Driving The 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Edition In British Columbia

By Darren Griffin  |  09/15/2015

For the last 25 years, the Ford Explorer has been a shinning example of what an SUV is, should be, and how one should evolve over time. And now, a quarter century strong, the 2016 Explorer Platinum Edition personifies industry best performance engineering, heightened style progression, and a juxtaposition of fierce aggression and emotional allure.

Those sentiments mirror our recent adventure in British Columbia, Canada, where we took the latest Explorer model on a road trip from Vancouver to Kamloops.

Aesthetically, at first look, the vehicle is as modern contemporary as it's ever been. Sure, it's designed for a family first and foremost. Yet all the same, functional for anyone with a desire for the finer points of automotive opulence -- which family utility vehicles don't often specialize in. That said, we were immediately taken by the striking exterior of the new Explorer, and it's ability to triumph in multiple arenas.

After combing over the Explorer and running through the more initiative functions like the "Kick Open Trunk" feature, we set course for Kamloops with a few expeditious stops along the way. On this particular day in Vancouver, it was cool and rainy -- a climate that may very well be a trend far beyond our short stay. But the all-conditions vehicle was made for this type of day, and the many obstacles that our strategically planned route would steer us towards.

Before firing up the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which boasts 365 horsepower, we took a moment to simply be in the 2016 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was spacious and plush, with a sense of modernism, yet fine tuned for a family and their many needs. The backseat is comfortable for those over 6 feet, and of equivalent girth, while third row seating isn't typically third row seating. Typically, third rows are cramped, tiny and far from what allegedly seats upwards to 7-8 people, but it's not the case in the Explorer. There's a reason why it's the industry best-selling SUV for as long as its has been. Ford, unlike many other automotive companies, listen intently to their customers -- giving them true and unwavering buying power.

So now, we're on the road. The wet, slippery Vancouver streets and highways. Rain is coming down in sheets and the fog is deepening by the moment. In a new city, with absolutely no earthy idea where you are, this can be daunting to say the very least. But, the Explorer is resilient and cocoon-like. A safety net of sorts. With multiple drive functions, there's a resolution for any quandary. But maybe more than that, the Explorer just feels secure. Wet roads weren't simply a cause for hydroplaning, wind didn't shift its muscular build, and curvaceous slick roads were no match for the gripping tires.

We made it out of Vancouver and into rural British Columbia pretty quick. And that's because, well, we were gassing it. Make no mistake about it, this platinum Edition doesn't drive its size or weight. We zipped through long windy roads with ease and precision, often times exceeding speeds of 100 mph with seamlessness. At those speeds, the ride remained smooth, but with a slight ruggedness that let you know you were in a utility vehicle with some power behind it. There was also that fact that the Explorer is best in class in terms of fuel economy with 28 mph highway.

In no time we'd venture through a wealth of small cities and found ourselves in the mountains. This, no doubt, would be the true test for the combative, inclement weather Explorer. Moreover, it would be our opportunity to test the intelligent four-wheel drive Terrain Management System. And to no surprise, the Explore Platinum proved ready for inclines, twist and turns, and grueling conditions. Smartly assessing and reassessing conditions on the fly, intelligence and intuitive self-awareness is where the new edition of the Explorer valiantly breaks new ground.

Monitoring wheel speed, throttle positioning, and other drive components that ensure safety and performance, angles were measured, braking position was calculated, and front and rest torque optimization was another critical decision the vehicle made based on terrain. Although aesthetics and technological advancements offer sex appeal to this captivating new creation, safety is clearly paramount. And that, considering that a large majority of buyers of the Explorer are families, makes all the sense in the world. People don't often think safety features are "cool" until they save lives and prevent harm. Ask us -- few things are cooler than that.

All in all -- with stops that included the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Narin Falls, Sea to Sky Gondola and Shannon Falls -- the trip from Vancouver to Kamloops in duration was about 8 hours. Aside from the many drive features that heightened the pleasure of this ride, the 500-watt Sony Audio with Live Acoustics and Clear Phase technology was a treat. We opted for Kendrick Lamar and Travi$ Scott to put the range and clarity to the test, which is passed effortlessly. A little Miles Davis and modern jazz crooner Kamasi Washington allowed the acoustics-driven system to reach peak performance.

There was really no better place to give the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Edition an initial run. British Columbia, in all it's inclement yet gracefully lush glory, still proved no match for the all-inclusive new SUV. With more than 5 million Explorers sold to date, systematically, Ford has this formula down. Precision, power, safety and first class amenities, the 2016 Platinum Edition is undoubtedly the best Explorer to date.

At $53,000 fully loaded, it's a lesser cost than other in-class vehicles that offer far less across the board, respectively. Darting off the starting line towards another quarter century mark, the Ford Explorer is headed in the right direction at optimal speed. Ford steers the course better than most, which is why when it comes to this vehicle in particular, they've always won the race.