For the second time in as many years, the Ford Explorer has earned the top spot on Kelley Blue Book's 5-Year Cost to Own Awards in the Full-Size SUV/Crossover segment. Originally debuting in 1991, the Explorer was an immediate hit, with more than one million units sold in less than four years. To date, more than seven million Explorers have been purchased by adventuresome consumers.
The 2015 Ford Explorer doesn't have the off-road chops that those before it had but instead rides more car-like than ever before. This is because Ford moved the Explorer from a traditional body-on-frame to a more modern unibody back in 2011. The 2015 model offers three different engine choices including a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 rated at 365 horsepower and a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that's capable of reaching 28 mpg on the highway.
With seating for up to seven, the Explorer still manages to offer exceptional cargo room even when all of its seats are spoken for. Available entertainment options include a rear-seat entertainment system and MyFord Touch with Sync. The former is good for keeping the kids occupied on long road trips while the latter is a more essential option (and one we recommend springing for) that offers navigation and radio controls. Other functions like climate control and Bluetooth are also dictated through MyFord Touch with Sync.
The Explorer has grown in overall size over the years making it a bit less handy in parking structures and crowded parking lots. However, a backup camera and available blind spot and lane departure warnings can alleviate some of the stress of navigating congested areas. In its present form the Ford Explorer offers something for everyone and with its low cost of ownership, this segment stalwart will go easy on your wallet.
Mazda's biggest offering, the Mazda CX-9, is available in front- or all-wheel drive with room for seven passengers and all their stuff.
Available with more gadgets and luxury touches than ever before, the Dodge Durango also has seating for seven passengers.
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