Caraganza First Drive Review 2017 Ford Explorer

(Ford)

(Ford)

The automotive world is downsizing it seems. The trend in the last few years are cars that can zip around downtown streets and park in places normally reserved for garbage cans. Young people, who for some reason enjoy living in the urban jungle, buy these things so they can go a few blocks from the hipster coffee shop to the microbrewery without being too bothered.

And for the record, if a man grows a beard but can’t change his own oil, he needs to do one thing: shave.

For the rest of us, especially the generation that migrated from the cities to the suburbs, we have fewer and fewer large vehicles to choose from; instead there are hybrids, plugins, with plastic fenders driven by mice, or moles, or whatever the hell those rodents in the commercials are.

It almost seems that many manufacturers have given up on those of us who shave regularly, drink plain old non-latte, non-skinny, coffee, and who still get our beer from the corner market, because it’s the “King”, not because it’s a 20 somethings science experiment.

It’s good to know then that Ford still caters to us. This was reinforced recently when they sent me a 2017 Explorer for the week.

The Explorer, as it has always been, is big, in your face, and still bucks the inner-city shrinkage trend.

After a refresh in 2016, for 2017 the only change Ford made was to add a new XLT Sport Appearance package, move a few options around, and swap out the MyFord Touch with the latest Sync 3 infotainment system.

Five trim levels are available, base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum, and three engines can be had.  The Sport and Platinum level are all wheel drive, the base, XLT and Limited can add all wheel drive. The base is pretty well equipped with the top of the line Platinum loaded with just about everything Ford offers.

You can seat six or seven depending on the configuration.

The base and XLT have a 3.5-liter V6 with 290 horsepower, 255 pound-feet of torque, standard, the Sport and Platinum models have a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 with 365 horses and 360 lb-ft of torque. The base and XLT can option in a turbocharged 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.

All models have a six-speed automatic transmission.

I had the top of the line Platinum for the week, thank you very much Ford, with just about everything Ford can put into an Explorer.

(Ford)

(Ford)

The interior is concert hall huge, and my tester had the second-row captain’s chairs, which folded and stowed with ease. With the third-row seats lowered, there was room enough to haul just about anything you might need, even a coffin, should you, well, need to.

With all this interior size, the exterior is of course big as well. However, with the sloping design it doesn’t seem all that big; yet it is.

You would think that with all this bigness the Explorer would be unwieldy and ungainly on the road; well you would be wrong.

I was surprised, pleasantly so, and how agile and nimble the big Explorer drove. There was no turbo lag and the 3.5-liter V6 had more than enough power to sling the nearly 5000 pounds around with ease. All while the perfectly proportioned seats held you comfortably inside the spacious, quiet cabin. Ford even gave me the model with the added seat massager, my favorite all time option in any vehicle.

There’s a reason the Explorer is the bestselling large SUV in America right now. For everything else wrong with the auto industry, Ford, and its Explorer, shows what’s right.

Instead of looking for a place to park where garbage cans are stored on city streets, the Explorer can just run right the hell over them.

The 2017 Ford Explorer (Platinum)
MSRP: $53.235
MSRP (as tested): $55,420
Engine: 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6, 365 horsepower, 350 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 6-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 16 city, 22 highway, 18 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 20 mpg
Base Curb Weight: 4901 lbs.

Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity:     7
Passenger Volume: ft³     151.7
Front Head Room: in     41.4
Front Leg Room: in     42.9
Front Shoulder Room: in     61.5
Front Hip Room: in     57.3
Second Head Room: in     40.6
Second Leg Room: in     39.5
Second Shoulder Room: in     61
Second Hip Room: in     56.8
Third Head Room: in     37.8
Third Leg Room: in     32
Third Shoulder Room: in     50.8
Third Hip Room: in     40.7

Cargo Area Dimensions
Cargo Volume to Seat 1: ft³     80.7
Cargo Volume to Seat 2: ft³     43.8
Cargo Volume to Seat 3: ft³     21

Trailering
Dead Weight Hitch – Max Trailer Wt.: lbs     5000
Dead Weight Hitch – Max Tongue Wt: lbs     500
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Trailer Wt.: lbs     5000
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Tongue Wt.: lbs     500
Maximum Trailering Capacity: lbs     5000

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase: in     112.8
Length, Overall: in     198.3
Width, Max w/o mirrors: in     78.9
Height, Overall: in     70
Track Width, Front: in     67
Track Width, Rear: in     67
Min Ground Clearance: in     8.3

Warranty
Basic: 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion: 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 5 Years/60,000 Miles

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.

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