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 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."
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."
By LoveMyExplorer on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Car accident
Pros: "Comfort, reliability, size, so fun to drive!"
Cons: "Gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've never owned a car for more than about 80K miles before I'd sell it, but my Explorer was different. I bought it new, and drove it everywhere for about 9 years and racked up 188,000 miles on it! Unfortunately, I was in a bad car accident, and I believe it's now totaled (no official word on that yet). I'm not saying that I never had to put money in it, but it was so reliable. It was large enough to take my husband, kids, and my kids' friends anywhere we wanted to go. It wasn't the most fuel efficient, but I overlooked that too because it was just so easy to drive. I'm only 5'2", and I loved how I sat so high in that vehicle. I have replaced it with a Ford Escape since my kids are older (downsizing), but I seriously miss my Explorer, and I wish the car dealer would have shown me some. He highly recommended the Escape. Anyway, my husband will be in the market for another car soon, and I wouldn't be surprised if we bought another Explorer."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By GeorgeX15 on Thursday, July 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good in the bad winter weather."
Cons: "Could stand a little more power."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is a good vehicle. I have had no major and few minor problems with the SUV. It runs good but put could use a little more power. I would recomend it to anyone needing good transportation in the winter."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Steve on Saturday, May 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliable, versatile and strong"
Cons: "vanity mirrors break, frequent battery replace"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Limited edition added many interior amenities. A few problems with the batteries and inside vanity mirrors but overall this vehicle performed great - especially in winter driving conditions there was never a day I had to stay off the roads. Ive owned 5 Explorers since 1991 and this was the best..."
12 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By wildnutt on Sunday, May 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "decent price, fun to drive and comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have enjoyed this vehicle from the first day it was bought. It is easy to drive and is very comfortable. Other than having to replace the tires and a battery there has been virtually no maintenance on it."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful