Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - July 13, 2015

2016 Ford Explorer OVERVIEW

The Ford Explorer has evolved with the times -- what was once a two-row truck-based SUV is now a three-row car-based crossover.

What's New for 2016

The Explorer has undergone a significant refresh that includes new exterior and interior design, and lots of new technology. There's also an all-new engine that delivers a great balance of power and fuel economy.

Choosing Your Ford Explorer

In base form, the Explorer's standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, all delivered to the front wheels through a six-speed auto transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway -- both numbers drop by 1 mpg with optional all-wheel drive. There are also two optional engines:

  • A new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder cranks out 280 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It uses a slightly revised version of the six-speed automatic transmission, and is available with front- or all-wheel drive. Expect 19/28 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 18/26 mpg with all-wheel drive.
  • A 3-liter EcoBoost V6 making 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque is also mated to a six-speed automatic, but you can only get it with all-wheel drive. This engine turns in EPA fuel-economy numbers of 16 mpg highway and 22 mpg city.

Then there are five trim levels from which to choose:


At $30,700, the Base doesn't have a lavish list of standard equipment. Some of nicer features include hill-start assist and automatic headlights, but most buyers will find what they're looking for in the XLT.


The price for an XLT jumps to $33,400, but brings a more premium feel thanks to upgraded cloth seats, SiriusXM, push-button start, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter. It also grants access to option packages with features like Sync, MyFord Touch, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery and heated front seats.


It's a big leap to $41,300, but the Limited comes with upgrades that range from 20-inch wheels to a hands-free liftgate, voice-activated navigation, power-folding third-row seats and leather upholstery. This is also the level at which a host of driver assists like lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert become optional.


The Sport has the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, a re-tuned chassis, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, exclusive perforated leather upholstery with red accent stitching, heated and cooled seats, unique floor mats, illuminated doorsill plates, and a high-gloss black grille. It's priced from $43,300, and has a $4,300 option package with features like voice-activated navigation, hand-free tailgate and a heated steering wheel.


The range-topping $52,600 Platinum is new for 2016 model year, and comes only with the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost and sport-tuned suspension. Think of it like a Sport that's fully loaded with additional luxury items.

CarsDirect Tip

Most buyers will find the right balance of price and features in a moderately optioned XLT or Limited. The Sport and Platinum can get pricey, but may be a good option for buyers who want performance-oriented luxury without the luxury badge.

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Read our review on the Ford Explorer »

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