The vehicle that gave us room to roam reminds us that there is always room to grow and explore more.
“Explorer helped define how the world thinks about SUVs,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president and chief technical officer, Global Product Development. “Explorer is the centerpiece of Ford’s global utility vehicle lineup because it delivers an ideal combination of form and function. And with well over 7 million already sold, nearly everyone has an Explorer story.”
Introduced in 1990 as a 1991 model, Explorer featured generous interior space customers were looking for, and was engineered specifically for people seeking adventure for their families and a way to express their individuality.
More innovation equals greater performance, more fun
Even more smart technology – that’s what customers will get with the new Ford Explorer. It offers more technologies than previous models, features that enhance the driving experience. New technologies available for 2016 include:
- Front and rear cameras with washers: Both have wide-angle lenses and come equipped with a washer – a class-exclusive, segment-first feature
- Enhanced active park assist with perpendicular park assist, park-out assist and semi-automatic parallel parking: The system uses ultrasonic sensors and electric power-assisted steering to help drivers with parallel parking and perpendicular parking maneuvers. Enhanced active park assist includes park-out assist to help a driver pull out of parallel parking spots. The system controls the steering wheel, while the driver operates the accelerator and brake pedals, and shifts the vehicle into gear
- Smart-charging USB ports: Located in the front and rear of the vehicle are USB ports able to charge smart devices up to two times faster than conventional ports
- Hands-free liftgate: A customer need only kick his or her leg below the center of the rear bumper to open or close the liftgate
- Air curtains: Standard air curtains create a high-pressure region of air that impacts the outer surface of the wheels and tires. The result is airflow held close to the vehicle body, minimizing drag
The following features, while not new for Explorer, are also available on the 2016 model:
- Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support: Uses radar to detect moving vehicles directly ahead and changes the cruising speed if necessary
- Lane-keeping system: Automatically detects left- and right-hand road lane markings using the front camera system. A vibration in the steering wheel alerts the driver if the vehicle begins to drift out of the intended lane. The system can also provide steering torque to help guide the vehicle back into the lane if needed
- Blind Spot Information System: BLIS® uses radar to trigger a warning when another motorist is in the driver’s blind spot
- Cross-traffic alert: Uses radar to help alert drivers to oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking space
- Auto high-beams: Using windshield-mounted cameras, the feature automatically switches between high-beam and low-beam settings when oncoming traffic is detected
- Inflatable rear safety belts: Introduced on 2011 Explorer as an industry-first feature, the belts deploy an airbag over the torso and shoulder of an outboard passenger to help distribute crash forces over up to five times more area than a traditional safety belt. Spreading forces over a larger area helps reduce pressure on a passenger’s chest, and helps control head and neck motion
“The new Explorer isn’t giving up its reputation as a leader in highway fuel efficiency – which is especially key for customers who want a vehicle that is also a capable trail warrior,” said Groeneveld.
The standard 3.5-liter V6 engine for base, XLT and Limited models – with 294 PS at 6,500 rpm and 346 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm – is paired with a six-speed SelectShift® Automatic transmission. Explorer Sport 6 5,500 rpm and 470 Nm of torque at 3,500 rpm – also mated with the six-speed SelectShift.
For the exterior, signature lighting surrounds the LED headlamps, giving the vehicle a continuous glow. Other features include a standard dual-panel moonroof, premium silver-painted front and rear skid plate elements, and an all-new 18 and 20-inch wheel line up.
The integrated exhaust is designed to reduce the appearance of soot collecting at the rear of the vehicle. Inside the chrome bezel of the exhaust, engineers designed a shield that catches the soot so it doesn’t collect around the outlets.
Intelligent four-wheel drive: Ready for any adventure
Explorer’s intelligent four-wheel drive with Terrain Management System™ reassesses conditions about 20 times faster than the blink of an eye – providing precise handling and traction.
Intelligent four-wheel drive continuously monitors wheel speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle to determine vehicle conditions and driver intent. The system then determines the optimal amount of front and rear torque for the given conditions to prevent slip from even occurring, which helps keep the vehicle sure-footed on virtually any terrain. In sand, grass or gravel mode, the antilock braking system changes its pulse rate, which allows material to build up in front of the wheels, acting as a doorstop of sorts to help slow momentum.
To help maintain efficiency, in most steady-state cruising conditions the new Explorer equipped with intelligent four-wheel drive seamlessly and quickly transfers torque between the front and rear wheels.
A newly refined, intelligent four-wheel-drive gauge display shows power being distributed to front and rear wheels under all conditions – from heavy four-wheel-drive system usage to when the system is not transmitting power at all.
Comfortable and capable
The new Explorer benefits from an improved suspension for better handling and a quiet cabin, enabling a comfortable ride even when the pavement turns to dirt.
Ford completely retuned the Explorer chassis to clearly differentiate the driving experiences offered by the XLT and Sport models.
The suspension uses MacPherson construction with an isolated subframe and 32-millimeter stabilizer bar at the front, while an independent multilink rear setup uses a 22-millimeter stabilizer bar.
Explorer Sport customers looking for a more dynamic driving experience will benefit from unique steering gear, front and rear springs, struts and rear dampers.
Interior changes help enhance quietness in the cabin. There are new door seals, and an enhanced sound package includes engine subframe mounts specially tuned to reduce vibration. Acoustic glass is used on the windshield and front doors on XLT and higher trim levels.
Rugged – that’s the word that inspired the designers creating the look of the new Ford Explorer.
Exterior styling updates – such as positioning the grille and LED headlamps even higher, adding a new closed-off lower roof rack with channels that cascade rainwater off the vehicle and a new rear spoiler – also improve aerodynamics.
The 2016 Explorer features more robust headlamps, with available LED signature lighting, standard LED low-beams and available LED fog lamps.
Visible heat-sink structures for cooling the LED headlamps are a meaningful detail. These radiator-like grilles are typically hidden behind the light cluster, but on Explorer they are part of a complex headlamp design that puts innovation on display.
Interior design changes reflect desires customers expressed through Ford consumer research, which shows one in five Explorer Sport customers previously owned a luxury vehicle. Changes include a higher-mounted, wrapped and stitched door armrest, real buttons to replace touch-sense buttons on the infotainment system and more refined detailing throughout.