First, the Explorer XLT gets a Sport Appearance Package, pictured above. It's basically an Explorer Sport without the twin-turbo V6. Instead, the XLT model with its naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 gets 20-inch wheels, a new grille, mirror caps, and a rear applique all done in Magnetic Gray. There's also a black roof rack, side cladding, and Explorer badge, with dark leather inside. The big win is the addition of Sync 3 for the 2017 Explorer. We hated the outdated MyFord Touch system in our review of the 2016 Explorer Sport, so we're really happy about this upgrade.
The second Explorer on display is a collaboration between Ford and BraunAbility for a wheelchair-accessible version of the popular crossover. It's available with base, XLT, or Limited versions of the Explorer, all powered by the aforementioned 3.5-liter V6. A sliding door moves to reveal a lighted ramp, and inside, the driver and passenger seats can be removed. An integrated key fob controls everything electronically, and Ford even offers a tow package on the BraunAbility MXV.
See both Explorers in the galleries and videos, above and below. We'll have live coverage from Chicago later this week.
- Ford Explorer – best-selling SUV in the world over the last 25 years – adds new XLT Sport Appearance Package for 2017, further expanding Ford's family of SUVs
- New Ford Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package features dark-accented exterior, including 20-inch Magnetic Gray wheels, grille, mirror caps and rear appliqué, and Ebony Black body side molding
- Interior enhancements include Dark Earth Gray front seats with leather bolsters by Salerno and Miko® suede for inserts and door panels
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 9, 2016 – Giving SUV buyers a fresh option for a sportier-looking ride, Ford adds the new Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package to its popular full-size SUV lineup for 2017. The addition of the package expands Explorer offerings to six models. Other versions include base, XLT, Limited, Sport and the Platinum edition.
Explorer buyers are demonstrating an interest in unique models. Sales of Explorer Sport and Platinum, the two top models, account for approximately 30 percent of Explorer sales in the U.S. market. The new XLT Sport Appearance Package joins the Explorer family beginning this summer.
The 2017 Ford Escape, launching in the coming months, will feature a unique Sport Appearance Package as well.
"Our Sport Appearance philosophy is rooted in the fact that we know exterior appearance is the No. 1 consideration in SUV purchase decisions," said Omar Odeh, Explorer brand marketing manager. "The XLT Sport Appearance Package is a dramatic offering that gives customers another attractive option."
The Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package features updates both inside and out:
- 20-inch Magnetic Gray wheels
- Magnetic Gray grille
- Magnetic Gray mirror caps
- Magnetic Gray rear appliqué
- Ebony Black body side cladding
- Black roof rack
- Explorer hood badge
- Dark Earth Gray leather for front seats, including outer bolsters by premium leather maker Salerno; Dark Earth Gray Miko® suede for seat back uppers and inserts with Umber scrim, and door trim inserts; Umber contrast stitching
- Explorer logo floor mats
The 2017 Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package comes equipped with standard XLT features including a 3.5-liter V6 engine, Intelligent Access with push-button start, 10-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, SYNC® 3, LED fog lamps and much more.
"In the market right now, across all our SUVs, customers are looking for unique colors, wheels and interior appointments," said Odeh. "We've worked closely with Ford Design to deliver a unique look that will resonate with customers."
Beginning this spring, Escape buyers can consider the Sport Appearance Package for 2017 as well – available for Escape SE and Titanium models. The package includes premium 19-inch Ebony Black aluminum wheels and high-gloss upper grille; black beltline molding and front fenders; partial leather sport seats with contrast stitching, and more.
SUV sales remain robust in U.S. market
Driven in part by increased sales to maturing millennials and continued interest from baby boomers – the two largest consumer groups in the U.S. market – SUV performance is robust and is expected to continue through the end of the decade.
More efficient than ever, with EcoBoost® engines available for every nameplate, Ford-brand SUV sales totaled more than 740,000 vehicles in 2015 – an increase of nearly 7 percent versus a year earlier. Escape sales in 2015 reached 306,492 vehicles – an all-time record. Sales of the new Edge grew 14 percent, with Explorer sales increasing more than 18 percent.
BRAUNABILITY MXV -- A FORD EXPLORER CONVERSION -- IS WORLD'S FIRST WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE SUV
- BraunAbility, the world leader in mobility vehicles, introduces BraunAbility MXV™ based on the 2016 Ford Explorer; MXV is the world's first wheelchair-accessible SUV, and continues BraunAbility's long line of automotive mobility innovations
- BraunAbility MXV gives wheelchair users the freedom of an accessible van with the style and capability of an SUV
- Ford Explorer revolutionized the SUV market, and reigns as the best-selling nameplate in the segment for 25 years; with its Explorer conversion vehicle, BraunAbility revolutionizes what independence means for wheelchair users
Chicago, Feb. 9, 2016 – The world's best-selling SUV for 25 years is now the world's only volume-production wheelchair-accessible SUV.
Ford Motor Company and BraunAbility have joined forces to create BraunAbility MXV™ – a wheelchair-accessible SUV that gives wheelchair users the quality and dependability of a BraunAbility mobility vehicle, and the adventurous, "unstoppable" spirit of an Explorer.
"We're thrilled the Explorer name is connected to such a highly respected brand like BraunAbility," said Omar Odeh, Ford marketing manager. "Explorer has always been associated with helping people go places they otherwise could not, and BraunAbility MXV furthers that reputation."
BraunAbility MXV – available with Explorer base, XLT and Limited models – features patented sliding-door technology, removable driver and passenger seats, and a powered, lighted in-floor ramp. A sliding shifter and front seat base design provide for increased space, while an integrated key fob operates both door and ramp. There's also an available tow package.
Interior space is maximized to create ample room for wheelchair navigation and comfort. Wheelchair users can drive the vehicle from a wheelchair or ride as a passenger. Notable dimensions include:
- 55-inch usable side door opening height
- 28 1/2-inch usable ramp width
- 58-inch interior height (vehicle center)
- 59-inch interior height (for driver and passenger)
- 55-inch interior floor length behind front seats
- 59 1/2-inch interior width at B-pillar
"Our customers are very excited to have a mobility option that reflects their individuality," said Nick Gutwein, BraunAbility president and CEO. "For us, Ford Explorer was the obvious choice. It's an iconic American vehicle that reflects the ultimate in independence and freedom."
Featuring a 3.5-liter V6 engine, BraunAbility MXV delivers the performance and capability Explorer drivers have embraced for years, including an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined rating. Actual mileage will vary. MXV also delivers an estimated 5,000-pound maximum tow capacity.
BraunAbility MXV is produced at BraunAbility's 170,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Winamac, Indiana. It is sold at more than 200 authorized dealers throughout the United States.