I remember hearing my coworker telling me about his cross country road trip. My first thought was about how long and tedious it must be to drive 4,000 miles but that changed when he told me about all the amazing experience he’s encountered. Since then I had my mind set on a cross country road trip. But I needed the perfect car that can take me through this journey. After months of research I decided the perfect car would be the 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum.
For my cross country road trip I decided to drive from New York to San Francisco. I went the Southern Route passing through Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and then California.
While in Louisiana we drove to the Gulf of Mexico.
What made the 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum amazing for cross country?
- Adaptive cruise control. I don’t think I can live without this feature now that I have it. I love how it’ll adjust the speed to the car in front of me and the ability to adjust the distance gap. I can keep my eye on the road more instead of constantly gauging at the speedometer and adjusting the speed. Less mental energy was being used so I was able to drive longer.
- Blind spot assist. This feature is amazing. I still check my blind side but this acts as a redundant alert for reassurance. I also find this feature a necessity for an Explorer due to the wide pillars.
- Ride quality. The car feels like it has clouds as wheels. It drives so smooth.
- Acceleration. The acceleration coupled with the smooth ride quality makes it difficult to really gauge how fast you are going. I find myself over the speed limit by 10 mph just by pressing the pedal for a few seconds. The acceleration makes merging onto a freeway a lot easier.
- LED headlights. These are the best headlights lights I’ve ever encountered. Makes driving at night a lot easier because I can see more clearly at night.
- Spacious wide seats. I noticed the front seat area is a lot wider compared to other cars I sat in. I feel less cramped.
- Sync 3. I specifically wanted 2017+ models because it comes with this feature. I prefer Waze and Google maps over the built in GPS. I permanently attached a spare phone to make it a permanent Android device.
- Air conditioner. The AC gets cool really fast. Came in handy when visiting the scorching desert areas.
- Remote start. Vegas reached 117°F when we visited. It was nice to start the car and give it a head start on the cooling.
- Gas tank is on the right side. I noticed shorter lines at the Costco / Sam’s Club gas station when it came to the right sided pump stalls. Majority of the cars line up the the left sided pump. Makes filling up at Costco / Sam’s Club a faster trip.
- Lane assist. This feature was really helpful during rainy dark nights and mornings on the highway. When it’s raining, it can actually be really difficult to see the lanes on the highway.
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
Overall the trip went amazing and I was able to visit places I that I only see on the Discovery channel. I was able to to finally visit the swamps of Louisiana and see a live alligator. I credit my Explorer for are large part of making this trip a positive one. With the creature comforts and wide array of features, it made driving through America an easy task. Feel free to leave any questions.