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Ford Explorer Review

The 2016 Ford Explorer ranks 10 out of 13 Affordable Large SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Ford Explorer, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2016 Ford Explorer is ranked:

The 2016 Ford Explorer has powerful engines and composed handling, auto writers say, but they add it has cramped seats, poor outward visibility and is difficult to maneuver.

Critics write that the 2016 Ford Explorer has ample power from its base V6 engine. Turbocharged four-cylinder and V6 engines are available, and reviewers note they are very powerful. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. According to the EPA, the 2016 Explorer earns 17/24 mpg city/highway with the base engine, which is typical for the class, and 19/28 with the turbocharged four-cylinder, which is very good for the class. Auto journalists report the Explorer rides comfortably and handles well for a large SUV, with properly weighted steering. However, they say the Explorer's poor outward visibility and large size make it tricky to maneuver.

Some reviewers note that materials in the 2016 Ford Explorer are of high quality, though others note that only the top-of-the-line Platinum trim has an upscale interior. A few auto journalists note that the front-row seats are uncomfortable and that the second- and third-row seats are small. They say overall the cargo area is ample, and that it is easy to maximize space due to the flat loading floor. Standard features include Ford's voice-activated Sync system, a rearview camera, a USB port and MyKey, which allows parents to set speed and audio level restrictions for young drivers. Optional features include front and rear parking sensors, a front wide-view camera, a 12-speaker Sony audio system, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, front seats that are heated, ventilated and power-adjustable, navigation, parallel and perpendicular park assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. Auto writers report that the infotainment system is improved from previous years, as most are pleased that there are buttons for common audio and climate controls rather than touch-sensitive controls.

  • "The 2016 Ford Explorer isn't as versatile or roomy as some other large, three-row crossover SUVs, but it is still a respectable pick in this class thanks to its high-end cabin, improved safety and driver aids and comfortable highway ride." -- Edmunds
  • "Ford didn't reinvent the wheel with this version of the Explorer, but it has focused on fixing some things that needed it - like the climate controls - and improving in areas where it could do better, like replacing the old 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Overall, it's a promising revision. The final test, though, will come in the market against competitors that aren't exactly standing still either." -- Cars.com
  • "The good news is that they didn't make any obvious mistakes with the new model. Put another way, if you liked the 2015, you should like the 2016 at least a bit more." -- AutoWeek
  • "While the new front-view camera and front parking sensors surely help maneuvering in parking lots, there's no question that the new Ford Explorer is still a big beast, and could be unwieldy." -- Kelley Blue Book

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Other SUVs to Consider

The Mazda CX-9 has very nimble handling, critics say, and it has excellent maneuverability in traffic and in turns. They find it has a powerful V6 engine, and that adults can fit comfortably in all three rows of seats.

Test drivers report that the Chevrolet Traverse has a spacious cabin, with roomy seating for up to eight and one of the biggest overall cargo areas in the class. Reviewers add that the interior is quiet and constructed with top-notch materials.

Compare the Explorer, CX-9 and Traverse »

Details: 2016 Ford Explorer

The 2016 Ford Explorer comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. It seats up to seven, and a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. There are two optional EcoBoost engines, including a new-for-2016 turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, as well as a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. The Explorer comes in base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum trims. It receives some interior and exterior updates, but is otherwise largely unchanged for 2016. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 to 2016 model years.

See 2016 Ford Explorer specs »

Review Last Updated: 6/8/15

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