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Trims and Powertrains

Ford makes the Explorer in eight trim levels: Base, XLT, ST-Line, Timberline, Limited, ST, King Ranch, and Platinum. The first four come equipped with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four rated for 300 horsepower. The higher trims have the 3.0-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 pushing out 400 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque. Both powerplants work with a 10-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. A Terrain Management System comes standard and gives drivers seven modes to select from: Normal, Trail, Deep Snow/Sand, Slippery, Sport, Tow/Haul, and Eco.

The standard configuration of the base powertrain and rear-wheel drive returns an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway. Adding all-wheel drive drops the rating by 1 mpg, both in the city and on the highway. With the V6 and RWD, the EPA estimates 18 city/26 highway, but the latter drops to 24 mpg with AWD.

Standard Features

The Explorer Base has cloth upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, an 8-way power driver’s seat, a 4-way manual passenger seat, five 12V power outlets, dual first-row USB ports, a 4.2-inch LCD instrument panel cluster, a second-row 35/30/35 split-folding bench seat, a third-row 50/50 split-folding bench seat, a power liftgate, LED headlights (auto on/off) and taillights, and 18-inch five-spoke Sparkle Silver aluminum wheels. The XLT goes to a six-person capacity with second-row captain’s chairs in lieu of the bench seat. It also adds proximity keyless entry, a 10-way power driver’s seat, a 4-way power passenger seat, heated front-row seats, second-row captain’s chairs, push-button start, a leather-covered steering wheel, dual second-row USB ports, a 6.5-inch instrument panel cluster, power-folding heated sideview mirrors, a black mesh grille with chrome bars, and black roof-rack side rails.

With the ST-Line, expect LED fog lights, ActiveX seating with Miko inserts and red stitching, remote start, an 8-way power passenger seat, wireless device charging, multi-color ambient lighting, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching, rain-sensing windshield wipers, dual chrome exhaust tips, a body-colored rear spoiler, special blackout treatment for the headlights and taillights, an EXPLORER hood badge, and 20-inch machined aluminum wheels. The Timberline comes with AWD and the Class IV Trailer Tow Package, which is an option for the other trims. It’s also more rugged, with steel underbody skid plates, off-road front struts and rear shocks, 8.66 inches of ground clearance, and a 3.58 Torsen limited-slip rear axle. It has a different look as well, thanks to deep tangerine stitching on its ActiveX seats with heathered-cloth inserts, trim-specific badging, and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with deep tangerine stitching.

The Limited has ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, micro-perforated leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, second-row sunshades, ambient interior lighting with multiple colors, dark Carbonized Grey grille with chrome bars, and 20-inch premium painted aluminum wheels. The ST’s extra-sporty look comes from silver contrast stitching on the seats, quad chrome exhaust tips, a heated sport-style steering wheel with the ST logo, and front and rear black skid plates. It also gets the V6 engine, paddle shifters, a sport suspension, a 12.3-inch instrument panel cluster.

The King Ranch also gets the V6, plus Del Rio leather, wood interior trim, power-folding third-row seats, position memory and auto-dimming for the exterior mirrors, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a mesh grille insert painted Stone Gray, silver-painted front skid-plate elements, unique badging, and 20-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels topped with a King Ranch center cap. The Platinum gets adaptive headlights, perforated leather upholstery with diamond-quilted inserts, a satin aluminum grille, and 21-inch bright machined-aluminum wheels.

Advanced Driver Aids

Every Explorer includes the base suite of Ford Co-Pilot360 safety technology, consisting of lane-keep assist, driver-attention monitoring, lane departure warning, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, pre-collision assist with forward automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, blind-sport monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection. At the ST-Line level, the standard package becomes Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+, which adds adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, voice-activated navigation, evasive steering assist, speed sign recognition, and lane centering. A surround-view camera is added at the ST-Line and higher trims, except for the ST. The King Ranch and Platinum add reverse automatic emergency braking, while just the Platinum gets adaptive headlights. Active Park Assist is an option for the ST and Platinum.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The Base trim gets the SYNC 3 infotainment system featuring an 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hotspot, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a six-speaker sound system. The XLT and higher move up to a 10.1-inch touchscreen. Voice-activated navigation and HD Radio become standard starting with the ST-Line, as does a top-quality Bang & Olufsen sound system with 12 speakers and a subwoofer (a 14-speaker upgrade is optional as well).

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