Ford rolls out Platinum trim for best-selling SUV

For the past quarter-century, the Ford Explorer has been the best-selling sport utility in America.

Since its launch as a 1991 model, more than 7 million Explorers have been sold in the United States, while in 2015 more than 56,000 units were exported abroad.

For the ‘16 model year, Ford added a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine to the Explorer lineup, which can be paired with the available tow package and intelligent four-wheel drive with Terrain Management System.

In all, consumers have their choice of three available engines to choose from. All are available in front- or four-wheel drive configurations and all are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. With seating options for six or seven passengers, engine choices on the 2016 Explorer are:

• 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivering 290 horsepower and 255 lbs.-ft. torque. Requiring regular unleaded gasoline and has an EPA fuel economy rating of 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway for front-wheel drive models. It has a maximum tow capacity of 5,000 pounds.

• 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 delivering 280 horsepower and 310 lbs.-ft. torque. Requiring regular unleaded gasoline, it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway. Explorers equipped with this engine have a maximum tow capacity of 3,000 pounds.

• 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 delivering 365 horsepower and 350 lbs.-ft. torque. Requiring regular unleaded gasoline, it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway. Explorers equipped with the EcoBoost V-6 engine have a maximum tow capacity of 5,000 pounds.

The big news for the 2016 Explorer is the addition of the Platinum Series trim level.

Without question, there are a lot exceptional vehicles in the premium SUV segment.

The Ford Explorer is certainly one of those vehicles. The Ford Explorer Platinum Series is one of the most capable, luxury SUVs on the road.

From new multi-contour front seats wrapped in Nirvana leather with micro-perforation, to special quilted stitching used throughout the cabin, advanced standard technologies and the powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine, the Platinum Series elevates Explorer in ways customers can see and feel.

The interior employs the finest materials, including real aluminum and real ash wood multi-piece appliqués on door panels and instrument panel. There is even a wood and leather-wrapped heated steering wheel.

Oh, and one of my favorite features is the 500-watt, 12-speaker Sony audio system featuring live acoustics technology — and the 10-inch digital display supported with analog displays.

And I haven’t even gotten into the long, long list of standard safety features.

For those in the market for a sport utility vehicle, the Ford Explorer is an absolute must for the test drive list. Bring the whole family for the test drive.

 

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.