2015 Ford ExplorerBuying Guide • Review • Research
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Available in four distinct trim levels, each one of them competitively priced, the 2015 Ford Explorer is somewhat larger than previous years' models. There are also three different engine options, something not offered on the few competing models in this segment. The list of optional features is larger than ever before, and buyers can choose from several convenience and sports packages.
What's New For 2015
The uplevel XLT trim now has an available Appearance Package option. This includes 20-inch alloy wheels and leather seats containing suede inserts. All of the uplevel trims now come with a few more interior amenities, some of which are standard while others are optional equipment included with the Equipment Group 201A package. Otherwise, the vehicle remains virtually unchanged from last year's model.
Top Ten Reasons To Buy A 2015 Ford Explorer - The Pros
1) Comfortable, Quiet Ride
One of the problems with most crossover vehicles, especially those built on a sturdy platform, is the problem of vibration and road noise. The 2015 Ford Explorer is an exception. The ride is very quiet, and there is no choppiness when driving over uneven road surfaces. The suspension is top-quality, and the noise-dampening features are the best in this segment. The Sport trim has advanced sport-tuned suspension and refined steering control, making it one of the most responsive SUVs on the market.
2) Three Engines From Which To Choose
The standard engine on the 2015 Ford Explorer is a 3.5L V-6 power source that delivers a total of 290 horsepower. Typical of vehicles in this segment, this engine is connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but buyers can choose 4-wheel drive if they want more traction over uneven surfaces. An optional, more fuel-efficient turbocharged 2.0L, 4-cylinder engine is available on all front-wheel drive Explorers. This engine is still peppy enough, with a total of 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The uplevel Sport trim has an available turbocharged V-6.
3) Nice List Of Standard Features
The base trim Explorer comes with automatic headlights, rear privacy glass, and a 6-way power driver's seat. Both the middle- and third-row seats are split-folding, so arranging the cabin to accommodate extra cargo is relatively simple. The standard driver info viewscreen is rather small at 4.2 inches, but it is very easy to navigate.
The uplevel XLT trim adds a rearview parking sensors, a keyless entry code pad, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. This trim can be upgraded to the Equipment Group 201A Package containing such niceties as a rearview camera and a 9-speaker sound system. The luxurious Sport Package has an upgraded braking system, front sports seats, and a power liftgate.
4) Towing Capability
Unlike some of the other mid-size crossovers and SUVs, the 2015 Ford Explorer has a very respectable towing capability. Up to 5,000 pounds can be towed on the trims with the V-6 engine.
5) Ford's Curve Control
One of the latest technical innovations from Ford, this control monitors the vehicle's speed combined with centrifugal force and can perform an automatic deceleration if necessary. This makes for easier handling around sharp corners and decreases the chances of an uncontrolled skid on slippery roadways.
6) Optional MyFord Touch
This optional feature includes a high-resolution display screen with touch-sensitive controls for audio and climate. The Sync voice commands are much quicker to respond than what was offered on previous years' models.
7) Five-Star Crash Ratings
The 2015 Ford Explorer is one of the safest SUVs on the road. It has earned a 5-star rating for overall crash protection, front-impact, and side-impact protection.
8) Competitive Price
Nationwide, dealers are offering the base trim at around $32,000. Dealer incentives may significantly reduce this price tag. The uplevel XLT trim averages about $34,000.
9) Plush Interior
Nicely appointed, the 2015 Ford Explorer has soft interior upholstery, excellent materials quality for the interior cabin, and well-placed convenience features such as console compartments and cup holders.
10) Available Driver Alert Systems
The uplevel trims can be purchased with lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and front-collision alert with brake priming.
Reasons You May Not Want To Buy A 2015 Ford Explorer- The Cons
1) Less Than Average Cargo Space
Although the vehicle has nice dimensions and looks roomy enough, the cargo area has a maximum of 80 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded. This is less than most all the competition in this segment.
2) Poor Visibility
The tall columns and the window configuration makes for large blind spots. This is not the perfect vehicle for maneuvering in parking lots.
3) Bulky Feel For The Driver
Although the vehicle handles nicely, it takes some getting used to. Some drivers simply don't like the way the Explorer feels when operating it in city traffic or in parking lots. The turn radius is not very impressive, either.
How It Stacks Up To The Competition
1) 2015 Ford Escape
2) 2015 Ford Edge
3) 2015 Ford F-150
4) 2015 Ford Explorer
5) 2015 Ford Expedition
6) 2015 Ford Fiesta
7) 2015 Ford Fusion
8) 2015 Ford Focus
9) 2015 Ford Taurus
10) 2015 Ford Mustang
2014 Ford Buying Guide
Fortunately for Ford, there aren't many competing models in this segment. The Chevrolet Traverse and its GM twin, the Arcadia, have just as much power, handle just as nicely, and feature as many trim options. For many consumers, the Dodge Durango comes out on top of this segment because of its excellent interior features and state-of-the-art driver info and passenger entertainment tech equipment. Another alternative is the popular Toyota Highlander. This model has a more powerful engine yet achieves the same fuel mileage as Explorer. However, the uplevel trims of these competing models are somewhat more expensive.
Overall, this model is a solid choice for those who want a dependable, tough-as-nails SUV for city driving as well as road trips. It is exceptionally well-built, features plenty of equipment options, and is priced similarly to all other vehicles in its class. So long as the oversized blind spots and small storage capacity aren't a deal breaker, Explorer is a smart choice.