Los Angeles, CA – Since 1990, Ford Explorer has been a mainstay of American (and Canadian) motoring. It was one of the first vehicles to spark the SUV craze in the ‘90s and still does Ford quite proud today.
But, in the last generation, Explorer did lose its way a tad.
That’s the problem with formulas that work. Once you start tinkering with them, they no longer produce the desired results, and that was the case with the current Explorer that debuted in the 2011 model year.
Going into the 2016 model year, the SUV celebrates its 25th anniversary and looks to right its passed wrongs and deliver more luxury and efficiency. The formula has been rectified.
2016 Ford Explorer, dashboard. Click image to enlarge
Starting with the design, Ford has straightened out much of the Explorer’s look for the better. Gone are the almost triangular headlights and awkward grille in favour of a simpler affair that’s much more handsome and will age better with time. Those new headlights feature stylish LED lights that border the outside of the housing, giving the Explorer an imposing look.
Also up front, the fog lights find homes in areas meant to make them a design element rather than just a pod housed in the lower bumper. It gives the Explorer a much more thought-out look that’s sure to please returning and conquest customers alike.
2016 Ford Explorer, shifter, seat detail. Click image to enlarge
But the big changes have to do with the Explorer’s new top-level trim – named Platinum – that’ll compete with the Dodge Durango Citadel and GMC Acadia Denali. Those two vehicles have been playing at a price point underserved by Explorer. But, Ford will offer the new Platinum ‘box-checker’ package with 20-inch wheels, a dual panel sunroof, silver painted front and rear skid plates, satin chrome lower cladding and mirror caps, and all the amenities one would expect in a luxury trim SUV, such as adaptive cruise control, 500-watt Sony audio, leather galore, new metal finishes, and a fully digital instrument cluster. The same 3.5L EcoBoost V6 as the Explorer Sport will power the new Platinum trim as standard.
Under the hood of other models – namely the base, XLT, and Limited – will be a selection of engines beginning with the tried, tested, and true 3.5L naturally aspirated V6. It’s when you start looking for a small boosted four-cylinder that things change.