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From its sport-utility roots, the Explorer has evolved into a proper family crossover in its current form. It's done a better job than most at preserving some of the authority of its SUV roots in a look that's taut and modern.
The softer lines have a more convincing silhouette than, say, a Chevrolet Traverse. There are clean edges, sharp corners, and a fair amount of texture applied to the Explorer's grille and details. We wouldn't go so far as to call it rugged, but the outline is a fond reinterpretation of what made the Explorer a success in the first place. The Explorer's visual DNA may be purely on loan here, but the tall body, big glass areas and the three-bar grille peg it as a Ford as much as its outline.
The 2016 Ford Explorer is moderately updated from last year's version; it's been in its current form since the 2011 model year, when it shifted from a loosely truck-based architecture to one derived from the Volvo XC90 first, then later the Ford Flex and Taurus, and Lincoln MKS and MKT.
You can draw the conclusions from there: the Explorer's no longer a rough-and-tumble SUV. It is a front-wheel-drive wagon with all-wheel drive, and it happens to be one of the more interesting crossover SUVs to drive thanks to boosted engines and a firm grip on ride and handling. Considering the way that owners actually use Explorer models—and have for decades—it's rightly tuned toward all-weather, on-road performance, with a good measure of trail capability baked in.
The Explorer can seat up to seven passengers, but it's sized between the usual five-seat crossovers and the truly large seven- and eight-passenger 'utes—like the Ford Flex, the Honda Pilot, and the General Motors triplets (Acadia, Enclave, Traverse).
By the numbers, the Explorer measures 112.8 inches long between the wheels, 198.3 inches overall, and weighs between 4,400 and 4,900 pounds
In the first two rows, the Explorer never feels cramped for space, though we might ask Ford to put a little more effort into the rear-seat cushioning. The front seats feel like a parting gift from Volvo, which Ford used to own, and from which the Explorer's architecture is derived. The Explorer's front seats, even in basic versions, are supportive and comfortable. Softer cushions are paired with just enough side bolstering where you need it, and the seats are power-operated with heating control.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.