Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2015 Ford Explorer OVERVIEW
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.
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