2016 Ford Explorer Platinum: A Car That Massages You (Yes, Really!)

Ford Explorer Platinum 2016
Our Ford Explorer Platinum made an impromptu spot for boudin in Louisiana thanks to the trusty navigation guidance. Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Ford Explorer Platinum makes a family road trip relaxing.

What if I told you that you could take a roadtrip with your kids and when they started bickering you could completely block it out while the driver’s seat massaged your fanny and the heat function soothed away your tension? You would probably think I was making it up. But in the Ford Explorer Platinum 2016 it is miraculously possible. It’s hard to be cranky when your butt is being kneaded. Go ahead kids – poke each other, Mommy doesn’t care.

We had a Disney trip planned for April. For once I was WAY ahead of the game. There is something about Disney that sends me into list mode whereas most of my other trips are very spontaneous. I had bought our airline tickets in November, so when Ford asked me to test out an Explorer Platinum and roadtrip it instead I had a very sheepish conversation with my husband.

Me: “So, um, you love the kids right?”

Husband: “Why? What do you want?”

Me: “How about we drive to Disney instead? I’ve got a car to review and it will be fun.”

Husband: “It sounds like we have very different versions of fun.”

After some discussion we realized that we could easily cancel and maintain the funds on the airline tickets (thanks Southwest!), that the drive would be 16 hours but because my husband had a shift change at work we had the time to break it up over up to 3 days, and that we would go for it. It afforded us the opportunity to save the ticket values for a trip to see our family in the Northeast this summer and we squeezed in a trip to New Orleans on the way (the 5 year old has a serious beignet addiction).

Who this car is for

  • Families with kids who are out of car seats. Because we had full sized car seats in the second row our son ended up having to climb over the center console to get back into the 3rd row. Leaning the seat/sliding it forward for access is tricky
  • Families with kids on sports teams: the ability to push a button and have the 3rd row stow and come back up makes it perfect for unexpected friend pickups and sports gear
  • For the busy parent on the go you can’t beat a great navigation system and massaging seats to make your time spent in the car more pleasant


Ford Explorer Platinum Review

Platinum means high end

After picking up the car I started to check out its features. Third row? Check. Leather seats? Check. Heated and cooled seats? Check. In Texas a cooled seat is just about the best feature you can have in August. The big questions was what made the Platinum special. The second my EMT husband saw the Explorer he said “that looks just like our squad cars”. Once inside he determined “but fancier.” So off to the station I sent it with him where the guys on duty checked out all the extra Platinum features. Basically the Platinum is a Ford Explorer with a ton of high end options. Standard on the Platinum are:

  • Dual-panel moonroof
  • Adaptive cruise control and collision warning
  • Power adjustable pedals with built in memory
  • 3rd row power-folding 50/50 split bench seat
  • Hand free power liftgate
  • A whole host of snazzy trims in chrome on the exterior, leather seats with decorative stitching, wood paneling on the interior.

The short version here is the guys 100% approved of all the neat features in the Platinum Edition and would be thrilled to have their squad vehicles upgraded. I mean what paramedic doesn’t want to have a massaging seat in hour 20 of a 24 hour shift?

Hard to use our car seats

Buried Car Seat Anchors And Tricky Access Made It A Long And Arduous Process To Install Our Daughter'S Car Seats. Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

Buried car seat anchors and tricky access made it a long and arduous process to install our daughter’s car seats. Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump for AGirlsGuidetoCars

The anchors for car seats are buried pretty deep in the seats; they do not stick out at all. Car seat installation that would take us less than five minutes in one of our cars became a 30 minute ordeal complete with sweating and curse words. The safety tether that is located in the middle back of the seat was in a strange spot that was almost unreachable. My daughter’s Britax has the simple fat anchors where you just click down and it would not install in this car; there just wasn’t a way for us to spread the leather enough to fit the click part down there. We ended up having to use our Graco seats with the clip anchors.

What We Loved

  • Massaging seats! I’m pregnant and we were in the car for 16 hours. On the way back from Florida it was just me solo with my three year old. I cranked those heated seats on, turned on the massage and was in my happy place. All roadtrips should come with massaging seats
  • Climate control vents were very conveniently located to allow everyone from 1st to 3rd row to control their AC levels. There was also a great console between the two 2nd row seats that stored all of the girls’ art supplies and play materials
  • The navigation system. I drive a lot of cars for work and more often than not I end up letting loose with a string of swear words repeatedly as the navigation fails me. Not with this system. Not only did it offer some valuable time saving detours but it previewed what was coming up so I could click the coffee cup symbol and see the names of the coffee shops off the next few exits to determine if it was worth the stop. This feature alone made our trip so much easier
Ford Explorer Platinum Navigation

The Ford Explorer’s navigation showed upcoming exits and what was off them. A great feature when you’re searching out a cup of coffee on hour 13 of your drive! Photo credit: Nasreen Stump for AGirlsGuidetoCars

  • The seats are all grown up size. The 3rd row easily accommodated my 12 year old son who is the same height as me. The power folding feature that folded 50% of the seat at the time was super convenient. When I needed to rearrange the luggage in the parking lot of a New Orleans La Quinta at 11pm I was able to easily move things from one side of the trunk to the other raising the seats one side at a time. And since it was power push button folding I didn’t have to lean my pregnant belly over the dirty bumper to grab any straps and pull!
Ford Explorer Platinum 3Rd Row

The roomy rear seats and power folding 3rd row won us over in the Ford Explorer Platinum. Photo credit: Nasreen Stump for AGirlsGuidetoCars

What you need to know

  • Base price: $52,000; price for the model I drove, with fancy tricoat and bucket seats in 2nd row, $55,000
  • Fule economy: 22 on the highway, 16 in the city; 18 miles per gallon combined. We averaged 20-22 mpg
  • Difficult to install car seats
  • No running boards. I spent a lot of time hoisting myself into and out of the car and my three year old couldn’t lift herself in
2016 Ford Platinum Explorer

2016 Ford Platinum Explorer Monroney


Disclosure: The Ford Platinum Explorer was provided to me by Ford for this review. The opinions expressed are my own.



Nasreen Stump is a freelance travel writer and Director of Social at Travelingmom.com. She has rented hundreds of cars... More about Nasreen Stump