Seeking to find even more favor with potential mid-size SUV buyers, the 2015 Ford Explorer benefits from a series of upgrades for the new season. The key enhancement is a new Appearance Package for the mid-level Explorer XLT. This focused equipment group brings all the visual flair of the enthusiast-oriented Explorer Sport but at a far lower pricepoint than the range-topping variant that comes with a 365-horsepower EcoBoost V6 and 4WD system.

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Ringing in at $1,195, the new XLT Appearance Package includes the Magnetic Metallic paint on the grille, mirror caps and tailgate appliqué, black body side cladding and roof rails, body-color door handles and 20-inch machined-aluminum wheels with painted pockets. Interior enhancements bring leather-trimmed and heated front buckets with premium Miko suede inserts, custom floor mats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. "Customers asked for more and this is our answer," said Matt Zuehlk, Ford Explorer brand manager. "We know consumers love the look of Explorer Sport. With this package, you get that for Explorer XLT. It looks bold and rugged, and offers impressive technology at a surprising value."

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Additional changes for the 2015 Ford Explorer include three new exterior colors -- Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Caribou Metallic and Magnetic Metallic - as well as standard 18-inch alloy wheels for the base Explorer and a standard Class II tow package for the Sport. Pricing for the 2015 Ford Explorer line starts at $31,495, which reflects a $585 bump from 2014. The 2014 XLT opens at $33,795 with the Limited beginning at $38,995 and the Sport commencing at $43,565.

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