Ford is overhauling the Explorer for the 2016 model year, and the new generation of the best-selling SUV in America packs a few new surprises. One of the biggest is the addition of a Platinum model that is aimed squarely at GMC’s Acadia Denali, as well as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit.
Apparently, feedback from Explorer owners gave Ford the idea of offering more luxury and refinement, but without losing the model’s efficiency and utility. The Platinum achieves this by featuring Nirvana leather upholstery, which is the supplest leather that the automaker has used on a production vehicle. The door panels feature quilted leather, mimicking the look and feel of some of the finest interiors in the industry. Satin chrome trim pieces are used on the interior as well as the exterior. Engineers retuned the suspension for increased comfort, and acoustic glass cuts down on interior noise levels at any speed.
There are plenty of snazzy electronics that also make the Platinum a more compelling version of the Explorer. The vehicle has a digital 10-inch gauge cluster, which is another first for a production Ford vehicle. The SUV also comes with adaptive cruise control, collision warning, brake support, lane-keeping assist, and even an enhanced park assist.
The devil is in the details, and Ford obviously looked at everything. The Explorer Platinum even features a brushed aluminum oval, ditching the iconic Blue Oval, making it a first.
Among the other changes announced for the 2016 Explorer is more power output for the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, four-wheel drive available for all models, and a revised exterior some are calling a strong resemblance to Land Rover’s design language.
When the new Explorer hits dealerships next summer, consumers who are looking for rugged utility will have a choice to make: go with a more luxurious badge, pick the Ford, or go with a more sensible-shoes type of SUV.