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2009 Ford Explorer

Overview
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2009 Ford Explorer Review

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Despite the recent downturn in SUV sales, a somewhat aging platform and less-than-stellar fuel economy, the 2009 Ford Explorer continues to populate Ford showrooms. Powerful owner loyalty, a reasonable size and the option of a potent V8 engine all contribute to the Explorer's appeal, and it makes a great choice for families looking to get away from a full-sized SUV, as well as for those who need the ground clearance 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 an attractive price, three-row seating, a powerful V8 engine and the Explorer's 7,300-pound tow rating.

You'll Like This Car If...

Whether you're drawn to the 2009 Ford 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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Although the 2009 Ford 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.

What's New for 2009

Trailer Sway Control is added to the Explorer's AdvanceTrac stability system. New optional features include the next-generation navigation system with SIRIUS Travel Link and a new XLT Sports Package.

Driving the Explorer

Driving Impressions Thanks to a sturdy frame and recently revised suspension, the 2009 Ford Explorer is noticeably smoother and more stable out on the highway than past versions. It's also quieter, making...

for easy conversation between occupants in separate rows. Moreover, the Explorer is more responsive around town and, when equipped with the 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, such as 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 2009 Ford Explorer is impressively, refreshingly quiet.

2009 Ford Explorer Details
2009 Ford Explorer photo Interior

The 2009 Explorer's interior sports traditional Ford angular styling along with a few new interior options. Front-row seats feature extended seat tracks to better accommodate a wider range of occupant heights, while 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 more likely to stay in place. The only functional sore spot we noted was the awkward placement of the front inside door handles.

Exterior

The 2009 Ford Explorer remains a very obvious descendant of the first Explorer that materialized some 17 years ago and revolutionized the industry. The biggest and most obvious change is up front, with two grilles – each assigned to a particular trim level – inspired by Ford's F-150 pickup. Distinguishing this generation from the last is probably most difficult from the side, but look closely and you'll find thicker roof rails, larger and more distinct wheels and bigger side mirrors. Around back, large taillights and a big nine-inch blue Ford oval further differentiate the new model from previous Explorers.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard equipment on a base-level Explorer XLT includes a 4.0-liter V6, five-speed automatic transmission, two-wheel drive, power windows, locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, air conditioning, cruise control, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with RSC (Roll Stability Control), 16-inch painted aluminum wheels, cloth bucket seats with driver-side manual lumbar support, tire pressure monitoring system, digital compass, outside temperature indicator and front, side-impact and two-row side-curtain airbags.

Optional Equipment

Trim-level, package and stand-alone options include a 4.6-liter V8 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, third-row seat, leather seats, woodgrain interior accents, voice-activated 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, entry keypad, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, trip computer and 17-, 18- and 20-inch wheels.

Under the Hood

The 4.0-liter V6 engine delivers decent mileage and, according to Ford, produces fewer emissions than the previous-generation V6 Explorers. The 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.

4.0-liter V6
210 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
254 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 13/19 (4WD)

4.6-liter V8
292 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
315 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD), 14/19 (4WD)

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Buying this car?

2009 Ford Explorer Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 407 Ratings for the 2006 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Ran into alot of problems (USED)

By on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Roomy, family car, nice style inside and out"

Cons: "Electric transmission and stalling problems"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"The car had issue with the transmission when I first bought it and come to find out this is a very BIG issue with other 2006 explorers. Its nothing crazy just jumps occasionally when I put it into reverse. i was able to get over that. However now the car is older and well she just goes out on me. Ford cant seem to find out what is wrong because no codes show up. However it keeps stalling out on me. In a course of a month it has stalled on the road 9 times and 2 times parked. The overall look inside and out is great. Great family car except that fact that it flakes on me. Good secure fixtures for the car seats and the handle bars to get in are great. A lot of people had confusion on how to get out of my car. The handles are in a weird location."

14 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle I have ever owned

By on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Beautiful, Comfortable, Dream to drive, Economical"

Cons: "absolutely no cons what so ever!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The Ford Explorer is the nicest vehicle I have ever owned. It fits me in all categories. It is beautiful enough to give you a little class without drawing attention to you. The interior is so comfortable and spacious without being a big boat. Good gas mileage and absolutely no problems in the 7 years I have owned it. I am buying a Ford Explorer Sport and my best friend has been waiting for me to sell him my car! Best Car Ever!"

10 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Purchase new and never had to good back to dealer.

By on Thursday, May 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,100

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Have owned this vehicle from 2009 till present(2015) and never had a problem with it, only had to do brakes once and two sets of tires."

1 person out of 5 found this review helpful

BEST explorer I ever owned

By on Monday, March 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Perfect vehicle"

Cons: "gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned 7 Explorers. I usually trade every 3 years , but I didn't care for the new body style. I use this to carry a kayak, pull my boat, carry lumber, carry rock/stone for projects, yet my friends ask me to borrow it for their wedding parties to travel. It is classy, it shines up like a new penny! Paint quality is superb."

18 people out of 28 found this review helpful

Decent vehicle

By on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Excellent to drive"

Cons: "Transmission issue"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"As usual ford missed the chance to address their famous transmission issue. This was the first thing I had to fix on this car, and problem is still on going. This has led me to finance another vehicle, which will not be a Ford."

13 people out of 15 found this review helpful

I love this vehicle.

By on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "the hand grab on passenger side should be higher."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have owned a 2002, 2005 and this 2010. I would be interested in purchasing another one in the near future. I do wish they came in a light to medium blue color."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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