For 2007, the Ford Explorer receives a number of new features, the most noticeable being new Safety Canopy curtain airbags that are standard on all models; the bags were a $695 option in 2006.

Other changes include redesigned interior door pull handles; standard audio input jack on all radios; an available rear-seat DVD system with larger eight-inch screen; available heated windshield on all series; and power running boards, chrome-clad 18-inch aluminum wheels and a navigation system available on Eddie Bauer and Limited models. An all-new reverse sensing system is available on XLT models, and standard on Eddie Bauer and Limited models. SIRIUS satellite radio becomes standard on all models (late availability), and there are two new exterior colours, Alloy Metallic and White Sand Tri-Coat Metallic.

The Explorer is available with two engines, a 4.0-litre V6 with five-speed automatic, and 4.6-litre V8 with six-speed automatic; all models are four-wheel drive. The V6 is standard in the XLT and optional in the Eddie Bauer, and standard in the Limited. Seating is five- or seven-passenger, and the second row is available in a non-reclining 60/40 bench, reclining 60/40 split seat that allows access to the third row, or bucket seats with a centre console. The third row can be optioned with Powerfold, so they fold flat at the touch of a button.

Features on the XLT include 17-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, air conditioning, heated mirrors, trailer package, roof rack, cruise control, power windows, keyless entry, auto-dimming rearview mirror, six-way power driver’s seat, cloth seats, leather-wrapped wheel, CD/MP3 player with four speakers, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, variable intermittent speed-sensitive front wipers, fixed-interval rear wiper, deep-tinted windows, and low tire pressure warning system.

The Eddie Bauer edition, named for the clothing and outfitting store, adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, running boards, two-tone paint, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals with memory, garage door opener, eight-way power driver and six-way power passenger seats with power lumbar support, heated leather seats, and six-CD/MP3 stereo with seven speakers.

The Limited comes standard with seven-passenger seating, and adds chrome mirrors, rear-seat HVAC with auxiliary rear heater, power sunroof, Audiophile six-CD/MP3 stereo, and reverse sensing system.

It’s hard to imagine a big SUV being a company’s bread-and-butter vehicle, but Ford says the Explorer has been the world’s best-selling SUV for the better part of two decades. It comes with a comfortable interior, a stiff frame for a smooth ride but with towing and off-road capability, and the option of five- or seven-passenger seating. It’s nice to see that Ford listened to critics and improved the door pull handles, which were beautifully designed but far too awkward in use.

The Explorer also forms the basis of the Sport Trac, which was temporarily discontinued in 2006 when the Explorer was completely redesigned; it rejoins the Ford line-up with an all-new model based on this current-generation Explorer.

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