Everything about the previous Ford Explorer that worked so well is still in the picture.

The 2016 Ford Explorer makes a number of notable changes for the current model year - not all of which are limited to the snazzier styling this full-size SUV shows off inside and out. A new turbocharged 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine adds some grunt to the mid-tier of the Explorer's line-up, while extra luxury abounds in the recently-added Platinum trim level. Ford has also continued to dump as much tech equipment as possible into the Explorer, extending the options sheet and pushing past more modestly-outfitted rivals from Chevrolet, GMC, and Nissan.

Everything about the previous Ford Explorer that worked so well is still in the picture, of course, which means seating for seven across three rows, a healthy amount of cargo space, respectable towing capacity, and a range of engine choices suitable to any budget. It's not the most dynamic of the large sport-utility vehicles on the market, but it does offer a comfortable driving experience to go with its bulky proportions.

Pros

  • The decision to replace last year's 2.0-litre EcoBoost motor with a new 2.3-litre EcoBoost unit was an inspired one, as it adds much-needed grunt and also makes all-wheel drive available for the first time with Ford's 4-cylinder turbo option in the Explorer. The 2.3-litre engine is rated at 270 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, and offers fuel efficiency of 12.6 L/100 km city and 8.5 L/100 km highway.
  • It's startling how much technology is available with the Ford Explorer. You can add items such as a self-parking system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keeping assistance, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and even inflatable seatbelts. The Platinum trim buries you with luxuries you'd expect to find in a Lincoln, not a Ford, such as massaging front seats and a heated steering wheel.
  • The range-topping 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 is hard to beat amongst full-size SUVs when you've got your foot to the floor. With 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque on tap, the (admittedly heavy) Ford Explorer really boogies in a straight line.
  • Cargo space is good, too - but it's more of a mixed bag. The area immediately behind the third row of accommodations offers 594.8 litres (21 cubic feet) of space, which is class-leading, but fold everything forward and you're left with 2,314 litres (82 cubic feet) of total cargo room. This is certainly usable, but it's almost 1,000 litres less than what you'd find in the Chevrolet Traverse.

Cons

  • The Ford Explorer can get expensive rather quickly. If you want EcoBoost V6 power you have to pony up for either the Ford Explorer Sport (MSRP $53,289) or the Platinum (MSRP $60,889) - both a far cry above the base SUV's $35,289 starting price.
  • The Explorer is comfortable to ride in, but it does feel fairly large from behind the wheel, particularly in an urban setting. You might find yourself using that automatic parking feature more often than you had planned when trying to wedge the SUV into a tight spot.
  • EcoBoost turbo technology is great for pushing out power from a small displacement motor. In the real world, however, the frugality of these engines isn't quite as convincing. Expect to spend more on fuel than the amount advertised on the Explorer's window sticker should you opt for either of its turbocharged engines - especially if you purchase the twin-turbo V6.

2016 Ford Explorer

 

ENGINE

3.5-litre V6 / 2.3-litre turbo 4-cylinder / 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6

OUTPUT

290 hp / 255 lb-ft & 270 hp / 310 lb-ft & 365 hp / 350 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION

6-speed automatic

0-100 KMH

6.2 Seconds

TOP SPEED

N/A

FUEL ECONOMY

13.9 L/100 km City / 9.6 L/100 km Highway &

12.6 L/100 km City / 8.5 L/100 km Highway &

14.9 L/100 km City / 10.7 L/100 km Highway

WEIGHT

2,019 kilograms (4,443 lbs)

SEATING CAPACITY

7

CARGO VOLUME

2,314 litres (82 cubic feet)

BASE PRICE

$35,289

AS-TESTED PRICE

$60,889

 

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