Pros: The 2016 Ford Explorer has nicely evolved since getting a refresh in 2011. It's rugged yet sophisticated at the same time, with a good selection of engines and generous comfort. The interior can sit up to seven people and haul plenty of cargo. What's more, the Explorer has maintained a reasonable price over the years.
Cons: On the road, the Explorer feels bigger and heavier than it actually is. Also, the much-maligned MyFord Touch interface continues to frustrate drivers.
Price and Fuel Economy: Buyers have plenty of selection when it comes to choosing the right Explorer for their needs. There are five main trim levels including base, XLT, Limited, Sport, and Platinum, with prices ranging from $32,999 to $58,599.
As for fuel consumption, the ratings are as follows:
- 3.5L Ti-VCT FWD: 13.9 city/9.6 hwy/12.0 combined L/100km
- 3.5L Ti-VCT 4WD: 14.4 city/10.4 hwy/12.6 combined L/100km
- 2.3L EcoBoost FWD: 12.6 city/8.5 hwy/10.8 combined L/100km
- 2.3L EcoBoost 4WD: 13.1 city/9.1 hwy/11.3 combined L/100km
- 3.5L EcoBoost 4WD: 14.9 city/10.7 hwy/13.0 combined L/100km
Improvements and Changes: The liftgate, taillights, front fascia, and exhaust tips are all new. Designers also tweaked the hood, headlamps, grille, fenders, and fog lamps. Customers have a choice of five all-new wheel designs and five new colours.
Subtle interior updates, new safety features, improved suspension tuning, and a new top-of-the-line trim level (Platinum) further highlight the Explorer range for 2016. Don’t forget the new engine option, namely a 2.3L 4-cylinder EcoBoost (same as the new Mustang) that replaces the old, underpowered 2.0L EcoBoost. Unlike the latter, this one can be paired with all-wheel drive.
Powertrain: The naturally aspirated 3.5L DOHC V6 produces 290 horsepower through a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. Its turbocharged EcoBoost variant generates 365 horsepower, and offers paddle shifters on the steering wheel. As for the new 2.3L 4-cylinder EcoBoost, it develops 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque – both substantial increases over the previous 2.0L mill.
Included on vehicles equipped with available Intelligent 4WD is a Terrain Management System that maximizes performance and driver confidence through four different modes: Normal, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Grass/Gravel/Snow.
Cargo Capacity: The cargo area in the Explorer is 595 litres in size. If you fold the third-row seats, capacity increases to 1,115 litres. Do the same with the second row, and you get a total of 2,314 litres.
Safety: Standard features include stability and traction control, disc brakes with ABS, brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, as well as hill-start assist and hill descent control. Enhanced active park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and trailer sway control are available, too.
Direct Competitors: Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Hyundai Santa Fe XL, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander/4Runner.