by Bob Cowan
Sitting inside this Ford Explorer Platinum edition it’s clear to see Ford has some plans for this line. It appears the company is going after some prestige nameplates in the mid size crossover SUV market and may even go after one of its own in the Lincoln Nautilus. It’s not there yet but I thoroughly enjoyed my time inside this beautiful cabin and behind the real wood steering wheel. The Nirvana leather seating with “Platinum” embroidery was nicely contoured for long drives. The Platinum package is at the top of four available trim options and includes the features of the XLT, Limited and Sport packages plus the aforementioned seating, a huge twin panel moon roof and the Ford Safe and Smart package. This package includes very useful lane drifting and collision alerts as well as advanced cruise control that maintains vehicle distance.
The Explorer looks great inside and out. Another luxury brand that should be threatened by the Explorer is Land Rover. It actually looks like it shares some DNA with the Discovery although not really the case. They only shared the same owner once upon a time. While it may not be the most capable off road vehicle, there’s not a lot this mid-size crossover SUV can’t do. It can tow 5000 pounds, there’s room for seven and when those seats are folded it holds 81 cubic feet of storage space.
It’s lonely at the top
The SUV and Crossover category is the most popular for buyers as well as the most crowded with many excellent choices. So it is no small feat that the Explorer is the best selling SUV in the world. The current generation has been around since 2011 with a few tweaks since. The 3.5 litre EcoBoost V6 is a reliable power plant found in many Ford product including the Flex, Fusion and Edge. The twin turbocharged version in the Platinum provides a more than decent 365 horsepower with 350 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a six speed ‘SelectShift’ with intelligent all wheel drive and different terrain modes for wherever you find yourself. SUV’s and their high centre of gravity are not known for great handling but the Explorer and it’s 20 inch wheels feel firmly planted while cornering. Speaking of cornering, have you ever found yourself in a situation when you didn’t see that curve coming? The Explorer is the only vehicle in this class to provide curve control which will slow you down as much as 16 km/hr in one second in such situations. As for economy, my numbers were not far off from the advertised 14.8/10.7 L/100 km city/highway. Overall the Explorer Platinum has a smooth ride and I was also impressed with how quiet the cabin is.
There’s no shortage of tech on board the Explorer Platinum but you will have to add just over $2000 Cdn to get the rear seat entertainment system. The Sony sound system with Clear Phase and Live Acoustics turn this cabin into a concert hall. The Platinum also has a Wi-Fi hot spot, USB charge hub and voice activated touchscreen nav with Sirius XM. The Ford – Sirius XM Travel Link gives you weather, fuel prices, sports and stock market info right on to the nav screen.
If you’re looking for a higher end SUV/Crossover with a sticker price that comes in under the luxury nameplates the Platinum edition is definitely wortb exploring.
2019 Ford Explorer Platinum 4WD
Price as tested $64,964.00 Cdn.
Powertrain: 3.5 litre turbo charged EcoBoost V6. 6 speed automatic 4WD.
Fuel economy: ) 14.8/10.7L/100 km city/highway *Regular fuel
Towing rating: 2,268 kg.