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With the debut of its fifth-generation Explorer for the 2011 model year, Ford made tremendous strides improving its renowned SUV. Customers were quick to take notice as nearly 82,000 more registrations were achieved in 2011 versus the previous year (+182%). The Explorer went on to perform better each year thereafter with just under 211,000 vehicles registered last year. Ford is now number one in the segment ahead of models such as the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and GMC Acadia. However, with the reveal of the 2016 refresh at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford has shown it’s eager for even greater success over the years to come.

Despite the significant gains made by the Explorer across all its trim levels since 2010, the model still has a sizable hole in its market coverage that’s been happily occupied by General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. With the 2015 Explorer’s MSRP topping out at $43,995 (including destination) in the 4WD Sport trim, Ford left money on the table in the form of lost profits as its competitors offered models at even higher price points. The 2015 GMC Acadia has an MSRP of $50,615 (including destination) for its AWD Denali. Meanwhile, the Jeep Cherokee has MSRPs of $47,590 and $52,990 (including destination) for its 4WD Overland and Summit trims, respectively. Those figures are certainly nothing to scoff at from a revenue standpoint.

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Of course, higher price points wouldn’t mean much if sales were negligible. Ford’s main competition, however, has proven that is definitely not the case:  In 2014, there were 23,000 Acadia Denali models registered, which is 28% of Acadia’s 83,000 total registrations. Meanwhile, Jeep Grand Cherokee’s Overland and Summit trims achieved about 29,000 and 14,000 registrations, respectively, which combined to reflect over 23% of all Grand Cherokees registered last year. Altogether, the GMC Acadia and Jeep Grand Cherokee, which are directly cross-shopped with the Explorer, realized nearly 66,000 registrations of their three trim levels priced above the Explorer Sport, not including the high performance Grand Cherokee SRT8.

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Ford Explorer fans looking for more premium amenities and luxury refinements should feel satisfied as the 2016 model year will bring with it an all-new Platinum trim as the top-end offering. As if the LED headlights and fog lamps weren’t enough, the vehicle’s development team added satin chrome accents to several exterior design bits, adding touch of high-end class without being ostentatious. Features include wide angle front and rear cameras with self-cleaning washers, heated steering wheel, a 500-watt Sony surround sound system, power folding third-row seat, dual second-row smart-charging USB ports, hands-free lift gate and enhanced active park assist, including perpendicular park, park-out and parallel park assistance. Safety tech is also prevalent and comes in the form of adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with brake support, blind spot and cross-traffic alert, hill descent control, intelligent 4WD and a terrain management system.

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The team at Ford also made sure the interior looks the part of a premium vehicle with real wood and brushed aluminum throughout. A high-quality leather upholstery contributes to a seating surface that is among the finest in the segment. Unlike the other Explorer trims, the Platinum model also gets an exclusive digital gauge cluster encompassing an easy-to-read display, which is both attractive and high-tech. Platinum badging, illuminated scuff plates and embroidery on the front seats distinguish the high-end model from the other trims. The 365 horsepower 3.5-liter twin turbocharged, direct injection Ecoboost V6 with 350 pound-feet of torque adds substance to all that style. The only thing left to do is bring it to market, which the brand plans to do this summer. While that’s good news for customers, it’s surely a wake-up call for the folks at Jeep and GMC.