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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Five stars overall; five stars frontal impact; five stars side impact
'Good,' frontal, side, and rear (seat) impact; 'good,' roof strength; 'marginal,' small overlap frontal
Sightlines are pretty good out front but there is a large blind spot at the C-pillar.
...Depending on the option package, you can order adaptive cruise control and a blind-spot warning system.
The Ford Explorer is absolutely one of the safest vehicles on the road today.
Every Explorer comes with great outward visibility, thanks to a high seating position, except to the rear quarters where thick C-pillars create a rather large blind spot. Bluetooth hands-free connectivity is standard, as is a rearview camera. And MyKey lets parents set volume and speed controls for kids who may borrow the Explorer.
The 2015 Ford Explorer has a special "curve control" feature for its stability control, which adapts throttle and brake to upcoming corners; trailer-sway control also helps make maximum use for its 5,000-pound towing capacity. Optional inflatable rear-seat belts, which come bundled with blind-spot monitors.
With a stout body structure plus a slew of safety technologies, the 2015 Explorer makes a serious appeal to those who want the best occupant protection, along with some potentially useful accident-avoidance tools.
The Explorer has earned top scores in both of the major crash-test programs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick, including a "good" score on the roof-crush test--but it earns only a "marginal" rating in the new small-overlap frontal test. It's earned five stars overall in the federal tests--with five-star scores in all the subcategories except for the mathematically determined rollover score.
The Explorer's safety ratings take a hit with the IIHS' new small-overlap crash test.