Matt Zuehlk, Ford Explorer brand manager, talked to Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, Driving the Nation, about the 2016 Ford Explorer that was shown at a preview before the Los Angeles auto show. Zuehlk describes the Platinum as the “highest execution of Explorer ever”.
“Bringing Explorer Platinum to market is a natural extension of the Explorer lineup, giving our customers even more of what they want,” said Zuehlk. “There’s a market for more upscale SUVs, as 90 percent of today’s Explorer Sport buyers purchase the most expensive package available. That’s a strong signal customer are ready for Platinum.”
“Customers love Explorer, and expect this SUV to lead the way in innovation, performance, and fun,” said Arie Groeneveld, chief engineer for the new Explorer. “It’s a tall order, but we’re aiming to build the best SUV in the world.”
Groeneveld talks about the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that delivers at least 270 horsepower and at least 300 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost replaces the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder available for the current model.
The 2.3-liter EcoBoost is available on the base, XLT, and Limited series. The new powerplant is expected to give customers 12.5 percent more horsepower and 11 percent more torque over the current 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. It improves highway passing times 10 percent at speeds between 55 mph and 75 mph.
The new Ford Explorer Platinum comes standard with the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, extracting 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. The Platinum will also have intelligent four-wheel drive with Terrain Management System, dual-panel moonroof, satin chrome lower bodyside cladding insert, satin chrome mirror caps, 20-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, and collision warning with brake support.
There are real wood accents, and unique stitching on the steering wheel, 500-watt Sony Audio System, leather-wrapped door and console armrests, leather-wrapped instrument panel, and upper door trim, Nirvana leather seats, all-digital instrument cluster, enhanced active park assist with park-out assist and perpendicular park, and lane-keeping system.
What is the towing on the 3.5-liter?
What is the trailer tow capability? Will there be a four-wheel drive?
What did Ford do to get 5% better aerodynamics?
Christopher Svensson, Ford design director, The Americas, talks about the five percent increase in aerodynamics through active grille shutters that open at highway speeds, minimizing the drag coefficient, flush roof rails, rear spoiler sculpted with aerodynamics angles, straked D-pillars.
The most ingenious is the open-air curtain, which Svensson explains.