When my coworker regaled me with tales of his epic cross-country road trip, I have to admit, I was initially skeptical about the idea of driving a whopping 4,000 miles. But as I listened to his incredible experiences and the unforgettable memories he’d made, I couldn’t help but feel inspired to embark on my own grand adventure. After months of diligent research and careful consideration, I determined that the perfect companion for my journey would be none other than the trusty 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum.
Setting off from New York, my road trip followed the picturesque Southern Route all the way to San Francisco, traversing a diverse range of landscapes as I passed through Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and finally California. I even had the opportunity to visit the breathtaking Gulf of Mexico while in Louisiana, adding an extra layer of excitement and wonder to my already thrilling expedition.
While in Louisiana we drove to the Gulf of Mexico.
So, what made the 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum perfect for a cross-country trip?
- Adaptive cruise control: This feature became indispensable, as it reduced mental fatigue and allowed me to drive longer distances.
- Blind spot assist: It provided a valuable safety net, especially given the Explorer’s wide pillars.
- Ride quality: The smooth ride made driving more enjoyable.
- Acceleration: The impressive acceleration made merging onto highways a breeze.
- LED headlights: These improved nighttime visibility significantly.
- Spacious wide seats: The front seats provided ample room and reduced feelings of crampedness.
- Sync 3: This feature made navigation easy by enabling me to use Waze and Google Maps.
- Air conditioning: The AC cooled the car quickly, which was crucial in hot desert climates.
- Remote start: This feature allowed me to pre-cool the car in extreme heat.
- Right-side gas tank: This design choice resulted in shorter lines at gas stations and saved time, as the majority of drivers lining up at Costco gas stations had left-side gas tanks.
- Lane assist: This feature proved particularly helpful during dark, rainy nights and mornings.
Features I thought would be amazing, but it was only “meh”:
- Moonroof. Didn’t use this feature much. I did open the moonroof on a few occasions but found myself closing it shortly after. Mostly due to bugs flying in when I was in the swampy South or the scorching sun in the West.
- Massager. I used it a few times during long 4+ hour trips. It felt like plastic spheres just moving around. Didn’t really make my sore body feel any better. I feel like the real benefit of this feature is for bragging rights.
- Automatic high beam lights. I feel like this feature is super considerate. The high beams will turn on when it’s pitch black and if it sees any light source in the far distance, it’ll turn off. As a result, the high beams will cycle through on and off even if the high beams don’t reach the opposite traffic.
- Speed limit on the dash. I realize the speed limit that shows up on the dash is inaccurate 90% of time during this trip. I found myself relying on the speed limit feature that shows up on Waze since it’s more accurate.
Features I wished the 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum had:
- Autopilot. It looks like the newer 2021 F-150 and Mach-E will have this feature. It’ll be nice for autopilot to take over for those long drives.
- Commanding view. Some cars give you that amazing high up view and it feels like you are ready take off on an airplane. I remember I experienced this feeling when driving the Ford F-350 and the Lexus GX470. But sadly the Explorer lacks that feeling. Maybe it’s because of the low height or the wider pillars?
- Adaptive cruise control (ACC) with stop and go. I assumed the car came with the stop and go feature since it has ACC and the ability to slow down but to my disappointment the ACC actually disengages once it reaches below 15 mph. This feature would be nice for those bumper to bumper traffic.
- Better MPG. The 3.5 Ecoboost in my Explorer is amazing but it drinks a lot of gas.
- Bigger Fuel Tank. I found myself constantly refilling the gas, it’ll be nice if the fuel tank was at least 20+ gallons.
Red Rock Canyon of Nevada
Despite these minor shortcomings, the 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum played a significant role in making my cross-country trip a memorable and enjoyable experience. From visiting the swamps of Louisiana and encountering live alligators to exploring the Red Rock Canyon in Nevada, my Explorer’s creature comforts and array of features made driving across America an effortless and delightful task. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment!