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Auto Show:  2016 Chicago Auto Show

Ford Explorer Special Editions: Chicago Auto Show


author photo by Doug DeMuro February 2016

What Are They?

Ford is showing off two new special-edition versions of its Explorer SUV at this year's Chicago Auto Show. One, dubbed the Ford Explorer XLT Sport Appearance package, brings a new look to the SUV's lineup, while the other, the Explorer MXV by BraunAbility, offers a wheelchair-accessible version of the Explorer.

The 2017 Explorer XLT Sport Appearance package is exactly what you might expect: an Explorer XLT with the look of the performance-oriented Explorer Sport. Upgrades include 20-inch wheels, magnetic gray exterior trim, black badging and the Explorer hood emblem -- basically everything short of the Explorer Sport's 365-horsepower EcoBoost engine.

Meanwhile, the Explorer MXV is a wheelchair-accessible version of the popular SUV, designed and built by BraunAbility. Offered in base, XLT and Limited trims and available solely with the SUV's 3.5-liter V6 and front-wheel drive, the MXV touts a wheelchair ramp and a modified rear door that slides open to allow for easier access. The SUV also offers removable front seats to let people in wheelchairs drive or ride on the passenger side.

How Much?

The XLT Sport Appearance package will likely only cost a little more than a standard Explorer XLT, which starts at around $33,800 with shipping. The BraunAbility Explorer MXV, meanwhile, will likely add more than $20,000 to the SUV's base price.

When Can You Get Them?

The MXV is out now, while the XLT Sport Appearance package model will go on sale this summer.

Add Them to Your Shopping List Because...

In the world of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, SUVs have long been eschewed by the more popular (and easy-to-manufacture) minivan. But BraunAbility has recognized the market demand for SUVs, and we suspect that the Explorer MXV will be popular among shoppers in a wheelchair who don't want the usual disabled-accessible minivan.

As for the Ford Explorer XLT Sport Appearance package, this one's easy: If you like the look of the brand's high-performance Explorer Sport but don't want to pay the big bucks for the powertrain, this package is for you. While this may upset a few Explorer Sport owners, the appearance package will no doubt appeal to XLT drivers who want a unique look.

Other Cars to Consider

BraunAbility Minivan -- If you're interested in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, BraunAbility offers the conversion on four minivans: the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. All these models cost about the same amount of money as an Explorer MXV, but none offer SUV styling.

2016 Honda Pilot -- The Honda Pilot is a top competitor for the Explorer XLT. Recently redesigned for 2016, the Pilot offers a lot of modern equipment and gadgets.

2016 Toyota Highlander -- The Highlander may not tout a Sport Appearance package, but it does offer a roomy interior, lots of equipment, 3-row seating and excellent reliability.

Used Ford Explorer Sport -- If you want the Explorer Sport's look without paying too much extra for it, you may want to consider a used Sport. While you won't get a brand-new car, you will get the SUV's impressive 365-hp EcoBoost engine.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Ford Explorer Special Editions: Chicago Auto Show - Autotrader