LOS ANGELES -- The freshened 2016 Ford Explorer unveiled here last week will come with a new version of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine and a new, loaded Platinum trim level that will be priced above the current top-of-the-line Explorer Sport.
The 2016 Explorer should arrive in dealerships next summer.
The current-generation Explorer was introduced in late 2010 as a 2011 model and is built on a modified version of Ford's D4 platform, which originated with Volvo.
Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service, said high demand for the Explorer Sport showed Ford that there was enough support for a model with even more content.
"One thing we learned is we didn't have enough upscale products," he said.
Ford hasn't issued Explorer pricing. But a Ford spokesman said the base price should remain the same, at about $31,495, including shipping. But the new Platinum trim model is likely to go higher than the current top-of-the-line Explorer Sport, priced at $43,565, including shipping. Ford expects the Explorer to compete with the likes of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and GMC Acadia, which have top prices of more than $50,000.
Ford is replacing the 2.0-liter EcoBoost with the more powerful 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, basically the same 2.3-liter EcoBoost offered on the 2015 Mustang. Ford said it will crank out at least 270 hp and at least 300 pounds-feet of torque and will be available in the base, XLT and Limited series.
The standard engine will be a 3.5-liter, naturally aspirated V-6 engine for the base, XLT and Limited models. Paired with a six-speed automatic, it will generate an estimated 290 hp and an estimated 255 pounds-feet of torque.
The Sport and Platinum trims come standard with Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine with an estimated 365 hp and 350 pounds-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission.
The Platinum trim level gets design touches including an upgraded interior with contoured seats, special leather, brushed aluminum and "satin-finished ash wood in multi-piece appliques on all door panels and the instrument panel," Ford said in a release.
Matt Zuehlk, Ford Explorer brand manager, said: "There's a market for more upscale SUVs, as 90 percent of today's Explorer Sport buyers purchase the most expensive package available. That's a strong signal customers are ready for Platinum."
The 2016 Explorer will come with a long list of technologies, including new 180-degree wide angle cameras at the front and rear of the vehicle.