2015 Ford Explorer

 
2015 Ford Explorer
 
2015 Ford Explorer
 

2015 Ford Explorer

MSRP 
$31,595
Invoice 
$30,408
Target 
 
 

Vehicle Highlights

  • Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 24 mpg Hwy
  • Engine: 3.5 L Regular Unleaded V-6, 290 HP
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Drive Train: Front Wheel Drive
  • Passengers: 7
  • Doors: 4

View More Features and Specifications

What You Will Like

The Ford Explorer has been rated one of the safest utility vehicles at any size or price; it's the first vehicle in the world to offer rear inflatable seatbelts. Curve control--a more advanced version of electronic stability control--is also a Ford exclusive. Ford's MyKey system helps parents reel in teen drivers.

The Explorer also stands out for being one of the "greenest" choices available. Ford claims best-in-class gas mileage for non-hybrids and notes that the Explorer EcoBoost will go 20 percent farther on a gallon of gas than the Honda Pilot.

Compare the 2015 Ford Explorer against similar models

What's New For 2015

The Ford Explorer is essentially unchanged for 2015. The Limited trim will offer optional adaptive cruise control and second-row heated seats.

Warranty

  • Basic Warranty: 3 Years / 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain Warranty: 5 Years / 60,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance: 5 Years / 60,000 Miles

A vehicle's warranty can significant impact your maintenance costs after you drive off the dealer's lot, and it's important to understand the different parts. Typically, a new car warranty includes a Basic warranty, which covers everything except the wear items such as brakes and tires; and a Drivetrain warranty, that covers all the parts that make the car move, such as the engine and transmission

NHTSA Crash Test Rating

  • Frontal Driver: 4 stars
  • Frontal Passenger: 5 stars
  • Side Driver: 5 stars
  • Side Passenger: 5 stars
  • Rollover Rating: 4 stars

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) provides consumers with vehicle safety information based on independent testing, primarily front and side crash rating results, and more recently rollover ratings, to aid consumers in their vehicle purchase decisions.

Select options for 2015 Ford Explorer

Est Target Price With Options

$31,595

Est. Savings Of MSRP Price

$0

 
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Excluded Includes: For California Emissions States Registration, Federal Emissions State dealers ordering a California Emissions System (code 422) are also required to use code 93N to attest that the vehicle is to be registered in a California Emissions State, Note: It is a violation of federal law for a Federal Emissions State dealer to sell a vehicle w/a California Emissions System for registration in a Federal Emissions State, unless the vehicle also meets EPA standards (i.e, 50-state emissions) $0 $0
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Engine
Included Includes: Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) system is standard equipment for vehicles w/the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 engine shipped to Federal Emissions States or Cross Border State dealers and is only available w/a Federal emissions system, (FFV system not available w/code 422 and requires code 936 or 423 if applicable for California Emissions State dealer destinations).Cross border states include AZ, DC, ID, NH, NV, OH, VA, WV (STD) $0 $0
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Specifications for 2015 Ford Explorer

Standard Equipment

  • Safety Options
    • Advancetrac w/Roll Stability Control Electronic Stability Control (ESC) And Roll Stability Control (RSC)
    • ABS And Driveline Traction Control
    • Side Impact Beams
    • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
    • Low Tire Pressure Warning
    • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
    • Safety Canopy System Curtain 1st, 2nd And 3rd Row Airbags
    • Airbag Occupancy Sensor
    • Passenger Knee Airbag
    • Mykey System -inc: Top Speed Limiter, Audio Volume Limiter, Early Low Fuel Warning, Programmable Sound Chimes and Beltminder w/Audio Mute
    • Rear Child Safety Locks
    • Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners
  • Entertainment Features
    • 2 LCD Monitors In The Front
    • Integrated Roof Antenna
    • Radio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Speed Compensated Volume Control and Steering Wheel Controls
    • Radio: AM/FM Stereo w/Single CD/MP3 Capable -inc: 6 speakers, media hub w/auxiliary jack and courtesy light
  • Exterior Features
    • Wheels: 18" Painted Aluminum
    • Tires: P245/60R18 AS BSW
    • Steel Spare Wheel
    • Compact Spare Tire Mounted Inside Under Cargo
    • Clearcoat Paint
    • Body-Colored Front Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia Accent
    • Body-Colored Rear Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia Accent
    • Black Bodyside Cladding and Black Wheel Well Trim
    • Black Side Windows Trim and Black Front Windshield Trim
    • Black Door Handles
    • Black Power Side Mirrors w/Convex Spotter and Manual Folding
    • Fixed Rear Window w/Fixed Interval Wiper, Heated Wiper Park and Defroster
    • Deep Tinted Glass
    • Speed Sensitive Variable Intermittent Wipers
    • Front Windshield -inc: Sun Visor Strip
    • Galvanized Steel/Aluminum Panels
    • Lip Spoiler
    • Gray Grille
    • Liftgate Rear Cargo Access
    • Tailgate/Rear Door Lock Included w/Power Door Locks
    • Roof Rack Rails Only
    • Fully Automatic Projector Beam Halogen Headlamps w/Delay-Off
    • LED Brakelights
  • Interior Features
    • 60-40 Folding Split-Bench Front Facing Manual Reclining Tumble Forward Cloth Rear Seat
    • Manual Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
    • Gauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Engine Coolant Temp, Tachometer, Trip Odometer and Trip Computer
    • Power Rear Windows and Fixed 3rd Row Windows
    • 7 Person Seating Capacity
    • Fixed 50-50 Split-Bench Cloth 3rd Row Seat Front, Manual Fold Into Floor and 2 Fixed Head Restraints
    • Front Cupholder
    • Rear Cupholder
    • Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, Illuminated Entry and Panic Button
    • Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
    • Manual Air Conditioning
    • Rear HVAC w/Separate Controls
    • HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts, Auxiliary Rear Heater and Headliner/Pillar Ducts
    • Illuminated Locking Glove Box
    • Driver Foot Rest
    • Interior Trim -inc: Metal-Look Instrument Panel Insert, Metal-Look Door Panel Insert, Metal-Look Console Insert, Chrome And Metal-Look Interior Accents
    • Full Cloth Headliner
    • Cloth Door Trim Insert
    • Leatherette Gear Shift Knob
    • Day-Night Rearview Mirror
    • Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors
    • Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage, Full Overhead Console w/Storage and 4 12V DC Power Outlets
    • Front And Rear Map Lights
    • Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting
    • Full Carpet Floor Covering -inc: Carpet Front And Rear Floor Mats
    • Carpet Floor Trim
    • Cargo Space Lights
    • Driver / Passenger And Rear Door Bins
    • Power 1st Row Windows w/Driver 1-Touch Down
    • Delayed Accessory Power
    • Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
    • Systems Monitor
    • Trip Computer
    • Outside Temp Gauge
    • Analog Display
    • Seats w/Cloth Back Material
    • Manual Adjustable Front Head Restraints and Fixed Rear Head Restraints
    • Front Center Armrest
    • 2 Seatback Storage Pockets
    • Securilock Anti-Theft Ignition (pats) Engine Immobilizer
    • 4 12V DC Power Outlets
    • Air Filtration
  • Mechanical Features
    • Engine: 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 (FFV) -inc: Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) system is standard equipment for vehicles w/the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 engine shipped to Federal Emissions States or Cross Border State dealers and is only available w/a Federal emissions system, (FFV system not available w/code 422 and requires code 936 or 423 if applicable for California Emissions State dealer destinations).Cross border states include AZ, DC, ID, NH, NV, OH, VA, WV Not standard equipment in CA Emissions States.
    • Transmission: 6-Speed SelectShift Automatic
    • 3.39 Axle Ratio
    • GVWR: 6,160 lbs
    • Front-Wheel Drive
    • 58-Amp/Hr 650CCA Maintenance-Free Battery w/Run Down Protection
    • 175 Amp Alternator
    • Towing w/Trailer Sway Control
    • Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
    • Front And Rear Anti-Roll Bars
    • Electric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing Steering
    • 18.6 Gal. Fuel Tank
    • Quasi-Dual Stainless Steel Exhaust w/Chrome Tailpipe Finisher
    • Strut Front Suspension w/Coil Springs
    • Multi-Link Rear Suspension w/Coil Springs
    • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front And Rear Vented Discs, Brake Assist and Hill Hold Control

Tech Specs

  • Brakes Features
    • Brake ABS System - 4-Wheel
    • Disc - Front (Yes or ) - Yes
    • Disc - Rear (Yes or ) - Yes
    • Front Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness (in) - 12.8
    • Rear Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness (in) - 12.8
  • Cargo Area Dimensions Features
    • Cargo Volume to Seat 1 (ft³) - 80.7
    • Cargo Volume to Seat 2 (ft³) - 43.8
    • Cargo Volume to Seat 3 (ft³) - 21
  • Electrical Features
    • Cold Cranking Amps @ 0° F (Primary) - 650
    • Maximum Alternator Capacity (amps) - 175
  • Engine Features
    • Engine Order Code - 998-1
    • Engine Type - Regular Unleaded V-6
    • Displacement - 3.5 L/213
    • Fuel System - Sequential MPI
    • SAE Net Horsepower @ RPM - 290 @ 6500
    • SAE Net Torque @ RPM - 255 @ 4000
  • Exterior Dimensions Features
    • Wheelbase (in) - 112.6
    • Length, Overall (in) - 197.1
    • Width, Max w/o mirrors (in) - 78.9
    • Height, Overall (in) - 70.4
    • Tread Width, Front (in) - 67
    • Tread Width, Rear (in) - 67
    • Min Ground Clearance (in) - 7.6
  • Fuel Tank Features
    • Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx (gal) - 18.6
  • Interior Dimensions Features
    • Passenger Capacity - 7
    • Passenger Volume (ft³) - 151.7
    • Front Head Room (in) - 41.4
    • Front Leg Room (in) - 40.6
    • Front Shoulder Room (in) - 61.3
    • Front Hip Room (in) - 57.3
    • Second Head Room (in) - 40.5
    • Second Leg Room (in) - 39.8
    • Second Shoulder Room (in) - 61
    • Second Hip Room (in) - 56.7
    • Third Head Room (in) - 37.8
    • Third Leg Room (in) - 33.2
    • Third Shoulder Room (in) - 50.8
    • Third Hip Room (in) - 40.7
  • Mileage Features
    • Fuel Economy Est-Combined (MPG) - 20
    • EPA Fuel Economy Est - City (MPG) - 17
    • EPA Fuel Economy Est - Hwy (MPG) - 24
  • Steering Features
    • Steering Type - Rack-Pinion
    • Turning Diameter - Curb to Curb (ft) - 39.2
  • Summary Features
    • Vehicle Name - Ford Explorer
    • Body Style - Sport Utility
  • Suspension Features
    • Suspension Type - Front - Strut
    • Suspension Type - Rear - Multi-Link
    • Suspension Type - Front (Cont.) - Strut
    • Suspension Type - Rear (Cont.) - Multi-Link
  • Tires Features
    • Front Tire Size - P245/60HR18
    • Rear Tire Size - P245/60HR18
    • Spare Tire Size - Compact
  • Trailering Features
    • Dead Weight Hitch - Max Trailer Wt. (lbs) - 2000
    • Dead Weight Hitch - Max Tongue Wt. (lbs) - 200
    • Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Trailer Wt. (lbs) - 2000
    • Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Tongue Wt. (lbs) - 300
    • Maximum Trailering Capacity (N/A) - 2000
  • Transmission Features
    • Drivetrain - Front Wheel Drive
    • Trans Order Code - 44J
    • Trans Type - 6
    • Trans Description Cont. - Automatic w/OD
    • First Gear Ratio (:1) - 4.48
    • Second Gear Ratio (:1) - 2.87
    • Third Gear Ratio (:1) - 1.84
    • Fourth Gear Rato (:1) - 1.41
    • Fifth Gear Ratio (:1) - 1.00
    • Sixth Gear Ratio (:1) - 0.74
    • Reverse Ratio (:1) - 2.88
    • Final Drive Axle Ratio (:1) - 3.39
  • Vehicle Features
    • EPA Classification - Standard Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD
    • Annual CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year - 9.0
  • Weight Information Features
    • Base Curb Weight (lbs) - 4432
  • Wheels Features
    • Front Wheel Size (in) - 18 X 7.5
    • Rear Wheel Size (in) - 18 X 7.5
    • Spare Wheel Size (in) - Compact
    • Front Wheel Material - Aluminum
    • Rear Wheel Material - Aluminum
    • Spare Wheel Material - Steel

2015 Ford Explorer Photos & Colors

Photos

Below are pictures of the 2015 Ford Explorer. Select the picture you want to view below

Available Colors

Below are the available colors for the 2015 Ford Explorer. Select the color to see a close-up view.

  • Deep Impact Blue Metallic Ingot Silver Metallic Oxford White Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat Tuxedo Black Metallic
  • Deep Impact Blue Metallic
  • Ingot Silver Metallic
  • Oxford White
  • Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • Tuxedo Black Metallic

Compare the 2015 Ford Explorer

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Introduction

Ford Explorer is among the best seven-passenger sport-utility vehicles available. It delivers the function and family-friendly features of a minivan with the rugged appeal of an SUV.

 

New for 2013 was an Explorer Sport trim with a twin-turbocharged version of Ford’s 3.5-liter V6 engine, a sport-tuned suspension and all-wheel-drive. Using Premium gas, Explorer Sport makes up to 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. A number of advancements introduced on the Sport edition were added to regular 2014 Explorers.

 

For 2015, a new optional appearance package for the SLT edition promises sport-inspired design details, including black bodyside cladding, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, and leather-trimmed heated seats with suede inserts. Entry-level models now ride on 18-inch aluminum wheels.

 

Explorer gets major revisions for the 2016 model year.

 

Options on Explorer Limited models include a lane departure warning system, heated steering wheel, and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column. All 2015 Explorer models come standard with a front-passenger knee airbag.

 

This current generation of the Ford Explorer, introduced for 2011, features a one-piece, unibody design rather than a ladder-type truck frame with a separate, bolted on body. The result is more car-like driving dynamics, as well as significant weight savings, which translates to better fuel economy.

 

Powering all 2015 Ford Explorer models except the Sport is 3.5-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, four-wheel drive is optional. Although the Explorer does not come with low-range gearing, 4WD versions of the Explorer get Ford’s Terrain Management system, which allows the driver to select from four modes for optimal traction in a variety of driving environments. It also includes hill start assist and hill descent control.

 

Fuel economy with the base V6 engine on front-wheel-drive Explorer models is an EPA-estimated 17/24 mpg City/Highway, or 17/23 mpg City/Highway on 4WD models.

 

Even with regular all-season tires, the Explorer will blast through sand or traverse deep ditches and steep hills, no problem. We know. We did it. And it has the smoothest ride we’ve encountered over such terrain.

 

For maximum fuel economy, front-wheel-drive versions of the 2015 Ford Explorer can be equipped with an optional 2.0-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. Making 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, it delivers an EPA-estimated 20/28 mpg City/Highway.

 

The 2.0 EcoBoost is sufficiently powerful, and acceptable if mileage is the absolute priority. Still, depending on gas prices and how many miles you drive, it can take time to recover the 2.0-liter engine’s $1,000 up-front cost in fuel savings. We prefer the standard 290-horspower V6 with its smooth, strong acceleration.

 

Explorer’s chassis is super rigid, which not only makes for great crash-test scores, but also a quiet cabin, excellent ride quality and solid handling that belies the Explorer’s considerable size.

 

Inside, there is plenty of legroom in the second row, real space for passengers in the third, and up to 80.7 cubic-feet of cargo space. It can be reconfigured in seconds, with split rear seats that fold with a button on each side and bounce back up with the pull of a lever. The interior is smartly styled and well finished. The materials and build quality are quite good.

 

The base Explorer comes well equipped. The upgraded Limited trim is leather-upholstered, with heated-seats and offered with premium audio, navigation and rear-seat DVD entertainment. The MyFordTouch interface is optional, but can be cumbersome and at least a little annoying.

 

Other SUVs to consider in this class include the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Durango, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot or Mazda CX-9. All provide similar or slightly better cargo space, but lack the history and cachet of the Explorer nameplate.

Lineup

The 2015 Ford Explorer comes in four variants: Base, LXT, Limited and Sport. All models except the Sport come with a choice front-wheel drive or four-wheel-drive and are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 290 hp and 255 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated17/24 mpg City/Highway and 17/23 mpg City/Highway on 4WD models. An optional 2.0-liter Ecoboost inline-four-cylinder engine is optional on these same models, which produces 240 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque with an EPA-estimated 20/28 mpg City/Highway.

 

Explorer ($30,600) and Explorer 4WD ($32,600) come standard with fabric upholstery, air conditioning, a six-way power driver seat with manual recline, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, power windows, locks and outside mirrors, a trip computer, 60/40 split-folding second-row seats, 50/50 split third-row seats, a six-speaker audio system with single CD player and auxiliary audio jack, rear privacy glass, roof rails and 17-inch steel wheels with wheel covers. Options include a tow package ($570) and a Sync with MyFord pakage ($295), which adds voice activation, Bluetooth and SiriusSX Satellite radio capability with a six-month subscription.

 

Explorer XLT ($32,900) and XLT 4WD ($34,900) add a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Ford’s Sync voice activation with satellite radio capability, a USB audio port, a keyless entry touchpad on the driver’s door, automatic headlamps, rear parking sensors and 18-inch alloy wheels.

 

Explorer Limited ($38,100) and Limited 4WD ($40,100) get leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio, power adjustable pedals with memory, a cargo net, a rearview camera, remote start, a 110-volt outlet, 20-inch painted aluminum wheels, and the MyFordTouch touchscreen interface. Options include second-row captain’s chairs and a 301A package that bundles ventilated front seats, an eight-way power passenger seat, heated steering wheel with power tilt-and-telescoping function, navigation, a power-folding third-row seat and a power liftgate.

 

Explorer Sport ($42,670) come standard with four-wheel drive and is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that makes 365 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque (using Premium fuel). EPA fuel economy estimates are 16/22 mpg City/Highway. Standard features include sport front seats with fabric upholstery, unique interior and exterior trim, and many of the standard features found on the Limited model.

 

Safety features include Ford’s Curve Control, which monitors vehicle speed going into a corner and applies braking to individual wheels as needed, as well as MyKey, which allows owners to set limits for vehicle speed and stereo volume. Other standard safety features include front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a front passenger knee airbag, stability control, traction control and trailer sway control. Optional safety features include a blind spot warning system with cross-traffic alert on Explorer XLT models and above. Limited and Sport models also get an available lane-departure warning and keeping system, as well as forward collision warning.

Walkaround

Ford Explorer is rugged but refined, familiar but fresh. It’s a foot longer than the Ford Edge crossover, a few inches shorter than the Dodge Durango SUV and about eight inches shorter than the Chevy Traverse. Yet it’s several inches wider than all of them.

 

Beautiful headlights complement the graceful fenders and transform the inherently square nose. The amber indicators sweep back like narrow wings atop tidy main projector beams. The plastic grille is gray on the base Explorer, body-colored on the XLT and satin-chrome on the Limited. The hood looks short from the side, but long when looking straight down it. It’s got two parallel humps and a scoop in the center. Rear taillights are LED, and also look good.

 

The window outline is clean, bold and symmetrical, with blackened A-, B-, and D-pillars, and body-colored C-pillars that slant down and back and impart forward motion to the vehicle. With standard dark privacy glass, from the shoulders up, in white at least, the Explorer looks like a sleek yacht.

 

Wheels are 17-inch steel with plastic covers on the base Explorer, 10-spoke 18-inch painted aluminum on the XLT, and 20-inch painted aluminum with spokes like flower petals on the Limited. The optional 20-inch polished aluminum wheels have spokes like shriveling flower petals or crab pincers, and don’t do justice to the car.

Interior

Fit and finish inside the Explorer are excellent, and we particularly like the Limited’s leather seats.

 

The front seats sit up high, which is good because the hood looks long from the driver’s seat. The slanted center stack has a clean design and uses stylish satin-finish trim materials. The doors have metal speaker grilles, and curve into the dash panel. There’s a big glovebox with a shelf, leather grab handles and armrests on Explorers with leather interior, and long door pockets with space for a bottle.

 

One reason we like the base model is its conventional gauges, relatively simple 4.2-inch LCD screen at the top of the center stack, and familiar mechanical knobs below. The base Explorer doesn’t come with the MyFordTouch driver connect technology, and neither does the XLT, unless it’s chosen as an option.

 

Cars equipped with MyFordTouch have two driver-configurable LCD screens in front of the driver on either side a big speedometer, and an 8-inch color touch screen at the top of the center stack. The screens come in four quadrants and colors: yellow for phone, red for audio, blue for climate and red for navigation. You have to scroll through a lot of stuff to get information, for example engine temperature, and even after you figure it all out, it can take your focus off the road to perpetually configure.

 

It can all be a bit overwhelming, as many of the features and functions can be adjusted in four separate ways: by voice command, by thumb buttons on the steering-wheel spokes, by touching the display screen itself or by using the buttons in the switch stack below, should you choose to do it the old-fashioned way.

 

We found the voice recognition system to be problematic.

 

In terms of spaciousness, the Ford Explorer cabin doesn’t disappoint. Second-row legroom measures an impressive 40 inches; third-row legroom comes in at 33.2 inches. Because the rear doors swing wide and open easily, and because the second-row seat flips forward in a heartbeat, reaching the rear row is an easy climb, even for adults.

 

Cargo volume measures 21 cubic feet behind the third row (comparable to trunk space in a big sedan, and among the best in Explorer’s class), 43.8 cubic feet behind the second row (comparable to a compact SUV or crossover with the rear seats folded), and 80.7 behind the front seats. The cargo space is substantially less than what’s available in GM’s longer trio of crossovers (Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave), but competitive with the rest of Explorer’s competition. There’s a little bit more maximum cargo volume in a Dodge Durango or a Honda Pilot.

 

Still, it’s very easy to change configurations in the Explorer. The second seat folds like magic at the touch of a button on each side, bouncing back up with the pull of a lever.

 

Cubby storage adds convenience. A lidded bin in front of the shift lever is designed to hold two cellphones, and cup holders are provided to the right of the shifter.

Driving Impressions

The Ford Explorer has the practicality, function and family-friendly features of good minivans, with a more rugged appeal and real off-road capability.

 

The optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine packs significant wallop for its size. With a peak of 240 horsepower, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost makes 50 fewer horsepower than Explorer’s standard 3.5-liter V6, or 17 percent less. Yet the four-cylinder is nearly 50 percent smaller than the V6 by displacement. It has more torque than the V6, and better EPA mileage ratings.

 

Yet the problem with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine in the Explorer is that a lot of drivers will be keeping it floored a lot of the time. It often seems like it’s working really hard, with a lot of sound and fury to minimal effect. If fuel-economy is a very high priority, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost will get the job done. But we’d guess most owners would be happier with the 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6.

 

Ford’s dual-overhead cam, all-aluminum V6 is quite efficient in is own right. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with optional manual shifting, the V6 is smooth and responsive, with good acceleration and plenty of torque to maintain 80 mph on an uphill freeway, after a smooth and welcome kickdown to fifth gear.

 

We drove nearly 200 miles in a V6 Explorer, mostly at about 60 mph on casual two-lanes with about a dozen freeway miles running uphill to 80 mph, and averaged about 17 mpg. Before we got on the throttle on the freeway, we saw a 20-mpg average.

 

Ford put all the engineering effort it could muster into the Explorer, and got the ride, handling, and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) results it hoped for. The rigid chassis and careful tuning of the independent suspension produce a superb all-around ride. It takes corners and undulations flat, and the speed-sensitive electric power steering allows it to turn relatively tight and quick.

 

We sampled the AWD Explorer on an off-road course, and we’ve never tested anything off road that absorbed deep ruts and huge humps so smoothly. We’re talking 10 mph here. It was as if the Explorer had a few extra feet of travel in the suspension.

 

The Explorer’s optional all-wheel drive system has no transfer case. That saves weight, and minimizes the fuel-mileage penalty that invariably comes with AWD. Instead, the Explorer maximizes off-road traction with a fancy electronic-control system called Terrain Management.

 

There are four modes to the system, which the driver sets with a knob behind the shift lever. In the Normal mode, on dry pavement, the vehicle runs at about 90 percent power to the front wheels, 10 percent to the rear. Torque shifts to the rear as needed, if the front wheels lose traction and can’t do as much work. Normal mode is what you’ll use most of the time, rain or shine.

 

The Snow/Gravel mode allows less wheelspin, provides conservative throttle control, and enables earlier transmission upshifts. This should help stabilize handling, making the Explorer easier to control in sloppy conditions, though you’ll still need to exercise care when slowing down.

 

The Sand mode provides more aggressive throttle, holds the transmission in gear longer, and desensitizes traction control. Because, unlike in snow, to make progress in sand you need wheelspin. Mud/Ruts allows more torque as throttle increases. Stability control is desensitized to help maintain momentum over soft or uneven surfaces.

 

Terrain Management also includes Hill Descent Control, which proved itself on a steep downhill on the off-road course, holding the Explorer’s speed to 4 mph without driver input. It’s proven itself in many vehicles we’ve tested, including many Land Rovers. On an icy hill, it could save your life or at least help you avoid crashing and damaging your vehicle. If you think you’ll need this feature, it’s worth learning how to use it most effectively.

 

Of course, the standard front-drive Explorer and its various traction enhancing systems do an excellent job in their own right, even in a driving snow, if the travel surface is pavement.

 

The Explorer will tow 5000 pounds when equipped with the tow package, and includes trailer sway control, which works with the stability control. There’s also a rearview camera with zoom, which will guide you to position the hitch ball directly under the trailer hitch cap, and make you feel like an astronaut docking his spacecraft.

Summary

The Ford Explorer is large, good-looking and relatively fuel-efficient crossover SUV with a long heritage, which comes nicely equipped at any trim level.

Sam Moses filed this report to NewCarTestDrive.com after his test drive of the Ford Explorer near Portland, Oregon, with Laura Burstein reporting from Los Angeles.

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Other 2015 Ford Explorer styles
2015 Ford Explorer 4WD 4dr Base
2015 Ford Explorer 4WD 4dr Limited
2015 Ford Explorer 4WD 4dr Sport
2015 Ford Explorer 4WD 4dr XLT
2015 Ford Explorer FWD 4dr Limited
2015 Ford Explorer FWD 4dr XLT

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2015 Dodge Journey FWD 4dr Limited
2015 GMC Acadia FWD 4dr SLT2
2015 Buick Enclave FWD 4dr Convenience
2015 Cadillac SRX FWD 4dr Luxury Collection
2015 Lincoln MKT 4dr Wagon 3.7L FWD

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About These Prices

As you know, pricing cars is particularly complicated. One of our duties at CarQuotes.com is to help our customers comprehend this process better.

Three important prices we may show on a particular vehicle

CarQuotes.com Estimated Target Price is for research purposes only. It reflects a typical, negotiated price (before taxes and other customary fees and charges, such as dealer documentation fees, tire and battery disposal fees, license and registration, and where applicable, finance charges) generally found for the vehicle that you selected. The Estimated Target Price is NOT a price quote from CarQuotes.com or any other dealer. If you request a price quote from a dealer via CarQuotes.com displaying an estimated target price, your price may differ.

Invoice is commonly known as the published amount that the dealer paid the manufacturer for the vehicle. This may or may not represent a close relation to the dealer’s actual cost, but can be beneficial as a benchmark. This figure is available on many other web sites however CarQuotes.com adds an estimate of local and regional fees from manufacturer to the dealers to this price, which makes it very close to the actual invoice amount for cars at your local dealer.

MSRP is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. This is a proposed price only. For most vehicles, the CarQuotes.com price is below this amount. Some high demand cars may be priced over this amount.

Estimated Target Price

The CarQuotes.com Target Price is to be used as a general guide that reflects a typical, market price (before taxes and other customary fees and charges) generally found for the vehicle that you selected. This price is based on our research and estimates of supply and demand in the marketplace. There are many factors that go into the final price of a particular vehicle including local supply and demand. Your final price may differ.

CarQuotes.com Estimated Target Prices include

The ’base’ price of the vehicle
All options that you select
Base Destination Charges — this is a charge that is added to the base price for every vehicle
Any related Estimated Manufacture to Consumer Cash Rebates. Note: rebates are subject to change at any time. Please make sure to confirm any consumer Cash rebates with your dealer representative at the time of purchase.

CarQuotes.com Estimated price(s) do NOT include any of the following:

Local taxes, license fees and other local fees, such as dealer documentation fees, tire and battery disposal fees, and where applicable, finance charges — these fees are also excluded from Dealer Invoice and MSRP and would be excluded from most advertisements you might see.
Random ’special qualification’ rebates — i.e., for new college grads only; for customers trading in a specific type of car.  Ask your dealer Representative for more information on ’special qualification’ rebates.

CarQuotes Estimated Dealer Price

The Estimated CarQuotes Dealer Price is an estimate of the pricing presented to CarQuotes members from CarQuotes Authorized Dealers in your area, and is calculated by subtracting an estimated savings value from the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price ("MSRP") as well as a value that relates to invoice for the "ideal vehicle" you configured. Dealer documentation, administrative or similar processing fees are not included in the price estimate. Any vehicle configured on the CarQuotes website is an "ideal vehicle" and may not exist at a CarQuotes Authorized Dealer or any other partner dealer. Each Dealer attempts to match a member’s vehicle preferences with the best possible selection from current, in-stock inventory.

Estimated Savings

The Estimated Savings represents the estimated amount of savings off of MSRP available to you from CarQuotes Dealers for a vehicle consistent with your configured preferences plus any customer incentives currently available.  This is also true when it comes to CarQuotes estimated target prices. Your actual savings will depend on several factors including market conditions, the style of vehicle you select, installed options, dealer coverage, and applicable manufacturer incentives. Each dealer sets its own pricing.

Advertised Rebates, Special Manufacturer Financing or Leasing Programs

In most cases, you must choose between these programs OR a customer rebate or a special manufacturer-to-dealer incentive that may or may not already be included in your CarQuotes.com Target Price. So, your final price may go up if you take advantage of special manufacturer financing. Credit Union members should contact their Credit Union loan department to determine what type of loan and financing options are right for you.

Please note that CarQuotes.com strives to include identified manufacturer incentives within the CarQuotes.com Target Price. CarQuotes.com does not administer these programs, which are subject to and often change without notice. Eligibility for these programs is subject to verification by a licensed auto dealer.

Ask your dealer representative for complete manufacturer program details for your area, and how participation in these programs will affect your price.

Base Vehicle

The base vehicle is the vehicle before any optional equipment or destination fees have been added. All of the standard features are included in the base vehicle.

Options

This is the total charge for all optional equipment included in the configuration of your virtual vehicle. The Options charge varies depending on whether it is calculated based on the Factory Invoice or MSRP. Options are not included in the base vehicle price and are not considered standard features.

Regional Fees

A Regional Fee is the fee a manufacturer charges a dealer to advertise and promote the vehicle in the dealer’s market. CarQuotes also includes estimated manufacturer preparation charges (manufacturer charges to the dealer to cover any work done on the car prior to delivering it to the dealership) and fuel charges (the charge for the fuel in the tank when the buyer purchases the vehicle) in this total. CarQuotes attempts to include regional ad fees in its Factory Invoice calculations; other sites at times do not.

Destination Fees

These are the amounts that manufacturers charge to deliver a vehicle from the factory to the dealership.

Customer Incentives

Customer incentives are also commonly known as customer cash or bonus incentives. These incentives are offered by manufacturers as a way of enticing buyers into purchasing a vehicle.

 

Note: Dealer Invoice amount might not be the amount that the dealer paid to the manufacturer

Dealer Invoice price may or may not bear close relation to a dealer’s actual cost for the vehicle. In some cases, a cost for a vehicle may be significantly less than the invoice price originally paid for the vehicle. Any difference between invoice price and the dealer’s final cost may be caused by many factors including factory refunds, rebates, allowances, or incentives which the manufacturer or distributor may provide to the dealer.

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