It’s not an easy task to update a best selling vehicle for its class. And this is what 2016 Ford Explorer designers and engineers were faced with. The Explorer is the best selling three-row crossover in the United States (just check the 2014 sales numbers). It has a big lead and growing.
The class leader gets a new front-end and new tail-light design. The profile is mostly unchanged. However, the changes are thorough under the hood and on the inside. The starting price – $30,700 – is the same as for the outgoing model. However, there are now five distinct trim levels: Base, XLT, Limited, Sport, and the new Platinum. There are price increases for the higher end models: XLT goes up $400 to $33,400; Limited goes up a hefty $3,100 to $41,300; Sport is up a minor $200 to $43,300; and the all-new Platinum starts at $52,600.
The base motor is the normally aspirated 3.5L V6, and the Sport and Platinum power comes from the familiar 3.5L EcoBoost V6. However, there is a new kid on the block. It’s the 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder with plentiful 270 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. It’s related to the engine first introduced in the 2015 Mustang and tuned specifically for the Explorer. It’s interesting that Ford went with the 2.3L four-cylinder turbo from the Mustang and the 2.7L EcoBoost V6 from the 2015 F-150. Fuel economy must have been the top priority.
Ford says the Explorer 2.3L will get an estimated 28 MPG on the highway with FWD. The big 3.5L EcoBoost is only available with AWD. However, the other two motors can be had in FWD or AWD. The 6-speed automatic transmission does the work across the board.
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The 2016 Ford Explorer goes on sale in the summer of 2015.
Check out the debut presentation of the 2016 Ford Explorer from the 2014 LA Auto Show.
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFL since 2011.