One of the vehicles you’ll see on display at the Chicago Auto Show this week is the 2016 Ford Explorer, which I got to take an advance walkthrough of before it goes on sale this summer. Explorer’s Chief Program Engineer, Arie Groeneveld, gave me a tour of the vehicle and what’s new.
To mark Explorer’s 25th anniversary, the 2016 model is packed with innovative technologies such as wide-angle lens cameras in both the front and rear that are equipped with washers, smart charging USB ports that adapt to the charging draw of the device being plugged in for faster phone and tablet charging, and enhanced park assist that encompasses perpendicular park assist, semi-automatic parallel parking and park-out assist. Under the hood of the 2016 Explorer, you’ll also find a 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine with more horsepower and torque.
Many of the features you’ll find the the 2016 Explorer were based on what customers have been directly asking for, down to the smallest minutia, like the proximity of the armrests to the driver. “We are constantly listening to customer feedback,” says Groeneveld, “Whether it’s emails, or whether it’s [surveys] – we send out surveys from time to time, we read single verbatim that we get from the customer. I, myself, and my team are reading each one of those to make sure that we’re doing everything possible, especially as we go into a model year, and as soon as possible.” So if you write to Ford, you can know that they are really listening.
One of the things Ford has been listening to is the desire from parents to break outside of the standard minivan. “We’re the family adventure SUV,” says Matt Zuehlk, Brand Marketing Manager. Zuehlk discussed how important it was to make the 2016 Explorer practical, attractive, and most of all, safe for families. Explorer was designed to transition seamlessly from day-to-day activities to weekend getaways with the family, be it skiing, hiking, or just taking a day trip. And for those with more designer tastes, the new Explorer Platinum offers the same great standard features with luxury touches to the interior and exterior. In all, the 2016 Explorer lineup is an impressive matchup of form and function that will soon join the 7 million Explorers that have been sold to date.
Have you ever driven a Ford Explorer? Would you take the 2016 model for a spin?