The 2015 Ford Explorer continues to move away from its off-roading ancestry with a focus on on-road refinement. It’s roomy and comfortable with 3 rows of seating and enough space for up to seven passengers -- but still capable of handling moderate off-road duties thanks to its Terrain Response System. It just manages to do it with better fuel efficiency than its truck-based predecessors.
What's New for 2015
The only significant change on the 2015 Explorer is a sport-appearance package that’s available for the XLT model. This package adds 20-inch wheels, black body-side molding, roof rails and dark Magnetic paint on the grille, mirror caps and liftgate.
Choosing Your Ford Explorer
A 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque is the standard engine on the base model Explorer as well as the XLT and Limited models. This engine is available in both front-wheel drive (17 mpg city/24 mpg highway) and four-wheel drive (17 mpg city/23 mpg highway).
An optional turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is also available. This 2-liter motor delivers 240 horsepower, 270 pound-feet of torque, and an estimated 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. However, you make a significant sacrifice in acceleration for the gain in fuel economy.
Sport models come only with four-wheel drive and a turbocharged 3.5-liter 365 horsepower V6. It delivers an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard on all 2015 Explorer models. When combined with the available Trailer Tow Package, the V6 models have a 5,000 pound hauling capacity, while the four-cylinder can tow up to 2,000 pounds.
Ford offers four different Explorer models:
A number of optional features include: voice-activated navigation, a power liftgate, heated and cooled front seats, remote start system, dual-panel moonroof, a collision warning system and adaptive crusie control.
Additional features add up quickly on the Explorer. So unless you have the engine in the powerful Sport (which starts at $42,500) we recommend looking into the XLT ($32,900) and adding some options.