Contrary to appearances, and as its format of pure American juice does not indicate it, the Ford Explorer could almost be naturalized European. Now officially imported to the Old Continent, the colossus has some advantages in terms of comfort, sense of welcome … and consumption, since only the plug-in hybrid version is offered. Originality guaranteed, in any case.
As surprising as it may seem, the arrival of the Ford Explorer in Europe is driven by European regulations on CO2 emissions. Debatable certainly, but the progressive electrification of the ranges of each manufacturer has become a necessary step. Hence the multiplication of hybrids all over the landscape. Ford therefore has, in addition to the Kuga PHEV, a second plug-in hybrid by offering the Explorer on our side of the Atlantic.
And on paper, the figures are favorable to him, no offense to the detractors of the genre: 71 g / km and 3.1 l / 100 km announced, in WLTP cycle. In principle, not so far from real conditions. We could even, depending on usage, simply move its V6 at rest and its tank full of Unleaded without sipping a drop. Like any plug-in hybrid, it is obviously suitable adopt a certain discipline to find an interest in it: quite simply, reload it whenever you have the possibility, in order to travel all-electric daily journeys.
7 seats, volume, and a price …
It is therefore not the (very) limited appetite for these giants that pushed Ford France to display the Explorer in the catalog. The manufacturer is hardly more than a few (small) hundreds of sales per year. However, a family audience adept at large volumes can find its account.
Difficult for two Explorers to cross paths between the half-timbered houses of Gerberoy, a picturesque village in the heart of Picardy which served as a stopover on our route. This big beefy is obviously cramped in these conditions. 5.06 m long, 2.28 m wide mirrors included! This makes it one of the biggest SUVs on the market, with the Mercedes GLS and BMW X7. Much more expensive, however. Let’s not even talk about our urban centers, which are chasing cars out of political reflex. Fortunately, the small Parisian belt does not cover the majority of the territory.
The Explorer starts at 77,000 euros in ST Line, with “all-inclusive” equipment, and escapes the penalty. Expensive certainly, but rather competitive compared to premium SUVs. Our Platinum version asks for 79,000 euros.
Good to know: anticipate the purchase and resale.
It is possible to know the resale or trade-in value of your vehicle thanks to the auto Turbo rating of your Ford Explorer, the alternative to the Argus rating.
Everything reminds us that the Explorer comes from a country where lack of space is not a subject. With such an interior volume, there is no need for modularity tricks to optimize space: to make it big, just make it big! Once you get used to the Explorer’s American measurements (there are bigger ones over there!), You discover an environment in the same vein.
Volume, room for seven (even the third row remains usable), and a hold as a trunk: 1,137 l in 5 places, and up to 2,274 l in “mover” configuration, all seats folded. We are satisfied with 330 l in 7 places (240 l under the shelf), sufficient however for a few races or light luggage. Note, however, that in the second row, the three large individual seats (sliding over 15 cm and folding independently) lack support.
Origins and assumed look, the Explorer comes from across the Atlantic and prefers the great outdoors. A little cramped …
The presentation, too, smacks of America. Not necessarily in a good way, even if we have seen worse in the finish. Solid, a little flashy with authentic certified plastic woodwork, and admittedly solid fits are approximate. At least the equipment is complete, including the multimedia side. The large vertical screen, tablet-like, brings together a variety of connected functions. There is even a 4G router.
On the comfort side, the seats are ventilated and heated on the first two rows. Not bad, for an “all-inclusive” price tag of 77,000 euros. In comparison, its aforementioned premium rivals hover around 100,000 euros, and are not that generous. And rare in PHEV: only Volvo XC90 T8 and Range Rover exist in plug-in hybrid, among large SUVs
Charging the 13.6 kWh battery takes around 6 hours on a domestic outlet, 4 hours on a wallbox or a little more than 1 hour with a fast charging station.
Placid comfort and lap times
You should not ask him for a miracle when the road begins to turn. Almost 2.5 tons and a very typical comfort suspension, this implies behavior quite far from our European habits. Strong body movements, braking diving … that’s part of the charm, fans will say. Still, then again, you could expect worse and the drive isn’t a rustic utility. An XC90, for example, is hardly less clumsy. Let us also do justice to its all-round qualities, if not more: the state of cleanliness of our model, quickly degraded after a delicate situation in full mud, illustrates this well. Several off-road driving modes are also proposed to manage the 4-wheel drive (permanent, a good old transmission shaft still ensures the work). In any case, we were able to extricate ourselves from a few bad places without external reinforcement.
The Explorer therefore prefers large, rectilinear spaces without being jostled. Carried out smoothly, the pleasure is real … and the performance is there: the 3 l turbo V6, combined with a 100 hp electric motor, delivers 457 hp combined and a maximum torque of 825 Nm. What almost to forget the weight, at least in a straight line. Going from 0 to 100 km / h takes just 6 seconds, and the restarts are of the same ilk. Muscled! From the start, the thrust impresses and does not run out of steam.
A telling clue to its proportions: despite the imposing 20-inch rims generously fitted, there is still room in the wheel arches. Enough to grope in the mud …
The interest of the system is not there. All electric, the 13.6 kWh battery allows us to travel almost 40 km, in cast pipe and on a path without relief. Not so far from the 44 km announced, provided you do not drag on the highway (we can move up to 130 km / h in electric) Battery empty, the appetite of the V6 increases quickly, unsurprisingly. The average recorded remains nevertheless acceptable in view of the mass of the machine: we noted around 10 l / 100 km average at the end of our test, mainly made up of secondary network and motorway.
The upholstery is wide, comfortable, and the seat a little (too) soft. In 5 places, the legroom and the trunk are gigantic.
Technical characteristics Ford Explorer PHEV (2020)
|Model tested: Ford Explorer PHEV Platinum|
|Dimensions L x W x H||5.059 / 2.004 / 1.778 m|
|Min / max trunk volume||330 l / 2.274 l|
|Unloaded weight||2.466 kg|
|Engine||6 cylinders in V turbo, petrol, 2.984 cm3 + electric motor|
|Power||457 hp combined (357 hp thermal + 100 hp electric)|
|Couple||825 Nm at 2,500 rpm|
|0 to 100 km / h||6 s|
|Max speed||230 km / h|
|Autonomy / consumption announced||44 km electric / 3.1 l / 100 km (WLTP)|
|CO2 rate||71 g / km|
|Bonus / penalty 2020||0 €|
|Prices||from 77,000 €|
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