Quick Look: The 2016 Ford Explorer, Ready For Adventure

2016 Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer is ready for any kind of adventure.

New 2016 Ford Explorer shines in the Platinum edition.

To highlight the adventurous and luxurious spirit of the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum, I drove from Durango, Colorado to Albuquerque, New Mexico, from mountains to desert and I got to experience something unexpected; such dramatic changes of temperature that I needed the heated seats in morning, and the cooled seats by late afternoon. Who knew the temperature, and terrain, could change so much over the course of a day?

2016 Ford Explorer

Colorado mountains are a great backdrop for this ready for adventure SUV. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

But the Platinum edition of the 2016 Ford Explorer was up for the challenge. And it can handle whatever you throw at it; it can tow a boat, and 4WD lets it climb mountains.

Comfort first

2016 Ford Explorer

The quilted seats in the Platinum edition of the 2016 Ford Explorer are heated or cooled AND massaging. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Besides attending to your temperature needs, the Explorer also considers your need for massage. Massaging seats for both the driver and passenger mean no leg cramps or stiff backs. You can set the massage function to address just your legs, just your back, or both, and you can have the massage at low or high speed. I thought the high speed was wonderful – not a Bliss massage, but just enough to make me feel energized during a long drive.

Bringing the outdoors in

2016 Ford Explorer

We let the sun stream in; but could still see the touchscreen and Sony audio controls. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Dual sunroofs are gaining popularity, with good reason; they allow both the front and center seat passengers – and even those in a third row – to enjoy fresh air. If you are driving an Explorer, you are likely someone who enjoy outdoor activity, so why not feel the breeze? The double power sunroofs in the Explorer made the cabin bright and airy, and the screen protects eyes and ears.

Through the eyes of a dad

We often chat with female engineers who interject their mom perspective in vehicles – an easy way to open the lift gate when holding kids, or a simpler entry into the 3rd row.

2016 Ford Explorer

What adventure will you choose for a 2016 Ford Explorer? Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Platinum used the perspective of a dad, chief engineer Arie Groeneveld. Arie said his first vehicle was a Ford Explorer, which he used on his mountain biking and wind surfing trips. As the father to young triplets, he still drives a Ford Explorer, but said, “now the adventure has changed.”

He was instrumental in adding the foot-activated lift gate, which he said saves him when he is corralling three kids into the SUV.

All the latest safety

Whether you are ferrying your kids, or bringing your friends hiking, you can arrive safely with a suite of safety features. The Platinum Explorer has a blind spot monitor, front and rear view cameras, cross traffic alert and an advanced lane keeping assist. The lane keep gives you a warning if you drift, corrects your steering if you don’t, then further advises you to take a break from driving with a coffee cup icon if you continue to drift out of your lane.

There are as inflatable rear safety belts, forward collision warning and rain sensing wipers.

True luxury

This may be the year of the quilted seat. The 2016 Kia Optima just came out with its quilted seats, in the front and rear. In the Explorer, there are quilted seats in the first and second rows, and the pattern is repeated on the door panels.

A Luxurious Touch: Leather Wrapped Heated Steering Wheel. Credit: Judy Antell For Agirlsguidetocars

A luxurious touch: leather wrapped heated steering wheel. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Brushed aluminum and leather on the heated steering wheel and door trim, and real wood and soft leather trim make for a sumptuous feeling throughout. After all, just because you are capable of hiking 10 hours, competing in an Ironman or jumping out of an airplane, you still can enjoy the finer things. In fact, imagine driving home after running a marathon and having those massaging seats soothe your tired muscles.

2016 Ford Explorer

The quilted pattern from the seats is repeated in the door trim, along with real wood and soft leather. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Great little touches

The Platinum Ford Explorer also has a 500 watt premium Sony sound system with 12 speakers, one that lets you truly enjoy the music. We listened to live music on Sirius XM and I felt like I was at the concert.

2016 Ford Explorer

We tried out a lot of different Sirius XM stations. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

The full size SUV has smart USB chargers that can quickly charge a phone and a tablet, and side sensors to help guide you through a drive-through or parking garage.

And the Platinum upgrades the rear and front view cameras with washers on the lenses. After all, what is the point of a camera that helps you see if the lens is covered by the muck and grime from your muddy mountain adventure?

2016 Ford Explorer

You have different options for folding the 3rd row of seats, plus a charge port in the rear. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

What We Loved

  • Seats 7 comfortably (if you get bench seat in 2nd row; 6 if captain’s seats)
  • Massaging seats for front 2 passengers -heaven
  • Lots of smart USB chargers quickly power your devices
  • Great Sony sound system
  • Washers on rear and front view cameras
  • Special traction for mud, snow or gravel
  • Advanced safety features
  • Platinum edition includes all great features, standard
2016 Ford Explorer

With the 3rd row of seats up, there isn’t that much luggage space. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

What You Need to Know

  • Price: $52,970 and that’s it; all the great amenities are standard in the platinum edition
  • 16 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 18 combined; lower if you are towing
  • Takes regular fuel
  • Not a lot of truck space if you fill all the seats
  • 3 year / 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty
  • 5 year / 60,000 mile power rain warranty
  • 5 year / 60,000 mile roadside assistance

Note: I was a guest of Ford, which provided my travel and accommodations; opinions expressed are my own.

Judy Antell, who is TravelingMom.com's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell