Ford’s Explorer continues to prosper in the marketplace, mainly because it’s a true family SUV. Following the philosophy of not messing with success, few major changes are expected for 2015. The size will remain the same, but the front will get new headlamps and a grille with more elegance and more rounded lines. The rear lights will get a new trapezoidal form. A complete redesign is a more likely possibility for 2016.
The interior will still have third row seating with the possibility of accommodating up to 8 occupants. Like most large SUVs, Ford’s 2015 Explorer will have rear seats that flip and fold for added hauling and storage flexibility. As with many automakers, the cabin will use new, better quality materials to create an overall impression of comfort. The instrument panel includes a large touch screen to display and control a variety of infotainment and auxiliary equipment using the latest technology.
The 2015 Ford Explorer will offer three engine versions. First, the standard for base models is the 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. With fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, it has been an easy choice for most buyers
Ford’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is another option. It produces 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque and gets excellent fuel economy estimated at 28 mpg on the highway. Ford has plans to increase these numbers at least to 30 mpg in the future. What will certainly succeed in the 2015 Ford Explorer will be improvement of the aerodynamics and use of new lightweight materials. It’s only a matter of time until we see Explorers getting 30 mpg or better.
The third and most powerful engine is in the Sport model. It’s a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine that produces 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Front wheel drive is standard and intelligent 4WD with terrain management system optional. All engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Ford’s SelectShift function which allows manual shifting will be standard on 2015 Explorer models with the V6 engine. Explorer towing capacity remains at 5,000 lbs.
Rumors of a Hybrid Explorer for 2015 have not been substantiated and there appears to be little possibility of producing an Explorer in China—but things can change.