safely. Not only does it take time getting used to, the benefits of the system don't emerge after short stints at the wheel. The good news is that it's not mandatory; it remains an option on lower-trim Explorers--and if you merely want Bluetooth connectivity, that's well-integrated on those affordable models.
Other Explorer options include a power sunroof; a heated steering wheel; automatic headlamps; navigation system; premium audio; 20-inch wheels; ventilated seats; active park assist; and a power third-row seat. Inflatable rear seat belts now come in a package with blind-spot monitors.
Each Explorer comes with all the standard features you'd expect to find in a $30,000. It has power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control; steering-wheel audio controls; a tilt/telescoping steering wheel; and an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary jack. The Explorer XLT adds on 18-inch wheels; satellite radio; a sport-shift mode for the automatic transmission; and reverse parking sensors.
The Explorer Limited runs around $40k but gains leather seating; pushbutton start; ambient lighting; a Sony sound system; a media hub with twin USB ports (one for 3G or 4G dongles that turn the Explorer into a mobile WiFi station), an SD card slot and RCA jacks; power-adjustable pedals; SYNC and MyFord Touch; and a rearview camera.
The Ford Explorer Sport offers a turbo V-6 drivetrain, with standard all-wheel drive and Terrain Management. Along with its own wheels and styling filigrees--the "Explorer" name across the nose and 20-inch wheels--the Sport adds standard SYNC, MyFord Touch, and a media hub with dual USB ports, an SD card slot and a set of RCA jacks. Safety equipment includes a standard rearview camera and options for blind-spot monitors, active park assist, and a set of inflatable rear seat belts.
As for luxury touches, the Explorer Sport has power front heated seats; automatic climate control; and a Sony audio system with HD radio and 12 speakers. Options include a navigation system; a DVD entertainment system; remote start; rear heated seats; a dual-pane sunroof; a power tailgate; a tow package; active park assist; blind-spot monitors; inflatable rear seat belts; and adjustable pedals.
Some of the Sport's feature set is being expanded to Limited models. Second-row heated seats and adaptive cruise control are newly available on the Limited, and automatic headlamps have been made standard.
Luxurious or just nicely equipped, the latest Explorer has a wide range of features; MyFord Touch is less vexing than in the past.