The current and fifth generation of the Explorer, Ford’s midsize SUV is almost at the end of its life.
The new generation may be launched as early as in 2018 Los Angeles of 2019 Detroit Auto Show in January for 2020 model year.
The good news for the current Explorer is that this vehicle is at the top of its refinement.
In a highly competitive market of 7-seater SUV’s, not limited but including; Mazda CX-9, Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Subaru Ascent (as a newcomer), buyers have abundance of choice. And Ford this vehicle matters, that will be dependent more than ever on trucks, SUV’s and crossovers.
Under the hood Explorer has the well-known 3.5L Ecoboost V6 with twin-turbocharging delivering 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The boosted V6 works well when handled gently in terms of fuel economy. With a little press on the gas pedal, a huge trust is unleashed at additional cost for consumption.
Like all competitors, Explorer has four-wheel drive, with a drive-mode selector. Twist the dial to tell Explorer what sort of driving is incoming, and various system calibrations are optimized to deliver extra traction and confidence. We could not test the snow mode in July, but it should be harder to spin Explorer’s wheels, and the 4WD system more evenly splits power between the axles from lower speeds, generating more instantaneous bite under throttle.
Although we did not have a change to test the towing capabilities, passing on the highway was a pleasure with a huge torque available at any time. The range, however falls a little bit short especially in city driving since the fuel tank is only 70 liters.
The only shortcoming of this mature SUV is the steering. At highway speeds, the steering feel is unprecise and subjectively a bit insecure. I think, Ford will take this matter into its hands (or already did so) in the upcoming generation. They may have looked at Mazda CX-9 and some German SUV’s to have a benchmark.
Worth mentioning is the back-up camera. Explorer offers a rare washer spray system that blasts the lens clean with a jet of washer fluid when requested, for a consistently clean image. The sum of such smart features make a notable difference against the competition.
Total Price as Tested: 65,629
Article: Varol McKars
Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars
Test vehicle was provided by Ford Canada (via Media Fleet)
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