2016 Ford ExplorerThe 2016 Ford Explorer is a very big deal. According to Ford, the Explorer, which originally went on sale way back in 1991, is the most popular SUV of the last 25 years, having sold more than 7 million over that period.
Suffice it to say, then, that there is a lot riding on the new Explorer for Ford. Follow along as we dissect some of the new technologies, styling updates and features that make Explorer into one of the best SUVs money can buy.
2016 Ford Explorer"Explorer helped define how the world thinks about SUVs," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president and chief technical officer, Global Product Development. "Explorer is the centerpiece of Ford's global utility vehicle lineup because it delivers an ideal combination of form and function. And with 7 million already sold, nearly everyone has an Explorer story."
Arie Groeneveld, chief engineer for the new Explorer, puts the SUV's marketplace positioning into perspective. "Customers love Explorer, and expect this SUV to lead the way in innovation, performance and fun... It's a tall order, but we're aiming to build the best SUV in the world."
2016 Ford ExplorerHere's a list of some of the most noteworthy new features debuting in the 2016 Ford Explorer:
• Front and rear cameras with washers: Both front and rear cameras have wide-angle lenses and come equipped with a washer – an industry-first
• Enhanced active park assist with perpendicular park assist, park-out assist and semi- automatic parallel parking: The system uses ultrasonic sensors and electric power-
assisted steering to help drivers with parallel parking and perpendicular parking
maneuvers. Enhanced active park assist now includes park-out assist to help a driver
pull out of parallel parking spots. The system controls the steering wheel, while the driver operates the accelerator and brake pedals, and shifts the vehicle into gear
• Smart-charging USB ports throughout: Located in the front and rear of the vehicle are
USB ports to charge smart devices
• Hands-free liftgate: A customer need only kick his or her leg below the center of the rear bumper to unlock and raise the liftgate
• Industry-exclusive 500-watt Sony Audio System: Explorer Platinum will be the first Ford vehicle to get an all-new 500-watt Sony Audio System with Live Acoustics™ and Clear Phase™ technology
• Active Grille Shutters: Upper and lower fascia openings close at highway speeds to reduce drag. At low speeds, the shutters open to deliver airflow to cool the powertrain. Shutters allow for larger front end openings to cool the engine while reducing drag
• Air curtains: Standard air curtains create a high-pressure region of air that impacts the outer surface of the wheels and tires. The result is airflow held close to the vehicle body,
2016 Ford Explorer PlatinumThere's a new top-level trim level for 2016 called Platinum, sitting above the Sport and Limited trim levels that continue on for 2016.
"There's a market for more upscale SUVs, as 90 percent of today's Explorer Sport buyers purchase the most expensive package available. That's a strong signal customers are ready for Platinum."
2016 Ford Explorer PlatinumThe 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum will compete against the GMC Denali series and Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit editions. Pricing information has not yet been revealed, but we'd expect it to be more expensive that the $43,100 Ford charged for the top-level Limited in 2015.
2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Interior"Platinum is the ultimate expression of refinement," said Christopher Svensson, Ford design director, The Americas. "This is the most premium, high-quality interior we've ever offered on a Ford vehicle."
The interior incorporates brushed aluminum and satin-finished ash wood in multi-piece appliqués on all door panels and the instrument panel. The wood-trimmed, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel includes unique stitching that matches the stitching used throughout the interior.
Nirvana leather wraps the instrument panel, console armrests, quilted door bolsters and upper door trim. The instrument cluster features a large 10-inch digital display supported with analog displays – a first for a Ford-brand vehicle.
2016 Ford Explorer Platinum InteriorThe new Explorer Platinum will be the first Ford vehicle to get an all-new 500-watt Sony Audio System with Live Acoustics and Clear Phase technology. Clear Phase eliminates sound dispersion throughout the vehicle, so the music occupants hear is precisely pinpointed, just as the artist intended. Live Acoustics engineering re-creates the sound dynamics of some of the world's greatest concert halls for a more enveloping, realistic sound.
Explorer Platinum also gets standard advanced technology features including enhanced active park assist, lane-keeping system and rain-sensing wipers.
For the exterior, signature lighting surrounds the LED headlamps, giving Explorer Platinum a continuous glow. Other features include a standard dual-panel moonroof, premium silver- painted front and rear skid plate elements, and 20-inch wheels with bright machine face and tarnished dark painted pockets.
2016 Ford Explorer cargo areaMuch of what has made the Ford Explorer so successful over the years remains the same for 2016, including the three rows of seats and generous cargo capacity. Also carried over for 2016:
• Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support: Uses radar to detect moving vehicles directly ahead and changes the cruising speed if necessary
• Lane-keeping system: The system automatically detects left- and right-hand road lane markings using the front camera system. A vibration in the steering wheel alerts the
driver if the vehicle begins to drift out of the lane. The system can also provide steering torque to help guide the vehicle back into the lane if needed
• Blind Spot Information System: BLIS® uses radar to trigger a warning when another motorist is in the driver's blind spot
• Cross-traffic alert: Uses radar to help alert drivers to oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking space
• Auto high-beams: Automatic high-beams use windshield-mounted cameras to automatically switch between high-beam and low-beam settings when oncoming traffic is detected
• Inflatable rear safety belts: Inflatable rear safety belts, introduced on 2011 Explorer as an industry-first, deploy an airbag over the torso and shoulder of an outboard passenger to help distribute crash forces over up to five times more area than a traditional safety belt. Spreading forces over a larger area helps reduce pressure on a passenger's chest, and helps control head and neck motion
2016 Ford Explorer Platinum steering wheelFor the first time in a production Ford vehicle, a brushed aluminum Ford oval is centered on the steering wheel of the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum. Lower trim levels still have a traditional Blue Oval badge on the wheel.
2016 Ford Explorer 2.3-liter EcoBoostA new 2.3-liter EcoBoost replaces the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder available for the current model.
The 2.3-liter EcoBoost is more powerful than the engine it replaces and is available on the base, XLT and Limited series. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost will deliver a noticeable improvement in horsepower and torque, and while EPA results are not yet certified, Ford expects no change in fuel efficiency for 2016.
The standard 3.5-liter V6 engine for base, XLT and Limited models – with an estimated 290 horsepower and estimated 255 lb.-ft. of torque – is paired with a six-speed SelectShift® Automatic transmission. Explorer Sport and the Platinum edition get a standard 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with an estimated 365 horsepower and estimated 350 lb.-ft. of torque – also mated with a six-speed SelectShift Automatic.