Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 Ford Explorer: long haul road test

This is my second time reviewing a Ford Explorer Platinum, thanks to the team at Ford Southeast & Performance Logistics. My family used the vehicle at no charge for 11 days. All opinions are exclusively mine (or my daughter's). 

Nine months ago, I shared my thoughts about the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum edition. Our family reviewed the vehicle during a 4 1/2 hour road trip to Charlotte, NC for a theme park and the Great Wolf Lodge. This time, we happily received a shiny new 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum for a much longer road test. Our destination? Sunny Florida for a Christmas vacation with family. 

When we chose a sunny destination this year, Christmas travel became extreme travel. We packed the trunk space full (really full) with gifts, luggage, snacks, and a cooler. We set off bright and early with sleepy children then endured holiday traffic later in the afternoon. Our travel day ended up around 10 1/2 hours from home to accommodations.

How well did the 2017 Ford Explorer serve our lengthy Christmas travel needs? Amazingly! I give it a 9.5 out of 10. This Ford Explorer model was the Platinum edition, so we were pampered with incredibly comfortable seats that could be cooled in 85-degree heat and heated upon our return to the 40s in Atlanta. Both my husband and I used the massage feature in the driver and passenger seats as well. The massage helped my back ache after several hours on the interstate. The vehicle has one of the smoothest rides I have experienced. It is a large vehicle that feels like it is gliding through water. The trunk space was incredible when we had the third row seats down. And when we asked a few cousins to climb in for a day at the beach, the third row seat popped up with a simple push of a button. 

I asked my daughter what she thought about the ride for our lengthy trip, and she listed a few of her favorite features: 

"I like the middle compartment in the second row for storing larger things." 

"It was nice to have air vents in my row so my brother and I were not hot." 

"The third row seat is really big! It's just like a regular seat."

If my daughter could change anything about the 2017 Ford Explorer? She would like more cup holders in the second row, specifically a cup holder or two in the door. She likes to use cup holders for her water, pencils, and snack.

I honestly do not know if I would change anything about the vehicle. It is a bit large for me and I needed a couple days to feel comfortable parking. However, I was able to fit the driver's seat to my size  with the adjustable steering wheel and fully adjustable power driver's seat. I could reach everything I needed to reach and I felt safe and powerful in the hectic mall and highway traffic. 

I will be purchasing a new SUV this summer, and the Ford Explorer remains on the top of my wish list. I am also considering the Ford Flex for the convenience of the third row seat (necessary for play dates) in a smaller profile. I'll keep you posted on what we end up getting! My 11-year old vehicle has had enough. I was pretty sad when I had to wave goodbye to the gorgeous dark blue Explorer Platinum this week. 

It's a dream car!

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