The latest version of America's most iconic SUV gets the 2.3 Ecoboost from the Mustang and a bit of active aero for reduced drag. Of course you can still have one with real wood on your steering wheel!
Ford has sold 7 million Explorers since the SUV's introduction in 1991, and intends to push that number much higher with the 2016 car that's going to be built in Chicago, Venezuela and Russia as well to satisfy the demand of more than 100 markets globally.
Going on sale next summer, the new Explorer features a bunch of new gadgets. The list includes wide-angle cameras with washers both at the front and at the rear, active park assist (with perpendicular park assist, park-out assist and semi-automatic parallel parking), numerous USB ports and a 500-watt audio system from Sony in case you go for the Explorer Platinum.
The SUV also has a hands-free liftgate activated by a kick below the center of the rear bumper and active grill shutters, which close the upper and lower fascia openings at highway speeds to reduce drag. These shutters also allow for larger front end openings to cool the engine, while the SUV's air curtains around the wheels help minimizing drag.
Under the metal, the 2016 Explorer uses MacPherson construction with an isolated subframe and 32-millimeter stabilizer bar at the front, and an independent multilink rear setup with a 22-millimeter stabilizer bar. The Explorer Sport comes with a unique steering gear, front and rear springs, struts and rear dampers.
The car is also stiffer thanks to a a tower brace, with the one for the four-wheel drive Explorer being three millimeters thicker to keep it in control on rugged terrain. Wheels go from 18 up to 20 inches.
To make it quieter in the cabin, Ford changed the door seals and used engine subframe mounts tuned to reduce vibration, with the exhaust system also adjusted for the 2.3-liter EcoBoost. Acoustic glass is used on the windshield and front doors on XLT and higher trim levels.
Did I mention LEDs? Yeah, it has plenty of those, because that's a must nowadays.
Also, if you don't like the idea of the new four banger available for the on the base, XLT and Limited series, the 3.5 V6 turbo is still there to satisfy your needs with wooden bits and "Nirvana" leather seats in the cabin, a dual-panel moonroof, satin chrome everything on the outside, the big wheels and all-wheel drive if you go for the Platinum.