The Explorer has been a Ford mainstay for more than two decades, and this year, it’s getting a refresh midway through its first stint as a family-oriented crossover vehicle.
The first thing you’ll notice about the refreshed Explorer is the updated front end. Ford says rugged is the word that inspired designers. We say it has a more finely detailed look than before. The Explorer gets LED headlights with some F-150 feel, and a more intricate mesh grille. At the rear, the pillars have been reshaped and the exhaust tips have been integrated for a cleaner look.
Inside there haven’t been as many changes, but what has changed is important. Ford’s ditched some of the Explorer's touch-sensitive controls and has replaced them with more real buttons—you know, how it was before, when it wasn’t broken. The armrests have been raised and made softer, and there’s more refined detailing.
A new Platinum model takes things to a new level for Ford with quilted leather, a leather-wrapped dashboard, real brushed aluminum and ash wood trim, and a 10-inch digital display in the gauge cluster.
Under the hood of the Explorer you’ll one of three engines: a 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 290 horsepower, an EcoBoost twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 365 horsepower, or new for this year, a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine rated at 270 horsepower. No matter which engine you choose power is sent through a six speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on the base 3.5-liter V-6 and 2.3-liter EcoBoost while all-wheel drive is standard with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost and is available with the other two engines.
The Explorer isn’t just one of the safest vehicles Ford builds, it’s one of the safest vehicles on the road, and that’s not about to change. Innovations such as inflatable rear seatbelt and an array of active safety features keep passengers safe and sound.
The Explorer will be available in five trim levels: the base model, XLT, Limited, Sport, and Platinum. Pricing will be set next summer when the 2016 Explorer goes on sale.
For more information be sure to read our full preview of the 2016 Ford Explorer here.