2017 Ford Explorer Limited AWD Test Drive Review

2017 Ford Exlorer

Join me in reviewing my time behind the wheel of Ford’s 2017 Explorer Limited!!!

Vehicle Stats


2017 Ford Explorer

Trim:   Limited

Exterior Color:  Canyon Ridge

Interior Trim:  Black Leather

Drive:  AWD

Engine: 3.5L V6 DOCH 24V

Fueleconomy.gov MPG Reports:  Combined – 19, City – 16 Highway – 23 

My MPG:  20.4 avg 60% Highway, 40% City

First impressions: When Ford starting building the Explorer on its current unibody platform in 2011. Part of me was sad because with that change a piece of its rugged, off-road heritage died. But let’s be realistic. Explorers aren’t purchased to drive off road in extreme conditions. They are purchased to transport people from A to B on smooth, maintained roadways. Switching to a unibody FWD platform allowed Ford to provide customers with a vehicle much better suited to modern driving conditions. I think the Explorer looks great and its features are well designed and thought out.

Ride, Drive & Comfort: The vehicle had a smooth ride. It handled rough roads and transitions with ease. We had an ice storm two days ago. The Explorer performed great on the icy roads. The all-wheel drive and braking system worked superbly. It worked so well in fact that if one wasn’t careful, he / she could end up over confident in their abilities. Or underestimate the severity of road conditions. Which, you can’t really fault Ford for building an AWD drive and braking system that works so well that slick roads become easily navigable. The Explorer I drove was a Limited and equipped with almost every option available. I have driven base model Explorers before, while they were perfectly adequate. If your preference and budget allow, the convenience and comfort upgrades are well worth it! Heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, remote start, HID headlights are a few items that don’t require further explanation that I thoroughly enjoyed. A couple features that I do want to go into more detail on is Ford SYNC 3 and power folding rear seats. I personally own a vehicle with first gen Ford SYNC. At the time it was nice to be able to use the phone hands free or play music from our phone through the car stereo. But we found it to be a bit glitchy, and as a result we don’t often use it. I found SYNC 3 to be a completely different experience. All I had to do was plug my phone into the USB port and it instantly identified it and showed my apps that were SYNC compatible. From there all I had to do was select play and I was listening to music. No switching menus or having to talk to the car, only to have it not understand what I said. It was a seamless, very pleasant experience. Next onto the power folding third row seats. This feature has been around for some time. It used to be if your Ford had power folding seats. You had to push the button and hold it in until the seats reached the folded position (which for the most part was still better than doing it manually). Those days are gone! Now all you have to do is tap the button and the power folding seats take it from there. So, when you’re approaching your Explorer, arms full of groceries. You can open the power liftgate (hands free) and simply tap the fold seats button with one finger, knuckle, elbow or whatever appendage you have available. The seat/seats fold themselves. Moving onto visibility, I found forward and side visibility to be very good. When looking over my shoulder while backing. I did find the second-row headrest blocked visibility out of the side cargo area windows. Like many other Ford vehicles this Explorer had a large display for the back-up camera which provided a way to view blind spots created by the headrest.

Engine performance: This is the second Ford Suv / Crossover I have reviewed with the 3.5 V6. Just like my previous review of the Ford Edge. There isn’t much to say. At 290 HP and 255 lb-ft of torque Ford’s 3.5 V6 is a very good match for this vehicle. It had ample power for quick acceleration and passing. The engine did what it was supposed to, when I was supposed to do it at a level that met my expectations.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the Ford Explorer. I am actually sad to see this test drive come to an end. The Explorer is a sharp looking, versatile and practical vehicle. With great power, smooth ride & ample storage.



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