Ford Gives Explorer a Refresh, New Engine and a Likely Overpriced Platinum Trim

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After 25 years the Explorer still remains a strong seller.

Today's Ford Explorer is quite different from the one that debuted 25 years ago. Back in 1991, the Explorer was a pure SUV built on the same platform as the old Ranger pickup truck. Today it's become a crossover, sharing a platform with the Taurus sedan. But no matter, as the Explorer remains a strong seller. And now it's time for the current generation's mid-life refresh. Having its official premiere at the LA Auto Show is the 2016 Explorer, now available with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine.

Available on the base, XLT and Limited series, it delivers more horsepower (total of 270 hp) and torque (300 lb-ft) than the four-cylinder it replaces. The 3.5-liter V6 still remains the standard engine. Ford adds that the new EcoBoost doesn't sacrifice in overall fuel efficiency. Other new features include front and rear cameras with washers, enhanced parking assist, hands-free liftgate, Active Grille Shutters, and smart-charging USB ports throughout. There's also a new top trim level: the Platinum Series. For an unannounced price, this will get you brushed aluminum and satin-finished ash wood on all door panels and the instrument panel, plenty of leather, and a 10-inch digital display.

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The exterior receives LED headlamps, dual-panel moonroof, front and rear silver-painted skid plates, and 20-inch wheels. This refresh also brings an exterior update that Ford describes as "rugged." Basically, the grille and headlamps have been touched up. Expect sales to get underway in the very near future.

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