2016 Ford Explorer Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 01, 2014
  • Redesigned front end
  • Revised interior controls and quieter cabin
  • Refined ride and handling mix
  • New top-of-the-line Platinum trim level
  • New turbocharged 4-cylinder engine option
  • New comfort, convenience, and infotainment features


Ford claims that in the 25 years since the original Explorer SUV debuted, it has sold one for every two minutes that has passed. At the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, the company introduced the latest iteration of the popular midsize crossover SUV, the refreshed 2016 Ford Explorer. When it arrives in showrooms, it will be offered in familiar standard, XLT, Limited, and Sport trim levels, as well as a new luxury-themed Platinum version.

Exterior Features

Forward of the Explorer's windshield, the SUV is redesigned and more aerodynamic, the automaker says. Active grille shutters help to improve fuel economy, and the traditional grille is flanked by new standard LED headlights. Around back, LED taillights are standard, and a hands-free tailgate is optional. When your arms are full of packages or shopping bags, simply wave a foot under the rear bumper and the tailgate powers up automatically.

Interior Features

Ford says the 2016 Explorer is quieter inside than the previous model, and that sources of noise, vibration, and harshness are reduced. The MyFord Touch infotainment system remains, but the stereo and climate controls beneath it now feature traditional buttons and knobs instead of the previous touch-panel treatment.

Optional Features

For the first time, Ford will offer the Explorer in an opulently equipped Platinum trim level. Standard equipment includes premium leather for the seats and many of the SUV's interior surfaces, combined with upgraded wood trim and brushed aluminum accents. Even the traditional Ford emblem on the Explorer Platinum's heated wood-and-leather steering wheel is rendered in brushed aluminum.

The Platinum trim level also includes new multi-contour front seats, 10-in. information display within the instrument cluster, next-generation Sony premium audio system, and expanded Active Park Assist capabilities.

Under the Hood

As is true today, the Explorer will include a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine in base, XLT, and Limited format, while the Sport and new Platinum trim levels get a 365-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6.

For 2016, Ford drops the Explorer's available turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in favor of the new, more powerful, turbocharged, 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine from the Mustang. In the Explorer, it is tuned to deliver approximately 270 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque while returning a Ford-estimated 23 mpg in combined driving.

All three engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and will be available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. For 2016, Ford says it has also upgraded the Explorer's suspension for improved ride and handling qualities on various road surfaces.


Already available with features ranging from standard MyKey programmable features and Sync Bluetooth connectivity with 911 Assist to optional inflatable rear seat belts and blind-spot and lane-keeping assist systems, the 2016 Explorer continues to provide access to modern safety technologies.


On this front, Ford makes several enhancements to the 2016 Explorer. Smart-charging USB ports are available to front and rear passengers, and Ford offers a new 500-watt premium sound system with Live Acoustics and Clear Phase technologies.

A new Enhanced Active Park Assist system adds park-out assist and perpendicular park-assist capabilities, building upon the system's existing ability to steer the Explorer into a parallel parking space while the driver operates the foot pedals and the transmission.
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