Ford Explorer Goes Platinum

In Quebec's mass-driven auto market, consumers seeking uncompromising value at the crossroads of both performance AND luxury are no lon...

In Quebec's mass-driven auto market, consumers seeking uncompromising value at the crossroads of both performance AND luxury are no longer the new normal, they're here to stay. As a result, manufacturers are duly responding with models that 'Go Further' in delivering a bit of it all. Enter the Ford Explorer Platinum 4WDBuilding on twenty-five years since the first Explorer launched as a roomy SUV appealing to adventure-seeking families, the storied automaker invites you to #ExploreMore with its most upscale SUV to date, and a host of luxurious features (some exclusive to Platinum) that grants Canada's best-selling symbol of suburbia a whole new allure.

A logical extension for the brand, where ninety percent of Explorer buyers purchase the most expensive/equipped package available, the Platinum series is best expressed as an elevated hybrid of the high-performing Sport and well-appointed Limited editions, the result being greater than sum of its parts with a large dose of power and style both inside and out.

First off there's the increased capability derived from a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre Eco-Boost V-6 engine making 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft of torque together with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Impressive, but under the hood is only part of the story. Coming standard on Platinum (optional on other models) are auto high beamsenhanced active park assist that controls the steering wheel leaving the driver in charge of only pedals and gear shifts, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support, and intelligent four-wheel drive with Terrain Management that reassesses conditions 20 times faster that the blink of an eye to provide precise traction. 

On top of all that, what really gives Platinum its standalone status is the suite of refined, upscale touches and add-ons that are exclusive to it alone, particularly the premium 500-watt Sony Audio System with 12 speakers, and both Live Acoustics and Clear Phase technology for a more enveloping, realistic sound, and to eliminate dispersion throughout the vehicle.

Inside, Nirvana leather graces almost every surface as it wraps the instrument panel, armrests, quilted door bolsters, and upper door trim.  Also in leather, the multi-contour front seats include micro-perforations and quilted stitching that extend onto the wood and leather steering wheel, itself adorned in the centre with Ford's iconic oval logo, produced in brushed aluminum for the first time. Aluminum and ash wood multi-piece appliqués accent the door and glove compartment panels while a dual-panel moonroof offers great views from the first and second rows. 

From the exterior Platinum shines like its namesake precious metal thanks to signature lighting surrounding the LED headlamps that gives the vehicle a continuous glow, satin chrome detailing on the rearview mirrors and doorhandles, and 20-inch bright-faced wheels with contrasting dark painted pockets.

On Ford's invitation, we tested one out on downtown streets during the Auto Show, and came away with good first impressions. While not possible to fully experience the total offering during a 15-minute drive, of note was a remarkably quiet cabin and some great handling for a hefty SUV: several abrupt U-turns experienced virtually no roll feeling whatsoever. With seating for seven, adults with children are clearly still Explorer's target, a fact somewhat lost on the avowed single city-dweller in me who can choose from both the compact Escape, or even the Edge. Neither of these, though, have yet been bestowed with that rare Platinum sheen, captured in this fleeting 15-second video sampler. 

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