LA LIVE: 2016 Ford Explorer

Ford\'s popular Explorer goes under the knife for 2016.

Ford has unveiled its updated 2016 Explorer SUV at the Los Angeles auto show.

Introduced for the 2011 model year, Ford's fifth-generation Explorer is getting its first significant makeover. The Explorer's snout has received some major surgery, with the end result looking a lot like the 2015 Ford Edge. Those changes include a new grille, more conventionally-styled headlamps and a revised lower bumper.

The 2016 Explorer also brings standard LED low-beams, along with optional LED fog lamps that take inspiration from the F-150's headlamps.

The rear of the new Explorer features minor updates for 2016, including new-look taillights and new rear spoiler that promises to improve aerodynamics.

One of the biggest changes can be found under the hood, where Ford's 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine -- borrowed from the new Mustang -- replaces the 2.0-liter four-cylinder mill of the current model. It will be tuned to provide "at least" 270 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque.

A new range-topping Platinum trim level joins the existing options, adding a 500-watt Sony audio system, interior LED lighting, Nirvana leather seats, a dual-panel moonroof, silver-painted front and rear skid-plate elements and 20-inch two-tone wheels, among other upgrades.

The 2016 Ford Explorer will go on sale across the nation next summer. Pricing information will be published closer to its on-sale date.

What's Next?The Blue Oval is in the early stages of developing the sixth-generation Explorer. Rumors indicate the SUV will go back to its roots and ride on a new rear-wheel drive platform, a shift that Ford hopes will boost its fleet sales to government agencies.

The rear-wheel drive platform will also underpin a new Lincoln SUV that will be distributed in the United States and in China.

Live photos by Brian Williams.

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