2015 Ford Explorer

Starting MSRP: $30,700 - $43,100

Estimated MPG: 17 city / 24 hwy

2015 Ford Explorer Review

The 2015 Ford Explorer is a midsize SUV with space for six or seven people. An available all-wheel drive system supplies off-road capability for Ford’s popular three-row SUV.

The Explorer is a three-row SUV that’s available with standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. Three engine choices are offered, and the 2015 Explorer comes in base, XLT, Limited and Sport trims.

Modest changes were made for 2015, including an upgrade to the Appearance package for the XLT trim, bringing in new wheels, as well as special body cladding and badging. The entry-level model gains new 18-inch painted aluminum wheels, and three new exterior colors were introduced.

Exterior

Exterior

The 2015 Explorer offers an assertive look, combining elegance and sportiness, with the latter especially evident on Sport models. The front fascia is marked by a bold horizontal grille that’s offset by sleek, wraparound headlamp assemblies. The Explorer’s athleticism is evident in its strong shoulders, long roofline and raised beltline. Distinct wheel arches and fashionable alloy wheels come with each trim.

The rear fascia features blacked-out rear roof pillars for a wraparound look, as well as oversized LED combination lamps and an available power liftgate. Trim upgrades and appearance package options bring in 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, black cladding and fog lamps.

Interior

Interior

Inside, the Explorer offers three rows of seating. The standard second-row bench can be upgraded to a pair of captain’s chairs, reducing passenger carrying capacity from seven to six. At the same time, the six-place arrangement offers improved legroom and easier access for the third row. Cloth seats are standard, while leather seats are optional on the Explorer XLT and standard on the Limited edition.

All models are equipped with full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column and cruise control. Limited and Sport models come standard with heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. Model options include adjustable pedals, inflatable second-row seatbelts and a dual-pane sunroof.

The Explorer has 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Cargo volume behind the second-row seat measures 43.8 cubic feet, while lowering the second and third rows opens up 80.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

Performance

Performance

Three engine choices are available in the 2015 Explorer, depending on the trim level. A 3.5-liter V6 engine making 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque is standard on all base, XLT and Limited trims. The Explorer gets 17/24 mpg city/highway with this engine and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models get slightly lower estimates of 17/23 mpg city/highway.

Customers may also choose a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Available on front-wheel drive models only, this engine delivers 20/27 mpg city/highway.

The 2015 Explorer Sport is powered by a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. This four-wheel drive model includes a terrain management system and makes 16/22 mpg city/highway.

Each engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. When properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Technology

Technology

The base 2015 Explorer comes with a six-speaker audio system. Ford’s voice-activated Sync system, Bluetooth and a USB port become standard with the Explorer XLT. Ford also offers the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, as well as a rearview camera, navigation, keyless access, push-button start, a Sony audio system, an SD card reader, satellite radio and HD radio.

Ford’s MyKey system is standard equipment, which allows parents to encourage safe driver habits by limiting the Explorer’s top speed and stereo volume. A rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist and blind spot monitoring are optional.