Ford Dishes the Dirt on the Updated 2016 Explorer
“America’s Favorite SUV” Gets Cosmetic Surgery in LA
Ford will be revealing the 2016 Explorer in Los Angeles, and perhaps in a bid to fit in with the city’s movie stars and socialites, the SUV is getting a bit of a nip/tuck.
Most obvious of the changes is updated styling for the Explorer. A revised front fascia includes new headlights and fenders, as well as a restyled hood, bumper, and grille, which refines the current Explorer’s three-bar design. The look is more upright and truck-like, which we think makes the SUV look more like its predecessors and less like the car-based crossover it is. A new rear bumper, hatchback, liftgate, and tail lights highlight changes to the back end of the 2016 Explorer, with some added chrome flourishes on the liftgate and exhaust outlets.
The cosmetic changes improve more than looks though. Ford claims that the new Explorer is five percent more aerodynamic than the outgoing model, with aero efficiency further improved by active grille shutters, “air curtains” in the foglamps that direct air cleanly around the vehicle, and aircraft-inspired strakes for the SUV’s D-pillar, reducing turbulence.
Other changes go deeper than the Explorer’s styling, with Ford’s excellent 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 replacing the 2.0L EcoBoost in today’s Explorer. Ford estimates the EcoBoost 2.3L will make 270 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque in the Explorer, which represents an increase of 30 hp and 30 lb-ft over the old 2.0L. Still available are the naturally aspirated 3.5L V-6 and the twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost V-6, making the same power as the current Explorer V-6s.
The 2016 Explorer is the latest Ford to get a top-spec Platinum trim level as well. The fanciest of Explorers is treated to a unique front mesh grille, satin chrome exterior accents, 20-inch wheels with dark satin accents, a dual-panel moonroof, and beautiful quilted-leather seating, among other refinements. The Platinum will come standard with the top-of-the-line 3.5L EcoBoost, which makes 365 hp, as well as all-wheel drive and Ford’s updated Terrain Management System, which we saw last week on the overseas-market Ford Everest.
Returning for 2016 are the base, XLT, Sport, and Limited trims. Each is updated with feature-shuffling and improved refinement over its 2015 counterpart. LED low-beam headlights and taillights are now standard on every 2016 Explorer, with LED “signature lighting” added to the Limited and above trim levels. Other notable optional features include a hands-free rear liftgate; active park assist, perpendicular park assist, and park-out assist; and front and rear cameras with washers.
As we’ve said before, we expect the updates to the new Explorer to solidify the vehicle’s best-selling status, as the large crossover consistently sells better than most of its competition (including Ford’s other three-row SUVs). We’ll see the new Explorer in person in just a few days, and we’ll bring you more details then.