Mike West Road Test: 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum

When a car company slaps the word platinum on a vehicle, I guess that means that it’s the best of the best, the ultimate, the pinnacle of design and quality.

Well, Ford mostly pulled it off with the 2016 Explorer Platinum edition. I think Fords are cool cars. Our daughter is still driving her 2000 Focus and it looks and feels rock solid to this day.

The Explorer feels like it’s built out of one hunk of steel. Sure, you have to spend over $50,000 dollars for all the bells and whistles but wow do you get a lot of stuff for your hard earned dough. And for a large ride, the Explorer felt pretty nimble and easy to navigate in the lousy traffic here in Seattle.

My test vehicle even included massaging seats. While that may sound crazy, they kept my old aching back feeling groovy. It was like driving one of those Brookstone chairs that you chill in at the mall while your kids are shopping at the Gap

The good looking exterior takes a lot of cues from Land Rover. And so will the upcoming 2017 version.

I thought the interior was great too, with very high quality materials, supportive heated and cooled passenger seats and heated rear seats.The big moonroof lets a lot of light into the living room sized cabin. The downer lies in Fords Sync infotainment system. It’s dated compared to offerings from GM, and Chrysler to name two and it’s just not up to snuff for a modern vehicle. In this case, give me some good old fashion buttons and knobs any day. The other little niggle I have with the interior is a place or lack of a place for your left foot. For a giant vehicle, you would think there would be a little room for a foot!

The twin turbo 3.5-liter Ecoboost engine is hooked up to a six-speed transmission. The combo does the Explorer well. Average fuel economy is 18 miles per gallon.

Safety features abound including adaptive cruise control, active park assist, lane keeping system, reverse sensing, a rear view camera and so much more.

In our stage of life with grown kids, we would never need a vehicle the size of the Explorer, but I sure understand why they fly out of Ford showrooms. Price for my test vehicle proudly assembled in Chicago, $53,815.

Mike West CBS

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