2015 Ford Explorer

Remember when Ford launched the totally new Explorer in late 2010, and people were skeptical about how the now-crossover would fare, after ditching its traditional SUV roots? Well, we're several years in, and I think we can assuredly say that Ford made the right decision. Sales are better than ever (in fact, May was the current Explorer's best month yet), and the crossover is finding its way into the hands of a whole host of new Ford buyers.

A wholly refreshed Explorer is still forthcoming, but to keep its strong-selling crossover fresh, Ford is offering a host of improvements for the 2015 model year, including the attractive appearance package available on the XLT trim level, pictured above. Outside, the pack gets you goodies like 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, black bodyside cladding and roof rack rails. Contrasting Magnetic Metallic accents are found on the grille, mirror caps and liftgate appliqué, and there's an "Explorer" hood badge and body-colored door handles. Inside, there are new Miko suede inserts in the seats, and the package includes the automaker's Sync connectivity with MyFord Touch infotainment.

Elsewhere in the Explorer range, the Class III trailer tow pack is now standard on the Sport, base models get new 18-inch aluminum wheels, and there are three new colors on offer: Bronze Fire Metallic and Magnetic Metallic.

2015 Explorer pricing starts at $30,600 for the base model, going as high as $42,670 for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6-equipped Sport. The appearance package adds $1,195 to the price of the $32,900 XLT, assuming you've also chosen the $2,500 Equipment Group 202A. All MSRPs listed do not include $895 for destination.

Have a look below for the full details in Ford's press blast.
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FORD EXPLORER UPDATED FOR 2015 WITH NEW COLORS, FEATURES AND A SPORTY NEW LOOK IDEAL FOR SUMMER

– Ford Explorer sales break the 20,000-vehicle mark last month for the first time since July 2005; 20,346 vehicles sold makes May the best month ever for the current-generation utility

– 2015 Ford Explorer XLT is available later this month with a new appearance package that adds a sportier look and more comfort and technology features at an outstanding value

– New package includes grille and mirror caps painted Magnetic Metallic, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, and leather-trimmed and heated front seats with genuine Miko® suede inserts

Ford Explorer brings new options to utility vehicle customers for 2015, including a sport-inspired appearance package that raises the bar on comfort and technology without breaking the bank, as well as new colors and features.

"Customers asked for more and this is our answer," said Matt Zuehlk, Ford Explorer brand manager. "We know consumers love the look of Explorer Sport; with this package, you get that for Explorer XLT. It looks bold and rugged, and offers impressive technology at a surprising value."

Available later this month, the new option brings even greater variety, as customer demand for utility vehicles increases. Explorer sales topped 20,000 in May for the first time since July 2005, with 20,346 vehicles sold. This is a 21 percent increase compared to May 2013.

Based on Ford analysis of Polk new vehicle retail registration data from IHS Automotive, Ford is gaining share in the millennial demographic, defined as buyers ages 18-34. According to the analysis, as vehicle registrations within this demographic have increased 33 percent since 2009, Ford's share has increased 72 percent, more than double the industry pace. That means retail share for the Ford brand in this age group grew from 9.4 percent in 2009 to 12 percent today.

Since 2009, Explorer has contributed 21 percent to Ford's overall growth in retail registrations within this coveted demographic.

"Explorer contributes more to Ford's millennial sales and share growth than any other passenger car or utility vehicle in the lineup," said Erich Merkle, U.S. sales analyst for Ford. "This is more proof Explorer attracts all types of customers with great looks and third-row versatility."

The new appearance package for Explorer XLT includes striking exterior details, with 20-inch machined aluminum wheels featuring painted pockets, black body-side cladding and roof rack rails. Other features include a Magnetic Metallic painted grille, mirror caps and liftgate appliqué, "EXPLORER" hood badge and body-color door handles.

Interior details include leather-trimmed, heated front seats featuring Miko® suede inserts and contrast stitching, floor mats with special badging and auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The package also features technology upgrades such as SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, two 4.2-inch color LCD screens in the instrument cluster, an 8-inch color LCD touch screen in the Meteorite Black center stack, two USB ports and an SD card reader.

Additional updates for 2015 include new 18-inch aluminum wheels now standard on the base model; Class III trailer tow package now standard on Explorer Sport; and three new colors – Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Caribou Metallic and Magnetic Metallic.