By KBB.com Editors
The Explorer continues to be a strong seller for Ford, despite the recent downturn in SUV sales. Powerful owner loyalty, a reasonable size and the option of a potent V8 engine all contribute to the Explorer's success, despite the vehicle's aging platform and less-than-stellar fuel economy. The Explorer makes a great choice for families looking to get away from a full-sized SUV, as well as for those who need the ride height and four-wheel-drive capability that only a body-on-frame SUV can provide. Although the Explorer has plenty of newer competition, both domestic and foreign, few offer the combination of low price, three-row seating and a powerful V8 engine, not to mention the Explorer's 7,300-pound tow rating.
Whether you're drawn to the Explorer for its truck-like towing and cargo-hauling capabilities or its minivan-like versatility, you'll find more of what you're looking for in the latest incarnation of this quintessential SUV.
Although the new Explorer succeeds in being both smoother and more responsive than any previous model, it still drives like a big, truck-based SUV when compared to a select few of its competitors, many of which deliver almost sedan-like ride and handling.
Eddie Bauer and Limited models receive standard front-side impact and side-curtain airbags and optional power running boards, while an audio input jack becomes standard. DVD navigation, a heated windshield and a rear-seat entertainment system with eight-inch screen become available options on all three trim levels.
Driving Impressions Out on the road, the new Explorer behaves the same way it always has, only better. Thanks to a new frame and revised suspension, the big mid-size SUV is noticeably...smoother and more stable out on the highway. It's also markedly quieter, making for easy conversation between occupants in separate rows. Moreover, the newest Explorer is more responsive around town and, when equipped with the new V8 and six-speed automatic transmission, is the most powerful model yet, although we found the V6 had more than enough output to meet our daily-driver demands. While both ride and handling are improved all around, the balance remains very much in favor of comfort, with handling characteristics that fall short of more car-like competitors like the Nissan Pathfinder.
Power-Folding Third Row
Not only do the two rear rows fold almost perfectly flat, but the third row is available with a power folding option that makes it easy to transform the Explorer from people mover to cargo hauler and back at the push of a button.
Interior Peace and Quiet
Considering its vast interior volume and all the opportunities that exist for outside noise to creep inside, the new Explorer is impressively, refreshingly quiet.
Completely redesigned in 2006, the 2007 Explorer's interior now sports more angular styling along with several new features. One of the more tangible changes is the move of the shifter from the steering column to the floor. Front-row seats slide on inch-longer seat tracks to accommodate a wider range of heights, the second row is available in three seating configurations and the third row offers a power folding feature. In addition, both rear rows of seats now fold almost completely flat (just two degrees from horizontal), so cargo is less likely to vacate the vehicle the instant the liftgate is opened. The only functional sore spot we noted was the awkward placement of the front-row door handles.Exterior
The 2007 Explorer remains a very obvious descendant of the first Explorer that materialized some 16 years ago and revolutionized the industry. The biggest and most obvious change is up front, with three grilleseach assigned to a particular trim levelinspired by Ford's F-150 pickup. Distinguishing new from old is probably most difficult from the side, but look for thicker roof rails and six new wheel styles. Out back, new taillights and a big nine-inch blue Ford oval further differentiate the new model from its predecessors.
Standard equipment on a base-level Explorer XLS includes a 4.0-liter V6, five-speed automatic transmission, two-wheel drive, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, AM/FM stereo with MP3 compatible CD player, air conditioning, cruise control, AdvanceTrac RSC electronic stability control, front and front-side airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, digital compass and outside temperature indicator.
Trim-level, package and stand-alone options include a 4.6-liter V8 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, two-row side-curtain airbags, third-row seat, leather seats, woodgrain interior accents, navigation system, DVD rear-seat entertainment system, premium sound system with six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, auxiliary rear climate control, reverse sensing system, glass sunroof, six- or 10-way power driver's seat, six-way power passenger's seat, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, adjustable pedals, driver-position memory, power-folding third-row seat, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, electrochromic rearview mirror, overhead storage, entry keypad, steering wheel-mounted audio and climate controls, trip computer and 17- and 18-inch wheels.
The revised V6 delivers better mileage and, according to Ford, produces fewer emissions than the previous generation V6 Explorers. The now-more-efficient 24-valve V8 delivers a marked increase in horsepower, along with increases in maximum towing and payload capacities to 7,300 and 1,520 pounds, respectively.
210 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
254 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD), 15/20 (4WD)
292 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD), 14/20 (4WD)
By Sheree on Friday, September 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Ford began making this vehicle different and it is a very expensive car to maintain. They put a belt on the front of the motor and the belt on the back of the motor so to do any head work you have to remove the entire engine! I have put 4 new tires on this car this year, new brakes, had to rebuild the transmission at 120,000 miles, and now I need a new radiator and head work which is going to cost $3500! I would recommend "exploring" other options before purchasing this vehicle. Do not buy any 5.4L fords!"
By Bre on Thursday, August 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price, but not a good transmission"
Cons: "Transmission is no good. Ford need to improve it."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"The transmission on this truck is 100% no good. Food needs to fix this problem. I spend well over $2000 plus $700 labour to install a use transmission. Only because i wasnt ready to get a new vehicle. Because of this, i will not recommend this vehicle. My advice, before you buy a vehicle read the reviews. After i replace the trany, then i saw the reviews about the trany....not good at all"
By Scarecoupe on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ford even thinks about the size of the cup holders"
Cons: "You need to replace all 4 tires at the same time"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second explorer, previous was a 1997 XLT with 5.0 V8. It also was exceptional - it is why I purchased another one. I recently had to replace a catalytic converter and one wheel bearing. I am still on my second set of Michelin tires with maybe 50% wear. Car still looks and drives like new."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Suburban Dweller on Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Navigation, Bluetooth, sheer size of the thing"
Cons: "Gas mileage, heavy steering"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I have owned my Explorer for 4 1/2 years, bought new in March 2010 for $42k. I traded up to my Explorer Limited from a 2003 Explorer XLT, for which we traded in a '97 Explorer Eddie Bauer. Clearly, we are faithful to this wonderful car. Pros: As a mother of two teenage athletes, the Explorer's capabilities have never failed to impress me. The power-folding 3rd row seat is an awesome feature and definitely one of my favorite features. My top two favorites are the Bluetooth and Navigation systems. The Bluetooth allows me to talk on the phone, and the GPS helps me get to unknown destinations or sporting events, whatever the day calls for. When it comes time to carpool or drive kids to dinner for a birthday party, this car does the job perfectly. Cons: Fuel efficiency — more like fuel deficiency. I normally get 10-13MPG in my V6 4WD model. I definitely regret not getting the V8, which I've heard is much smoother and has a much better transmission. The lack of power liftgate or backup camera is also a big downside to me. My last complaint would have to be the heavy steering. I had a hand injury 2 years ago, which has made low speed maneuvers in this car a little more difficult. Otherwise, this is a fantastic car! I have 8 months of payments left, which is when I will sadly have to trade this car in for something more fuel efficient."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Kris on Monday, July 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "I love everything about it"
Cons: "None for me"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Not only is my white 2008 Ford Explorer a great looking vehicle, it comes with loads of extras. Running boards that fold out when a door is opened is most people's favorite option. I also love the remote start. I work on the 10th floor of my building and park below my window. I can start my car from there. By the time I get down it's cool in the summer or warm in the winter. I love that it's a V8 and a little sad that Ford stop making V8s after that. After 67k miles I am proud to say I never had an issue with the truck."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Slinky on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great inside, Good back glass view. comfortable"
Cons: "Gas mileage but enjoy driving it"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My 2010 Explorer is my second Explorer, My first was a 2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer XLT. I fell in love with it and only traded it in to have a newer year with less mileage.I do not like the 2014 design it felt too small inside but the 2010 was a comfortable space. I will love it for years too. I hope Ford changes back to the larger design than the 2014."