Vehicle Spotlight: 2017 Ford Explorer

Ah, the trusty Ford Explorer. How many families drove that almost cringe-worthy hunter green Eddie Bauer trim like a badge of honor back in the 90s? The current-generation restyling is a long cry from the early days. Because it is chock-full of space, improved safety tech, and loaded with upgrades, the 2017 Ford Explorer is the envy of every SUV in its class. A redesigned body, smooth styling, and an impressive interior put it right in line with models like the Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Santa Fe, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Desirable three-row seating for seven eliminates the need for Granny’s minivan. Fold the rows down to create additional cargo space for gear and groceries, or keep it locked in position to cart the kids and their friends. Buyers also have the option of bucket second row seating, maximizing comfort for families willing to reduce to six seats.

The rugged XLT Sport Appearance package made its debut in 2017, a trim that features 20” Magnetic Gray wheels as well as an updated grille, mirror caps, rear appliqué, ebony body-side cladding, and roof rack. And it, of course, dons the exclusive Explorer hood badge. This trim lives up to its name with features like a hands-free liftgate for active multi-taskers. The Sport also comes standard with LED low-beam headlights. Step inside and settle into Dark Earth Gray leather front seats and Miko suede seatback uppers and inserts. This latest option joins four other trim levels, including the ultimate Platinum.

Built Tough… And Safe

Choose from a 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that delivers 280 horsepower; a base, XLT, or Limited option with a 3.5L V6 generating 290 horsepower; or Sport and Platinum models that feature a 3.5L twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 making 365 horsepower. All engines have the same six-speed automatic transmission and are available in front wheel or all-wheel drive. These also carry a Terrain Management System for tackling those tough, dirt, pot-hole stricken roads.

Given the Explorer’s reputation as a vehicle with towing muscle, buyers will appreciate the standard trailer sway control. This safety feature applies braking to individual wheels of the vehicle to adjust to the weight of a swaying load. The 2017 Ford Explorer also accounts for its size with its Curve Control feature, adjusting throttle and braking for safer turning, reducing rollover. And no matter what road you choose, the Explorer has many more safety features to protect you and your passengers. For 2017, Ford added Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support to the Blind Spot Information System. Inflatable rear safety belts is a new option available only on the XLT model.

Last year’s reboot of what is now a staple model proves to be in 2017 Ford’s commitment to the Explorer. Because with a number of options for customers to choose from, one thing is clear – Ford combines style, comfort, and rugged ability for a crossover SUV that lives up to its name.

Be sure to see how the 2017 Ford Explorer stacks up against competitors in the Engine Block’s upcoming SUV/CUV feature.

This feature was co-writtten with automotive freelancer Mitchell Bardo.

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