Red Candy Metallic paint ($395), Rapid Spec 302A ($4,810 -- includes power-folding third-row seats; perforated leather-trimmed seats; multilevel heated/cooled front seats; eight-way power front passenger seat with power lumbar support adjustment; voice-activated navigation system with in-dash touchscreen, SD card slot for map and POI [point of interest] storage and integrated Sirius Travel Link with real-time traffic and 6-month prepaid subscription [not available in Alaska or Hawaii]; power liftgate; Active Park Assist; Adaptive Cruise Control and collision warning with brake support and head-up display; rain-sensing front wipers; BLIS [Blind Spot Information System] with Cross Traffic Alert; HID [high-intensity-discharge] headlamps); Rapid Spec 302A Package Discount Credit (-$810).
Naturally aspirated, port-injected, V6, gasoline
3,497cc (213 cu-in)
DOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
290 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
255 @ 4,000
Six-speed automatic with console shifter and manual mode
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
I = 4.484; II = 2.872; III = 1.842; IV = 1.414; V = 1.000; VI = 0.742; R = 2.882; FD = 3.39
Fairly uneventful and unexpectedly consistent runs. It didn't matter whether traction control was on or off, or if I used a little or a lot of pedal overlap. Engine sounds a little thrashy in upper revs. Upshifts are quick with a bit of harshness.
First stop was shortest, with the third stop 6 feet farther -- but held constant thereafter. Moderate dive, medium-firm pedal that remained so throughout. No drama, no anomalies, average performance.
Skid pad: Highly regulated by nondefeatable stability control that takes the throttle away. Steering feels appropriately weighted at this speed and offers some feel. Hard to know what the true balance is with stability control, which keeps the runs sublimit. Feels neutral as is. Slalom: Despite the very high driving position, the Explorer feels exceptionally composed and confident -- right up to the moment the stability control starts brake-checking at every cone. Turn-in is crisp, transitions are good and it just feels more capable than the 58.5-mph run would indicate. Probably very nice out in the real world.