You may have seen a couple of my tweets recently where I excitedly shared that we were given the chance to test drive for a week, the Ford Explorer.
Not too long ago we reviewed the Ford Edge and since we are in the market for a new family car, I was eager to see how they would compare. I was pleased to see that they had many of the same features, in fact, take a minute to hop over and read My Top 10 Favorite Things About the Ford Edge. Once you read that post you will have a good feel for the Explorer.
Are you back now? Good.
As I said, every feature listed in the previous post can also be found in the Explorer. The biggest difference between the two vehicles is the size.
The Explorer has an easily accessible third row (that Kora and Logan loved!). You can flip down the second row seat and move it out of the way almost one-handed. As far as roominess, it’s perfect for kids and even preteens. Average size adults could also sit back there comfortably for short rides, I could see it being a bit of a squeeze for someone taller, but in that case you could rearrange people so everyone is comfortable. Also, another must mention about the third row, it folds flat into the floor with the push of a button. How cool is that?!
As I mentioned, the Explorer is bigger than the Edge, due to the 3rd row and good trunk size. It handles well and Tired Dad Dave felt almost no difference when driving either vehicle. I did notice a small difference, but it was minor considering the features it offered. The size of the Explorer is perfect for a family of four or more and it’s definitely a vehicle that can grow with you as well.
Now to talk about safety.
I had the opportunity this week to learn more about the Ford Explorer through a Skype chat with Amy Marentic, Ford’s Car, Crossover, and SUV Marketing Manager. Amy manages product and consumer marketing for Ford Taurus, Mustang, Flex, Explorer and Edge and has three teenagers at home who drive so she is well versed in vehicle safety.
During our discussion, I raved about the safety elements of the Explorer that I knew about including the ability to manipulate and manage so many things throughout the vehicle without ever having to take your eyes off the road – the steering wheel controls, the driver’s console, the center console with MyTouch, and more (all of which are in the Edge as well and you can read about them in more detail & see them in action in my Ford Edge post found here).
While I’m a big fan of the above features, I was happy to had the chance to talk to Amy and to learn even more! Here’s what we discussed:
5 Fantastic Safety Features of the Ford Explorer
Inflatable Seat Belts
I learned all about the inflatable seat belts. The diagram and video below best explain this new and incredible safety must-have. I love this idea and it will be a necessity in our next vehicle. Note there is no sound in the video.
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
We discussed the Blind Spot Information System which alerts you with a small light in the corner of your side mirror that another vehicle has entered your blind spot. Here’s a graphic explaining it further:
You can see it in action in the video I took here:
The MyKey System
Have children driving? Then this MyKey is a priority. When you pick up your Explorer you get the number of keys you need for each driver. You can then program your child’s key to limit their top speed and the car’s audio volume when they are driving. It also offers a more insistent seat belt reminder even leaving the radio muted until the seat belt is fastened. It also provides earlier low fuel warnings, and you can program it to sound chimes at 45, 55, and 65 mph. This is a great safety element that will help teenagers stay more focused while behind the wheel.
Terrain Management System
The Terrain Management System is what I call “The 4-Wheel Drive Dial.” This so easy-to-read dial ensures there’s no having to guess what gear the Explorer should be in. Just turn the dial to the picture of snow if you are in snow, grass or gravel, turn it to the picture of the dessert if you are in sand, and give it a twist to the picture of the vehicle stuck in ruts if you are, too, stuck in mud or ruts. No having to take your mind off what you are doing trying to determine which condition calls for 4WD High or Low. So simple and allows for much safer driving.
Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning, & Rear View Camera
I put these three in one category because I covered them in the Edge review, but they are so unbelievably impressive and helpful that they made this list as well.
You activate the Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning by selecting your desired cruise speed and the distance you want to maintain from the vehicle in front of you. When traffic slows down the ACC will slow the Explorer as well to maintain the distance. When everyone speeds back up, the ACC will speed up your Explorer as well.
The Collision Warning is set to warn you if it senses a collision. When there is the possibility of an accident, a lighted bar in front of the steering wheel by the bottom of the windshield will flash and the brakes will pre-charge allowing for extra sensitivity when you do brake. Incredible!
I love the Rear View Camera. It offers such a wide range of vision that when pulling out of angled or tight parking spaces backing out of the driveway it’s so easy to make sure no people, animals, or vehicles are behind us. And the sound and display alerts are so handy too. Speaking of the display I have to say that it’s so large (8 inches) and easy to see, it makes us all feel safer. I’ve seen tiny thumbnail displays on other cars in the rear view mirror and other versions of the Rear View Camera display, but this one beats them all.
I truly feel safer driving with Kora and Logan in the Explorer knowing all of these amazing safety elements are in place. The Ford Explorer has set the bar high in safety and when purchasing our next car, I won’t expect anything less.
Kora and Logan took a minute to do their own interviews of each other and their thoughts on the Explorer. Check out their videos below for their preschool point-of-view and you can also get a good feel feel for what riding in the backseat is like. Also, see if you can figure out their favorite part of the Ford Explorer!