As early as 1962, when the “madman” era, the taxi company Avis did some new wave of slogan: “We work harder.” The idea is simple: because it is second-rate rental giant Hertz, Avis work harder , And provides more customers to the big boys.
This is what messed up metaphors with the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum that you clicked on to read? Easily, since the debut five years ago, the fifth-generation browser has been steadily stepping up to lead three cross-sell charts, defeating Toyota Highlander’s likes, Chevrolet wire, and even to avoid Durango, which is our final three cross-test of the winner. Before the cruise sales chart package, Ford did not have to work hard to put a new butt explorer seat. Perhaps this may help explain why we found new -16, luxury-level Explorer platinum that was significantly reduced in size compared to some of its promising new competitors.
2016 Browser Platinum exists in nature because Ford found that Explorer buyers have loaded Explorer’s Gill option and want a car that relies on luxury multi-sport. Ford began the Explorer campaign with some luxury goods such as aluminum and wood trim, a heated steering wheel made of wood and leather, leather stitched on the door panel, “Nirvana” leather seats, and various other luxury and technical measures . Ford calls it “the most upscale, we deliver high quality interior in the North American Ford.”
Not even close, but we will round back a few paragraphs.
Under its hood, the Explorer Platinum packs a powerful EcoBoost 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 that produces a V-8-like 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 is paired with a standard six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The combo is good enough to get this almost 5,000-pound porker up to 60 mph in a respectable 6.4 seconds, while the quarter mile falls in 14.8 seconds at 93.1 mph. The 60-0 mph panic-stopping test takes 127 feet.
Enabled by that twin-turbo V-6, the Explorer Platinum’s acceleration performance is impressive. Although not the quickest Explorer we’ve tested (that honor goes to the Explorer Sport and its 5.7 second 0-60 mph run), our 2016 Explorer Platinum is among the quicker three-row crossovers we’ve tested. Despite being down 85 horsepower, our 2016 Honda Pilot Elite long-termer, a rough-equivalent to the Explorer Platinum, does 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds thanks to a significantly lighter curb weight and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Notable competitors close behind the Explorer Platinum are the V-8-powered Dodge Durango R/T (0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds), and the new 2017 GMC Acadia (0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds). Other segment competitors, such as the new 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature, trail this Explorer in acceleration tests.
When it comes to corners, the Explorer Platinum gives up ground to some of its newer, lighter competitors such as the aforementioned Acadia and CX-9. Our Ford tester needed 27.1 seconds to round the figure eight while averaging 0.66 g, and it completed the skidpad averaging 0.79 g.
What do these numbers tell us? That the Explorer is going to be a great boulevard and highway cruiser and not quite so fun on rural back roads or tight inner-city streets.
Out on the streets, the above proves pretty true. The best part about the Explorer Platinum is its engine: it’s a monster. With little in the way of lag, the Explorer’s EcoBoost engine makes an otherwise humdrum people mover exciting once you dip into the throttle. The six-speed automatic, eager to eek every single mpg point it out of the boosted V-6, does opt for sixth gear wherever possible and is pretty reluctant to downshift. Thankfully the EcoBoost is torquey enough on its own to make up for the transmission’s hesitancy. You’ll pay for that performance at the pump, though, as the Explorer Platinum is EPA-rated at 16/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined, and we saw average fuel economy in the midteens during our testing.
As expected considering its weight and dated Taurus sedan-based underpinnings, steering feedback leaves a bit to be desired with not much in the way of heft or feel from the helm; More often than not, you’re left to guessing what the front tires are doing as you head down the road. Although it’s isolated steering leaves something to be desired, it does have the benefit of giving the Explorer Platinum a pretty cushy and well-controlled ride.
Although I doubt many Ford Explorer Platinum buyers truly care about their vehicle’s objective and subjective performance characteristics, interior comfort and features do matter a great deal. On that front, the Explorer is really beginning to both show its age and give up ground to newly revised competitors. For starters the Explorer’s packaging—never its strong suit—is far more cramped than its exterior dimensions would suggest. A door opening that’s too small makes getting into the back seat difficult, and the second row is mounted low to the floor in order to improve the feeling of leg and headroom but at the expense of knee and shin room. Accessing the third row is difficult too, as the second row requires pulling the heavy seat mechanism with two hands to get the seat to tumble forwards. The effort needed to access the third row is hardly worthwhile either, as anyone who’s out of elementary school will likely find space at a premium. As difficult as it is to fold the second row bucket seats, the third row couldn’t be any easier. The third row folds in a 50/50 split via three buttons mounted in the cargo area: up, folded (seats tilted forwards), and stow, which has the seats fold and flip back into the trunk. As with most crossovers, cargo space with the third row in use is at best for a few carry-on size suitcases; you’ll want to fold the third row flat when carrying any real family cargo, such as hockey bags or gardening supplies.
The Explorer Platinum might be the king of the hill of the Explorer line, but its luxury touches disappoint. Sure, there’s your expected uprated leather, cross-stitched paneling, and wood trim, but the quality of the materials left much to be desired considering its $55,155 sticker price. Newer competitors like the GMC Acadia Denali and Mazda CX-9 Signature undercut the Explorer Platinum on price while beating it in opulence and comfort.
Ultimately, that might be the single biggest problem with the new Explorer Platinum and the Explorer as a whole; for every one thing it does well, someone else does it better. Want something roomier? There’s the Honda Pilot. Want something more fun to drive? Look at the Mazda CX-9. Want something more luxurious? Check out the GMC Acadia. The Ford Explorer line might be thoroughly competitive on paper, but its dominance has ultimately led the competition to simply try harder. With others overtaking the Explorer in comfort, packaging, luxury, and dynamics, it’s now finally time for Ford to show “we try harder” when the next-generation Explorer hits the streets in 2019.
|2016 Ford Explorer Platinum EcoBoost 4WD|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$55,155|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 6-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||3.5L/365-hp/350-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,956 lb (55/45%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||198.3 x 78.9 x 71.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.4 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.8 sec @ 93.1 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||127 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.79 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.1 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||16/22/18 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||211/153 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.06 lb/mile|