There isn't exactly an abundance of full-size crossovers in the market right now, and until the 2011 model year, even what we now know as the 2017 Ford Explorer was still a traditional body-on-frame mid-size SUV. To say the Explorer's transformation has turned out to be a good idea would be a an understatement to say the least, especially as it's now one of the best-selling vehicles in its class.
Last year saw the Explorer benefitting from a mild refreshing, which delivered smoother bodywork, a quieter and more refined interior with enhanced features, as well as a new engine. This 2017 Ford Explorer now gets an XLT Sport Appearance Package, and the excellent new Sync 3 infotainment system has now come in to replace the previous version.
Part of the success of the 2017 Ford Explorer can be put down to its wide appeal. In base Explorer trim it's a more than capable family-hauler with generous levels of standard equipment and features, while top-of-the-line Platinum models could be seen as a genuine rival for luxury crossovers considerably that are more expensive than the Ford. There's still plenty of other choices though, so if the Platinum is a little too much but you want more than the base Explorer trim offers, there's also the XLT, Limited and Sport trims in between.
The Explorer, XLT and Limited trims are front-wheel drive as standard with all-wheel drive an available option, while the Sport and Platinum trims are all-wheel drive as standard.
There's no getting away from the fact the 2017 Ford Explorer is a sizeable vehicle that can accommodate up to seven passengers, so it has to have the power to cope, and it definitely does. The standard powerplant in Explorer, XLT and Limited models is a 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V-6 that develops 290 horsepower and 255 lb.-ft. of torque. Those models also offer an option in the shape of a 2.3-liter I-4 EcoBoost that puts 280 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. under your foot, which means improved levels of torque and enhanced fuel efficiency, compared to the standard V-6. The two top trim levels of Sport and Platinum really up the ante though, with Ford's much-admired 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6. This engine is a genuine powerhouse, but still won't break the bank when it comes to paying the fuel bills. This superb engine produces 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque, which translates to a maximum towing capacity of some 5,000 pounds.
The EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings are impressive for the 2017 Ford Explorer, especially considering the size, power, practicality and capability of the vehicle. The most fuel efficient versions of the Explorer are the 2.3-liter EcoBoost-equipped models with front-wheel drive, with figures of 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg combined.* Even the most powerful 3.5 twin-turbo with its standard all-wheel drive offers 16 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg combined, which is impressive for an engine of that size and power.
*All vehicle mileage based on 2017 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.