FORD EXPLORER GOES PLATINUM; NEW MODEL GIVES ICONIC SUV ULTIMATE COMBINATION OF COMFORT, PERFORMANCE By: Ford
DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 28, 2015
– The vehicle that gave us room to roam reminds us that there is always room to grow and #ExploreMore.
Ford Explorer – the best-selling SUV in the United States for 25 years – reaches new heights with the Platinum edition, a well-appointed combination of the performance-minded Explorer Sport and comfort-designed Limited trim level. Ford Explorer Platinum will hit showrooms in September.
'For 25 years, Explorer has shaped what people expect from an SUV,' said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president and chief technical officer, Global Product Development. 'With this new Explorer Platinum, we're raising expectations.'
The new Explorer Platinum further elevates the three-row SUV in look and feel, with standard upgrades both inside and out. New multi-adjustable front seats wrapped in Nirvana leather with micro-perforation, industry-first 500-watt premium Sony® Audio System, smart driver-assist technologies and powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost®V6 engine advance Explorer in ways customers can see and feel.
'Platinum is the ultimate expression of refinement,' said Mike Arbaugh, Ford Explorer chief designer. 'This is the most upscale, high-quality interior we've ever offered on a Ford vehicle in North America.'
Unbelievable comfort in an 'unstoppable' SUV
The interior employs the finest materials, including real aluminum and real ash wood multi-piece appliqués on door panels and instrument panel. A wood and leather-wrapped heated steering wheel showcases unique stitching that matches the stitching used throughout the interior.
Interior color options include Soft Ceramic or a new Ebony with Anthracite headliner combination. Nirvana leather wraps the instrument panel, console armrests, quilted door bolsters and upper door trim. The instrument cluster features a large 10-inch digital display supported with analog displays – a first for a Ford-brand vehicle.
For the first time in a Ford production vehicle, a brushed-aluminum Ford oval is centered on the steering wheel. Even the A-pillars are fabric-wrapped; every detail has been considered for the Platinum customer.
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The new Explorer Platinum is the first Ford vehicle to get all-new 500-watt Sony Audio with Live Acoustics™and Clear Phase™ technology. Live Acoustics re-creates the sound dynamics of some of the world's greatest concert halls for more enveloping, more realistic sound. Clear Phase technology eliminates sound dispersion throughout the vehicle, so the music passengers hear is precisely pinpointed – just as the artist intended.
Explorer Platinum also gets standard smart technology features including enhanced active park assist, lane-keeping system and rain-sensing wipers. Along with popular parallel park assist, enhanced active park assist can now help drivers back the vehicle into a perpendicular spot.
For the exterior, signature lighting surrounds LED headlamps – giving the vehicle a continuous glow. Other features include a standard dual-panel moonroof, premium silver-painted front and rear skid plate elements, and 20-inch wheels with bright machined face and tarnished dark painted pockets.
'The Explorer name has long been synonymous with off-road capability,' said Craig Patterson, Ford utilities marketing manager. 'Explorer Platinum continues that reputation and adds so much more.'
Building on the Explorer legacy
Since the 2016 Ford Explorer reached showrooms earlier this year, robust sales indicate the nameplate remains one of the strongest in the SUV segment. Through June 2015, sales of Explorer base, XLT, Limited and Sport models were at 20,377 units – a 30 percent year-over-year increase.
Platinum arrives hoping to build upon those numbers and continue Explorer's 25-year run as America's best-selling SUV. Introduced in 1990 as a 1991 model, Explorer featured generous interior space customers were looking for, and was engineered specifically for people seeking adventure for their families and a way to express their individuality.
Ford Explorer is sold in markets across the globe – built in North America at Chicago Assembly Plant, as well as in Venezuela and Russia. Ford exported more than 56,000 Explorers from the United States last year, and plans to export even more in 2015.
'Customers love Explorer, and they expect it to continue to lead the way in innovation, performance and fun,' said Arie Groeneveld, chief engineer for the new Explorer. 'That's the challenge we embraced when we set out to build the best SUV in the world.'
More innovation equals great performance, more fun
For the 2016 model year, Explorer customers enjoy driver-assist innovations that have long made the vehicle an off-road favorite. The 2016 Explorer offers more drive-enhancing smart technology than previous models, including:
•Front and rear cameras with washers: Both have wide-angle lenses and come equipped with a washer – a class-exclusive, segment-first feature
•Enhanced active park assist with perpendicular park assist, park-out assist and semi-automatic parallel parking: The system uses ultrasonic sensors and electric power-assisted steering to help drivers with parallel parking and perpendicular parking maneuvers. Enhanced active park assist includes park-out assist to help a driver pull out of parallel parking spots. The system controls the steering wheel, while the driver operates the accelerator and brake pedals, and shifts the vehicle into gear
•Smart-charging USB ports: Located in the front and rear of the vehicle are USB ports able to charge smart devices up to two times faster than conventional ports
•Hands-free liftgate: A customer need only kick his or her foot below the center of the rear bumper to open or close the liftgate
•Industry-exclusive 500-watt Sony Audio System
•Active Grille Shutters: Upper and lower fascia openings close at highway speeds to reduce drag. At low speeds, the shutters open to deliver airflow to cool the powertrain
•Air curtains: Standard air curtains create a high-pressure region of air that impacts the outer surface of the wheels and tires. The result is airflow held close to the vehicle body, minimizing drag
Delivering EcoBoost performance
Explorer Platinum and Explorer Sport are equipped with a standard 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that produces 365 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 350 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm. All Explorer engines are mated with a six-speed SelectShift® Automatic transmission.
Base, XLT and Limited models are equipped with a standard 3.5-liter V6, and drivers can upgrade to the available 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that produces 280 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 310 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm.
The 2.3-liter EcoBoost has a notable improvement in horsepower and torque over the outgoing 2.0-liter. The front-wheel-drive Explorer retains its EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 28 mpg on the highway, which is best-in-class. For the first time, customers choosing a four-cylinder Explorer can also opt for four-wheel drive and trailer towing capability.
'The new Explorer isn't giving up its reputation as a leader in highway fuel efficiency, which is especially key for customers who want a vehicle that is also a capable trail warrior,' said Groeneveld.
Intelligent four-wheel drive: Ready for any adventure
Explorer Platinum comes standard with the intelligent four-wheel-drive with Terrain Management System™ that reassesses conditions about 20 times faster than the blink of an eye – providing precise handling and traction.
Intelligent four-wheel drive continuously monitors wheel speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle to determine vehicle conditions and driver intent. The system then determines the optimal amount of front and rear torque for the given conditions to prevent slip from even occurring, which helps keep the vehicle sure-footed on virtually any terrain. In sand, grass or gravel mode, the antilock braking system changes its pulse rate, which allows material to build up in front of the wheels – acting as a doorstop of sorts to help slow momentum.
To help maintain efficiency, in most steady-state cruising conditions the new Explorer equipped with intelligent four-wheel drive seamlessly and quickly transfers torque between the front and rear wheels.
A newly refined, intelligent four-wheel-drive gauge display shows power being distributed to front and rear wheels under all conditions – from heavy four-wheel-drive usage to when the system is not transmitting power at all.
For added convenience, the Terrain Management System automatically defaults to normal mode whenever the vehicle is started to ensure it's ready for normal driving conditions.
Using a dial located on the center console, the customer can shift on the fly, selecting from four terrain management modes – normal, snow, sand or mud – to set how the engine, transmission, brakes and four-wheel-drive system will operate. A fifth setting helps navigate steep terrain.