The lovable Ford Explorer brings a few updates for the 2015 model year, highlighted by the new XLT Appearance Pack and its dark grille, big wheels and black trims.
This brings much of the street presence of the range-topping Explorer Sport to the volume leader of the Explorer group -- and is a welcome style and handling upgrade!
The main way to tell the XLT Appearance Pack trucks from the Explorer Sport is the grille: the XLT option is a dark grey grille, while the Explorer Sport runs a gloss black grille.
2015 Ford Explorer XLT Appearance Pack
2015 Ford Explorer Sport
Other tweaks to the Explorer's seven-seat crossover offering are modest - with a few new colors and a new optional turbo engine for the front-drive models. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder makes a respectable 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, but its biggest benefit is in fuel economy. The smaller EcoBoost engine bumps the ratings to 28-mpg highway versus 24 for the base V6 and 22 for the Explorer Sport and its 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost engine.
But while this all sounds good - the 2.0-liter EcoBoost is still a $1,500 upgrade over the base V6, and loses 50 horsepower and the option of AWD. So fuel economy is really its primary - and only - benefit. Still, for city folks or fleet buyers, the EcoBoost could be a good choice to consider.
Pricing for the XLT trim that is most popular starts from about $33,000 before discounts, and ramps up an estimate $800 with the XLT Appearance Pack detailed below. The 2015 Explorer is available now at Ford dealers nationwide.
Build your own and check out the latest colors in Ford's new 360-degree spinner at the links below.
FORD EXPLORER SPORT - ROAD TEST PHOTO GALLERY