2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Redefines Luxury

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The country’s most favorite SUV turns 25 this year, and has been redesigned to celebrate. The 2016 Ford Explorer tones down the style for the new year to give it a more conservative look, but Ford upped the ante by offering a fully-loaded Platinum version. Ford invited us to Canada to check out the Platinum, and we must say, we’re impressed.

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Recently, we spent time in the Ford F-150 Platinum, which (until the Limited is launched) is one of the most luxurious Ford branded products you can buy. The leather is superior. You can order it with tons of different options. But what Ford managed to accomplish in the F-150 is dwarfed by the Explorer Platinum.

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Everthing you can see and touch in the Explorer Platinum is real. The aluminum trim pieces? Real. The wood trim on the steering wheel? Real. Wait, is that leather on the dashboard? Yes, yes it is. It’s not a stretch to say this is the nicest Ford interior we’ve ever been in, and that includes the Lincoln models.

Even if you aren’t in the market for an Explorer Platinum, if you get a free chance go sit in one. It’s difficult to articulate how solid the interior feels, and how well it’s put together.

Another thing that can’t be articulated well in print is how good the Sony premium audio system is. New, and exclusive, to the Explorer Platinum is a premium audio system that features Live Acoustics and Clear Phase technology. The long story short is that you have to listen to it to believe it. During the demo we received, we heard instruments in songs that we knew that we had never heard before.

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All of the audio technology is tuned for optimal listening right out of the box. There’s no need to adjust the levels or turn anything on. It’s just on, and it sounds great. As a reminder though, crap in equals crap out. To get the most out of this, or any other high quality audio system, you have to give it a good audio input source. The stereo supports HD Radio, SiriusXM, Bluetooth audio, and USB connections. My advice? Get the highest quality MP3 (or lossless) file you can get, or a CD, and go that route.

The other great thing about the Explorer Platinum is everything is standard. The only options you can choose from is if you want two captain’s chairs in the second row instead of a bench, or if you want certain color that costs more. That’s it. Everything else is standard.

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That means you get the 3.5L EcoBoost V6. That means you get LED headlights, forward and reverse cameras with washers, parallel and perpendicular park assist, adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert, heated and cooled seats, and the ability to tow 5,000 pounds (under the SAE J2807 standard).

The Explorer Platinum is last year’s Sport model and Limited model merged together, and then kicked up a couple of notches. Also, for the first time, the Explorer feels like it’s worth the asking price, which comes in starting at $53,665 with destination.

This is one of the nicest Fords we’ve ever driven, and is one you should definitely check out if you need a full-size SUV, want luxury features, but also want to stick with the Blue Oval.

What do you think? Let us know over in the forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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