Two adults, two kids and a puppy take the Ford Explorer on a Vancouver to Mount Baker road trip and not once pose the dreaded Are We There Yet? question.
Road trips with kids have their ups and downs. Sure, it all sounds fun and games when you’re planning it but not 30 minutes after you pull out of your driveway, kids often get bored, they start whining and fighting. They get cabin fever, and sure why wouldn’t they? All four of you and the dog are packed into a sardine box with not much to do but stare out the window.
As it happens, us here in the Pacific Northwest are blessed with pretty spectacular scenery to stare at out of said window. Even better, for one fine weekend in fall, we got to test drive a Ford Explorer. The power! The driving dynamics! The glorious space to spread out! All of this comes wrapped in an eye-catching design that boasts authentic comfort and style. The Explorer is built for modern active families—the kind of families that call Vancouver home—and offers plenty of interior space for the kids, the dog, the hiking gear, camping gear and just about everything else you might need on the road to adventure. Giddy up!
If you’re at all familiar with the Ford Explorer from years past, what sets the the latest Explorer apart are its new grille and foglights, which are variations on the existing design. This model also comes in four paint colors and five wheel options. Yup, we turned a few heads as we sped along back country roads in Washington state on our way to Mount Baker.
My daughter Chloe called the third-row for herself. She took her iPad, some books, and pretty much was not heard from for the entire journey. FYI, that row folds flat at the touch of a button for additional cargo room but when it’s upright it seats two passengers quite comfortably. The third row is standard on Limited, Sport and Platinum models.
My son Eliot and Luna the pup spread out in the second row. The row features handy outlets to plug various electronics, reading lights, cupholders and enough space to play tug-o-war with the dog (sort of).
I sat at the leather-wrapped steering wheel with my husband beside me and all I can say is Wow. As if the perforated and quilted premium Nirvana leather seats were not enough, at some point while exploring the instrument panel and the smartphone-like touchscreen we discovered that at the touch of a button the seats deliver a variety of massage options on your back and glutes! Seriously. Oh, and did I mention the 500-watt Audio System from Sony? That’s pretty awesome too.
What We Loved
We have an Alexa at home and were pretty stoked to see we could bring her along for the ride. The Ford+Alexa app connects via SYNC® 3 AppLink® to grant access to Voice Navigation, Traffic Information, over 30,000 Skills, and, should you be so inclined to buy yourself a little something while on the road, Amazon Prime shopping.
The Sync Connect function allowed us to operate the car’s systems using the FordPass smartphone app that can lock, unlock, start and locate the car via data connection. Neat.
It may have been early fall, but baby it was cold outside. Lucky for us in the front and the kids in the back, the heated seats kept us toasty warm. For the driver, the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel was almost as sweet as having hands wrapped around a steaming cup of cocoa. The dual-panel moonroof was also a big hit with the kids and the dog.
On the safety side, the Ford’s new Safe and Smart Package includes adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support, blind spot warning, cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, automatic high beams and rain-sensing automatic wipers. It poured rain on the way back from Washington to Vancouver and we got to test out literally all of these features.