Ford’s sport utility golden boy is going Platinum, with a new trim level added to the Explorer lineup for 2016, due in September 2015.
North America’s best-selling SUV for the past 25 years gets the well-appointed treatment of Ford’s top model level with a combination of performance-intended goodies from the Explorer Sport and comforts from the Limited. Ford Explorer Platinum will hit showrooms in September.
The new Explorer Platinum takes the perennial best-selling three-row SUV to new levels with standard upgrades such as new multi-adjustable seats, driving aids and an industry first 500-watt premium Sony sound system.
The talking point of the new trim level’s interior is the all-new Sony Audio System with Live Acoustics (which recreates concert hall sound dynamics) and Clear Phase technology (which eliminates sound dispersion for pinpoint sound delivery to cabin occupants).
“Explorer is about pushing boundaries, and authentic high-end home theater sound isn’t just for the living room anymore,” said Craig Patterson, Ford utilities marketing manager. “The new Platinum series gives customers everything – including a sound system that will knock your socks off.”
At the core of the system are 12 high-power speakers (capable of a maximum power output of 500 watts) in 10 carefully selected locations, plus an all-new Class D amplifier to deliver a power source that doesn’t lose power while driving speaker output without straining. Optimized for sensitivity, the speaker array is made up of center and surround speakers, a subwoofer with an 8-inch driver and a 12-litre enclosure for tight and full base tones, and door woofers and chrome tweeters with translucent grilles to preserve sound integrity.
Even the speaker coils are a unique square shape, instead of the more traditional round ones, resulting in greater efficiency and heat dispersion.
“This technology was previously available only in our high-end home audio systems,” said Sony head engineer Goro Shiraishi, also a concertmaster with the Sony Philharmonic Orchestra. “We’ve now applied the algorithm of Live Acoustics to Ford Explorer Platinum’s audio system to transform the listening experience to be among the finest in the world.”
Shiraishi reportedly visited concert halls around the world, placing microphones in strategic locations in order to measure acoustic qualities in an attempt to relate the concert-hall experience to home and vehicle listeners.
Adding prestige to the cabin, real aluminum and real ash wood multi-piece appliqués are prominent on door and instrument panels, inset in Nirvana leather surfaces. The wood and leather-wrapped heated steering wheel’s brushed aluminum centre Ford oval provides a centrepiece for the upscale tech-laden dashboard. Colours include Soft Ceramic and a new Ebony with Anthracite headliner combo.
“Platinum is the ultimate expression of refinement,” said Mike Arbaugh, Ford Explorer chief designer. “This is the most upscale, high-quality interior we’ve ever offered on a Ford vehicle in North America.”
Outside, there are front and rear wide-angle cameras with washers, signature light surrounds for the LED headlights, silver painted front and rear skid plates, new 20-inch wheels with bright machined facings and tarnished dark painted pockets, and a standard dual pane moonroof.
Power is supplied by a standard EcoBoost 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 that produces 365 horsepower and 350 lb.ft. of torque, and delivered to all four wheels (as deemed necessary by wheel speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle) by a six-speed SelectShift automatic. The Terrain Management System (dialed up by the driver on the fly between Normal, Snow, Sand, Mud or Steep Terrain) continuously monitors surface conditions and adjusts engine, transmission, brakes and 4WD to provide precise traction and enhance handling under all driving situations.