The Ford Explorer, about the identical size as a Honda Pilot or Chevy Traverse, has made a sleek transition to from a rear-wheel-drive to a entrance-wheel-drive household hauler (with all-wheel drive obtainable). Although not as rugged because it was, it’s a mid-size crossover SUV that may tow 5000 kilos and carry seven individuals, and has an enormous eighty one cubic ft of cargo area with the seats folded flat.
The present era started with mannequin yr 2011, with its transition from conventional SUV to car-based mostly crossover, and was final revised for 2016. Mechanically, it’s lengthy within the tooth, however there isn’t a query the styling holds up; if something the Explorer appears classier than these crossovers chasing edges.
Base engine is a three.5-liter V6 utilized in different Fords, from Flex to Fusion. It makes 290 horsepower and 255 pound-ft of torque, and may speed up the Explorer to 60 miles per hour in about eight.5 seconds, utilizing the standard 6-velocity automated transmission.
Entrance-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is accessible.
The favored EcoBoost 4-cylinder 2.three-liter turbo is on the market on some fashions, standard on Explorer Restricted AWD. It’s the identical engine that’s within the Mustang and Lincoln MKC. It makes 280 horsepower and 310 pound-ft of torque, and is method higher than the V6, beginning with its exhaust observe.
Providing excessive efficiency is the dual-turbocharged three.5-liter V6 making 365 horsepower and 350 pound-ft of torque; it comes with Explorer Platinum and Explorer Sport AWD fashions. In the event that they made an Explorer SHO it might have this engine. The Explorer Sport with this twin-turbo V6 will get 20-inch wheels, greater brakes and a stiffer chassis. It will possibly’t run with a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, however delivers respectable acceleration efficiency.
The dual-turbo V6 will get an EPA-rated 18 mpg Mixed metropolis and freeway, simply two miles per gallon lower than the bottom V6, at 20 mpg Mixed. The EcoBoost turbo 4-cylinder charges 22 mpg, however many EcoBoost house owners report that their mileage doesn’t obtain the EPA score.
The Explorer earns 5 stars in its NHTSA crash score in each class besides rollover, however SUVs by no means ace that one. With the IIHS, the Explorer obtained prime scores within the average-entrance overlap, aspect influence and roof power exams, however solely Marginal within the small-overlap crash test, which comparatively few ace.
The Ford Explorer ($31,990) comes standard with the three.5-liter V6 engine, entrance-wheel drive, material upholstery, air con.
All-wheel drive is accessible for all fashions. Entrance-wheel drive is standard.
Explorer XLT ($34,020) and XLT AWD ($36,one hundred seventy) improve with 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition, satellite tv for pc radio, navigation, and 10-method energy driver’s seat.
Explorer Restricted ($forty two,090) features leather-based seating, 20-inch wheels, heated steering wheel, interior ambient lighting, heated and cooled entrance seats, heated second row, energy folding third row, 12-speaker Sony sound system. Restricted AWD fashions include the two.three-liter turbo engine.
Explorer Sport ($forty five,950) and Platinum ($fifty three,940) get the three.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and all-wheel drive.
There’s a Sport Look Package deal for decrease trims, rendering a extra aggressive look with 20-inch wheels, a grey grille insert and black cladding, black roof rack, and grey leather-based seating with grey suede accents and distinction stitching. (Costs are MSRP and don’t embrace vacation spot cost.)
For being within the eighth yr of its era, the graceful styling holds up. It was revised for 2016, so it’s not so previous, extra like distinguished. Distinguished by being stylish and delicate, displaying restraint at a time when others are going all overboard on edgy and futuristic.
The roofline window-line, from the shoulders up, has timeless magnificence. It’s probably the most sleek pillar/roofline within the recreation. With tinted rear glass and the small roof spoiler, it flows like a hawk.
There’s steady cladding from the entrance to rear bumpers, over the wheelwells and beneath the doorways, nevertheless it’s not intrusive.
On a wheelbase of 113 inches, the Explorer is sixteen and a half ft lengthy, and weighs 4900 kilos absolutely loaded.
Ford needs the Explorer cabin to be up there with Audi and BMW, they usually say they may keep on it till it’s. It’s a minimum of as good-looking because the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, whereas being a bit extra modern, as revised for 2016.
But when it’s going to be tops, the infotainment have to be tops, and Ford’s Sync three isn’t. It’s means higher than the earlier painful MyFord Contact, however we want Sync three have been easier. It isn’t a greater various to Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
There are plenty of management knobs and buttons on the sprint, intelligently put there for 2016.
With tight door seals, engine mounts that take up vibration, and acoustic glass throughout (apart from the Base), it’s tender and quiet within the cabin. Ahead visibility is sweet because of a excessive seating place, though there are over-the-shoulder blind spots because of these rear pillars. Magnificence has a price.
The entrance seats (heated on most fashions) are supportive and cozy, with smooth cushions, the correct quantity of bolstering, and excessive gentle armrests. The rear seats present loads of legroom however want extra padding; the horizontal cushion is brief and slanted awkwardly, and there’s not sufficient width within the middle for an grownup.
Rear bucket seats can be found, that are extra snug and open the entry to the obtainable third row. That reduces the seating capability to 6, however it’s a extra handy use that works for a lot of. The twin-panel moonroof actually opens issues up.
The third row like so many is cramped for adults, however okay for teenagers, who (for those who don’t have the rear buckets) climb again there over the ahead-flipped second row.
The third row folds ahead, with obtainable energy, to create an enormous eighty one cubic ft for cargo with a flooring that’s almost flat. There’s nonetheless 21 cubic ft even with all rows up.
It’s straightforward to seek out the bounds of the bottom V6. It’s fast sufficient round city, however on a winding street beneath acceleration between the curves, there’s not sufficient torque at decrease rpm, demanding fixed downshifting of the transmission to seek out it, and the shifts are sluggish until you’re in Sport mode, which most fashions have. That mode brings faster shifts and throttle response. Paddle shifters aren’t obtainable in any respect.
The two.three-liter 4-cylinder turbo has sharper acceleration with good low finish, so it spurts away from corners. It loves Sport mode. It has a candy sound: throaty, with amplified engine notes piped into the cabin. For those who’re in the least captivated with driving, you want this engine.
The suspension makes use of MacPherson struts in entrance with an remoted subframe, and multi hyperlinks within the rear, with anti-roll bars at each ends. The Sport will get a faster steering rack, firmer suspension bits, and a strut tower brace with stiffer anti-roll bar in entrance.
The Explorer’s off-street functionality is modest. Rugged terrain isn’t its forte. However it’ll get you and 6 associates or household via the snow to a ski resort, and again down off the icy mountain safely, an achievement perhaps not so modest. The system has Regular, Mud, Sand, and Snow modes, and electronically varies the throttle and braking to ship the best traction.
There are lots of robust rivals within the class, and Explorer has aged, however it stays a strong selection. Sleek, brawny exterior, sports activities suspension with the best bits. Can seat six, fortunately. Huge cargo area. Six-velocity automated, Sync three infotainment are the weak spots.
Sam Moses contributed to this review, with employees reports.