Quick Summary For 2016, the Ford Explorer receives noticeable exterior changes as well as the availability of a new 280-horsepower, 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that promises 28 mpg on the highway. Thanks to ample space, a pleasant ride and excellent functionality, the Explorer ranks high on our list of favorite three-row SUVs. The new 2.3-liter engine is merely adequate, however, so we would suggest the more powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine option.
What Is It? The 2016 Ford Explorer is a three-row, midsize SUV available in either front- or all-wheel drive with one of three engines. The base engine is a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 290 hp and 255 pound-feet of torque. The new midrange engine is a 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 280 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Topping the range is a twin-turbo V6 that makes 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. All engines use the same six-speed automatic transmission.
The base Explorer, one of five trim levels, starts at just over $30,000. The base trim comes standard with a 60/40-split folding second-row bench and a third row split 50/50. A rearview camera, Sync with 911 assist, a USB port and 18-inch wheels are also standard. A step up is the XLT which upgrades the interior cloth, adds 10-way power driver seat (six-way power passenger seat), Sirius XM radio, push-button start, backup sensors and an exterior keypad entry pad.
Next up is the Limited. This trim starts at $42,195 and is where the Explorer finally gains leather seating surfaces that are heated and cooled. It's also equipped with 20-inch wheels, a 12-speaker Sony stereo, front-view camera, hands-free liftgate and navigation. Then there's the Sport model that gets various blacked-out trim pieces, 20-inch aluminum wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, all-wheel drive and the twin-turbo V6 as standard. It starts at $44,195.
Topping the range is the new Platinum trim Explorer at $53,495. We didn't have a chance to sample this version, but Ford's promising "Nirvana leather with micro-perforation and quilting" as well as a heated steering wheel with leather and real wood, heated second-row seats, quilted leather on the door panels, satin chrome exterior bits, high-end Sony stereo, automatic parallel and perpendicular parking, lane-keeping assist and rain-sensing wipers.
How Does It Drive? In a word: Big.
The current-generation Ford Explorer has never had particularly good forward sight lines and the hood feels like it extends well beyond where it actually ends. It makes cresting hills, turning left or driving in traffic more of an adventure than any of these activities need to be.
Once you get over that metaphorical hump, the Explorer rides very well. The Sport's ride was the most controlled, soaking up bumps without drama. Even the Limited trim handled highway imperfections with aplomb. There's some suspension softness, as you'd expect, without any of the wallowing aftershocks some other SUVs are guilty of.
Aside from the Explorer feeling bigger than it really is, the brakes are the only other sticking point. Like with most SUVs, the pedal travel is long and that's good. What's not good is their lack of progressiveness as they're ineffective for the first half of the pedal stroke and then jumpy at the bottom. You get used to it fairly quickly, but we would prefer a more linear feel.
What's New Under the Hood? The biggest news with the 2016 Ford Explorer is the availability of the new 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. It delivers 280 hp and 310 lb-feet of torque. Coupled with front-wheel drive, it will return 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway according to the EPA. With all-wheel drive the city number drops to 18 mpg, while the highway number is unchanged at 28 mpg.
On paper, this engine sounds like the much-hyped "V6 power with four-cylinder fuel economy!" solution we've always been promised. In certain circumstances, it delivers. On an open highway, or a lightly undulating two-lane blacktop, the 2.3 settles into a nice, low-rpm hum and cruises effortlessly. We didn't have the opportunity to burn through enough fuel for an mpg evaluation, but 28 seems reserved for only these ideal conditions as the engine simply doesn't cope well with the Explorer's 4,571-pound weight during acceleration.
From a stop, the four-cylinder is noisy, gasping for air as you merge with traffic. There's a lull in the power off the line and then a surprise surge of power around 3,000 rpm. Similarly, when the 2.3-liter EcoBoost-equipped Explorer encounters any elevation, the combination of "too little power, too much weight" adds up to a vehicle that can't keep a constant speed or pick a single gear. It's possible that an eight-speed automatic would provide the right gearing, letting this powertrain find its sweet spot, but there's an easier solution already in the Explorer's toolbox in the form of the twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.
This motor produces 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque and is infinitely better prepared to handle the daily duties of such a large vehicle. On the same uphill sections and merging areas that flummoxed the four-cylinder EcoBoost, this V6-powered Explorer excelled. Beyond simply being able to keep pace, the 3.5-liter V6 sounds and feels more refined. It's never harsh. Never buzzy.
Fuel economy estimates for this powertrain haven't been released yet, though the 2015 model returned 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway). And that's not the only hit you'll take. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost is only available on the higher-end Sport and Platinum trims with all-wheel drive which start at $44,195.
Should neither of these solutions work for you, there's one more option: The base, non-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. This motor makes less power and torque than the four-cylinder turbo yet feels virtually the same on the road. Fuel economy estimates are 17 city/24 highway for front-drive and 16/23 for all-wheel-drive models. This engine not only saves you the $995 premium the 2.3-liter motor costs, it, like the EcoBoost V6, can be optioned to tow up to 5,000 pounds. The 2.3 can only tow 3,000 pounds.
What's the Interior Like? The interior of the 2016 Ford Explorer is largely carried forward from the 2015 Explorer. This includes the large, easy-to-use center stack with big, colored buttons for climate control and seat heaters/coolers, and Ford's better-every-year Sync infotainment system. The seats are covered in durable-feeling leather and are flat and comfortably wide for drivers who like to shift a bit to get situated. Taller drivers may find the seat bottoms on the short side.
Second-row passengers are treated to dual USB ports for charging and more than enough leg- and headroom. By pulling a strap, the second row flops forward allowing access to the third row of seats which are still tight for adults. There's limited headroom and, really, the easiest way to get out is via the hatch. For kids and short trips they're more than adequate.
When those seats aren't being used to shuttle various ride-moochers, they can be folded flat into a well in the rear cargo area creating a large, flat load floor that'll hold a week's worth of luggage for a family of four. Easily.
No matter which seat you're in, or which configuration you've selected, the Explorer is a pleasantly quiet place to spend time. The suspension makes little noises as you cross pavement seams and there's a slight whoosh from the all-season tires.
Everything else, save for the aforementioned engine noise, is muted. With the Explorer knocking on the door of luxury SUV pricing, Ford has anticipated being held to a higher standard and has responded correctly.
What Competing Models Should You Also Consider? Chevrolet Traverse: The Traverse hasn't been refreshed as recently as its main competition, but it's a solid midsize SUV thanks to its large interior and simple controls.
Honda Pilot: The 2016 Honda Pilot is all-new. It's got a new V6, nine-speed automatic, less weight and more passenger room than before. We were very impressed when we drove it recently.
Toyota Highlander: Thanks to a powerful V6, generous space, composed ride and ease-of-use, the Toyota Highlander received an "A" rating.
Why Should You Consider This Car? You want a refined and practical midsize SUV that offers a wide range of options and price points. From the fuel-efficiency of the new turbocharged four-cylinder to the luxury of the Platinum model, this new Explorer has a little bit of everything. Add in some innovative feature and a smooth, quiet ride and the Explorer is a solid pick amongst a field of strong contenders.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car? If you don't need seven-passenger seating, a smaller SUV would feel more comfortable around town. New turbocharged, four-cylinder engine has the potential for delivering solid mileage, but feels strained under tough conditions like climbing grades. Third-row seat isn't as spacious as some others in the class.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
2016 Ford Explorer Overview
The 2016 Ford Explorer is offered in the following submodels: SUV. Available styles include XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A). Explorer models are available with a 3.5 l-liter flex-fuel (FFV) engine or a 3.5 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 365 hp, depending on engine type. The 2016 Explorer comes with all wheel drive or front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The 2016 Explorer comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2016 Ford Explorer?
Save up to $300 on one of 211 used 2016 Ford Explorers for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $21888 as of Dec 16, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 152 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2016 Ford Explorer trim styles:
The 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum is priced around $39931 with average odometer reading of 23469 miles.
The 2016 Ford Explorer Base is priced around $24157 with average odometer reading of 25206 miles.
The 2016 Ford Explorer Limited is priced around $31095 with average odometer reading of 28306 miles.
The 2016 Ford Explorer XLT is priced around $25678 with average odometer reading of 37171 miles.
The 2016 Ford Explorer Sport is priced around $32374 with average odometer reading of 38590 miles.
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Is the 2016 Ford Explorer a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2016 Ford Explorer and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2016 Explorer featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2016 Ford Explorer? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2016 Ford Explorer and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2016 Explorer 3.4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2016 Explorer.
Vehicle Platinum 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A)
Review Full disclosure--I'm reviewing based on a week traveling with this as a rental vehicle as sort of an extended test drive before making an expensive purchase! Maybe this won't get published as a result and interpret accordingly. I've read all the online reviews of the 2016 model, looked at all the specs, compared to several other competing models that I've researched and test driven, and had some extended seat time before arriving at my conclusions. Disregard required ratings for things that can only be evaluated with months and years of ownership time like reliability, maintenance costs, etc. under the "Reliability" and "Value" categories. Overall, this is a great vehicle and I understand why many people ultimately decide to purchase one. It has the combination of luxury, styling, technology and performance that's hard to beat. The turbo v6 is a treat and I averaged 22-23mpg across over 500 miles of driving 70-75mph. City mileage in true urban/suburban traffic leaves a bit to be desired as I was more in the 12-14mpg range then, though perhaps not appreciably different from the normally aspirated standard v6. I also appreciate the lane-keeping assist (though not always reliable even when lanes clearly painted and favorable conditions for it to work). Most of the electronics and "Sync" were good, though I kept getting a "usb input error" message on screen from one of the charging ports used to charge phones that I don't get anywhere else. Will chalk that up to Microsoft and perhaps the next generation Sync3 on next year's model will improve some of these little annoyances. The highway ride is quiet and smooth, with minimal steering adjustments required to keep it tracking straight. I enjoyed driving it and all the electronic parking aids are useful though I didn't try the parallel parking assist. In the interest of keeping this review fairly short, won't go into all the details of everything I checked, but overall found the technology and features in this model to be very good. It's not going in my garage, however, for one simple reason--seat comfort. I plan for this vehicle to be the family roadtrip hauler and this is the fatal flaw for me. I can nitpick a few other items that I wasn't thrilled about, but could learn to live with, but seat comfort is a major problem area for me at least. Even with the Platinum's "Nirvana" leather and seemingly infinite amount of adjustment (including massaging seats), I eventually developed significant lower back pain over the course of many consecutive hours behind the wheel. I'm not sure if the highly inboard dead pedal placement is part of the equation, but the seat cushions' contours felt too narrow and the bottom cushion too short (at 6' 1", I'm not tall enough to expect that to be an issue) resulting in sciatica symptoms. I tried to wish them away as I really liked the vehicle enough to strongly consider buying one. Could just be the way it fits me, though I'm apparently not alone given what I've read here and elsewhere. For reference, both the Dodge Durango and Toyota Highlander (the latter with it's inflatable front seat edge extender for more thigh support) feel much more comfortable to me. There may be other vehicles in this class with even better seat comfort, though I have ruled them out for other reasons. My recommendation--try to get some extended seat time to confirm long-haul comfort if traveling on long trips is part of the intended use. Such a nice vehicle, though it won't work for me.
2016 Ford Explorer inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Ford Explorer for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1456 new and 1881 used and CPO 2016 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 18977 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2016 Ford Explorer. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 10526 on a new, used, or CPO 2016 Explorer available from one of 2807 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Is the 2016 Ford Explorer safe? The 2016 Ford Explorer earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.5 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
2016 ford explorer XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, flex-fuel (unleaded/e85) 19 combined MPG 16 city MPG/23 highway MPG
2016 ford explorer XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, flex-fuel (unleaded/e85) 20 combined MPG 17 city MPG/24 highway MPG
2016 ford explorer Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, regular unleaded 18 combined MPG 16 city MPG/22 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2016 Ford Explorer?
Available Ford Explorer 2016 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: XLT, Eddie Bauer, Limited, XLS, Sport, Base, Platinum, XLT Sport, NBX, XL
Exterior Colors: Tuxedo Black Metallic, Blue Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat, Black Clearcoat, Sterling Gray Metallic, Platinum Dune Metallic Tri-Coat, Shadow Black, Smoked Quartz Tinted Clearcoat Metallic, Deep Impact Blue Metallic, White Gold Metallic, Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Ingot Silver Metallic, Silver Birch Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Side Metallic, Red Fire Clearcoat Metallic, Black, Dark Blue Pearl Clearcoat Metallic, Magnetic Metallic, Blue Jeans Metallic, Cinnamon Glaze Metallic, Canyon Ridge Metallic, Oxford White, Sterling Grey Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, White Platinum Metallic Tri-coat, Caribou Metallic, Kodiak Brown Metallic, Guard Metallic, White Suede Clearcoat, Sunset Metallic, White Suede, Dark Stone Clearcoat Metallic, Red Candy Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Pueblo Gold Clearcoat Metallic, Green Gem Metallic, Sangria Red Clearcoat Metallic, True Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Kona Blue Metallic, Medium Wedgewood Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Torch Red, Aspen Green Clearcoat Metallic, Blue Flame Metallic, Brilliant Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Cherry Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Copper Clearcoat Metallic, Vapor Silver Clearcoat Metallic, White Sand Tri-Coat, Oxford White Clearcoat (Fleet), Bordeaux Reserve Red Metallic, Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Cinnamon Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl Metallic, Ginger Ale Metallic, Mineral Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Cashmere Clearcoat Tri-Coat Clearcoat Metallic, Golden Bronze Metallic, Stone Green Clearcoat Metallic, Toreador Red Clearcoat Metallic, Tropic Green Clearcoat Metallic, Carbon Clearcoat Metallic, Ceramic White Tri-Coat Clearcoat Metallic, Deep Jewel Green Pearl Metallic, Estate Green Clearcoat Metallic, Gold Leaf Metallic, Mineral Gray Clearcoat Metallic, Sport Blue Clearcoat Metallic, White Pearl
Interior Colors: Charcoal Black leather, Medium Light Stone leather, Medium Light Stone cloth, Medium Stone leather, Ebony Black leather, Ebony Black premium leather, Charcoal Black premium leather, Charcoal Black premium cloth, Medium Parchment, Black leather, Camel leather, Ebony Black premium cloth, Medium Light Stone premium cloth, Ebony Black w/Red Accent Stitching leather, Medium Light Camel cloth, Midnight Grey, Pecan premium leather, Medium Light Camel leather, Medium Light Camel premium cloth, Charcoal Black w/Sienna Insert leather, Charcoal Black w/Sienna Insert premium leather, Medium Soft Ceramic premium leather, Camel leather/suede, Graphite, Black cloth, Medium Light Stone premium leather, Camel cloth, Stone leather, Medium Prairie Tan, Black/Camel (Late Availability) leather, Black/Stone leather, Dark Earth w/Ebony Black leather/sueded microfiber, Medium Graphite, Stone cloth
Popular Features: Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Headlights, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, 5000lb Towing Capacity, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Back-up camera, Bluetooth, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Post-collision safety system, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Third-row seating, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, USB Inputs, Alarm, Parking sensors, AWD/4WD, 6000lb Towing Capacity, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Navigation, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Pre-collision safety system, Cooled Seats, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Mobile Internet, Towing Hitch, Upgraded Stereo, Sunroof/Moonroof, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Remote Start, Blind Spot Monitoring, Adaptive Cruise Control, Upgraded Engine, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Automatic Emergency Braking, Rear Entertainment System, Lane Departure Warning, Heads up display