By Joyce Reyes-Aguila
Verily, automobiles are never just meant for the people that drive them.If that were the case, all cars would have only one seat. In choosing vehicles, drivers may initially give premium to all things related to torque, power, and performance. Then may come space, function, capacity for the sake of passengers.
But comfort is, of course, equally important to those who are not behind the wheel. So whether you’re mired in the unwelcome daily gridlock of the metro or speeding towards a much-anticipated getaway, being inside a car should never feel like a trap. Anyone who is not paying attention to the road will surely be busy surfing the net, taking care of the kids or even dozing off. It would be unfair if vehicles did not show love for passengers. And they should pride themselves in doing so.
A recent trip to The Farm at San Benito aboard the Ford Explorer Sport showed how the American company gives ample thought and consideration to passengers as well as the one behind the wheel. The driver’s seat (make that 10-way power seat) is impressive and comfortable, but so is the one across it. Anyone designated to be co-captain, navigator, in-charge of toll fees, or expected to hand the driver anything he or she needs will find a perfect spot to set anything on via cubbies and cupholders.
There is also generous space for the rest of the crew. Anyone seated in the second row will have the luxury of an armrest while, the third row (armed with a 50/50 split-folding seat) also gets ample space. Behind these is cargo space that can be expanded electronically with the push of a button. Once the second and third rows are collapsed, a perfectly spacious flat-load surface is revealed.
As you try not to mind the summer heat, (nicely) remind your driver of the hiney-cooling feature of this 3.5-liter, V6-powered ride. Yup, you read that right. The front seats have fans underneath that can be switched on particularly long and hot journeys. This added comfort is certainly a joy. Then you can spend your time taking charge of your road trip’s soundtrack over the SUV’s audio features. A media bin with a smart-charging USB and SD card reader are there to accommodate your tunes – expressed through an awesome 12 speakers.There are also 12, yes 12, power ports so nobody has to worry about any mobile gadget running out of power.
Our final few turns to The Farm at San Benito entailed us passing through a narrow stretch of road with quite a steep angle. A truck was stopped one side, and trees lined the other side. We made it without worry and trouble as the Explorer Sport has a full complement of sensors and even a 180-degree front camera. Even if you do not really know what on earth is going on, you get a palpable sense of safety and security ensconced within the vehicle. If you’re the type to back-seat drive, this Ford does the job for you with its BLIS (blind-spot information system) with cross-traffic alert. When parking, the Explorer makes use of its park assist technology to let motorists park with ease; no need for a passenger to disembark and check things out.
So there, we had nothing left to worry about except to slow the pace once we got to Lipa City’s best-known wellness resort stress-free. A dip in the infinity pool, relaxing massage, and a healthy meal certainly made the 90-minute drive from Manila worth it. Around the resort, there are scheduled fitness and meditation sessions, medical and rejuvenation treatments, and other activities guests can enjoy, especially if they are staying for the night. As you walk around, say hello to several peacocks who are roaming freely around the property.
Our ride back to the metro is equally smooth. The SUV’s groundbreaking EcoBoost engine is mated to a six-speed SelectShift Automatic that dishes out a lot of power (370ps) and torque (475Nm.With the cooler afternoon temperature, we could not resist opening the Explorer Sport’s power panorama moonroof to enjoy the sights of trees that peaked occasionally along with the inviting open sky. A quick stop for coffee and pasalubong shopping is rendered even more convenient via a remote keyless entry and hands-free liftgate that opens with a kicking motion below the center of the rear bumper.
Rides like this can easily inspire anyone to learn to drive or learn it again from just seeing how much fun drivers get from controlling the Explorer. Then again, passengers (six of them) can have a lot of fun as well.
The new 3.5L Explorer Sport is available in all Ford dealerships nationwide. It comes in three colors: Tuxedo Black, White Platinum and Magnetic Metallic.