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2013 Ford Explorer

Overview
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2013 Ford Explorer Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

When Ford introduced the all-new Explorer last year, it didn't just do a slight refresh of the existing model. Instead, Ford created an entirely new vehicle unlike any Explorer before it. For 2013, the Explorer continues to attract new buyers swayed by its sleek, almost Land Rover-like good looks, cutting-edge technology and efficient engine choices, including the first turbocharged 4-cylinder engine ever to grace an Explorer engine bay. With seating for seven, the Explorer is definitely family-friendly and, thanks to an advanced multi-setting 4-wheel-drive system, the family can now venture confidently off-road (something the old Explorer wasn't very good at). Ironically, the one vehicle that stands to lose market share to the Explorer is its own sibling, the Ford Flex.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're seeking the room and versatility of a big SUV, but don't like the idea of a poor-handling, fuel-thirsty land barge that's nearly impossible to park, Ford's 2013 Explorer deserves a good look. Additionally, the Explorer has a beautifully-designed interior and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're hoping for the high-mileage EcoBoost engine and 4-wheel drive, you'll be disappointed to learn the fuel-efficient 4-cylinder is available only on front-wheel-drive models. The Explorer's limited 5,000-pound tow rating may also be a deal killer.

What's New for 2013

For 2013, a new Sport trim joins the Explorer fleet, offering a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, standard 4-wheel drive, 20-inch sport alloy wheels and two-tone leather-trimmed seats. New features for the Explorer include a passenger-side front knee airbag, available heated steering wheel and auto-dimming headlights.

Driving the Explorer

Driving Impressions It takes only a few minutes of seat time in the 2013 Ford Explorer to realize this is no ordinary SUV. The rigid unit body has none of the squeaks...

and rattles so commonplace in most truck-based SUVs, while Ford's Curve Control throttle intervention helps maintain a safe speed when rounding sharp corners. The Explorer's adept suspension is aided by a host of electronic assists designed to make this mid-size SUV handle like a lithe sport sedan. Our short time testing the Terrain Management 4-wheel-drive system netted some pretty impressive results, especially considering the Explorer's modest 7.6 inches of ground clearance and somewhat soft suspension. Still, we wouldn't put this vehicle up against a Toyota 4Runner, for example, whose body-on-frame architecture and hi/lo transfer case make it more conducive to serious off-road challenges. Then again, few truck-based SUVs can match the 2013 Explorer's outstanding fuel economy, exceptional cabin comfort, user-focused functionality and class-leading connectivity.

MYFORD TOUCH
This latest version of Ford's driver-connect technology is standard on the Explorer Limited and available on the XLT. It utilizes an expanded version of the automaker's SYNC voice-command system to allow and facilitate a broader range of input commands for the audio, navigation, climate control and phone systems.

CURVE CONTROL
A world-exclusive, this standard safety enhancement automatically senses when the vehicle is entering a given corner too quickly and automatically engages throttle and braking intervention to help it maintain the desired driving path.

2013 Ford Explorer Details
Interior

Look inside most trucked-based SUVs and you'll find the same utilitarian dash and door panels as their pickup truck counterparts. Not so with the 2013 Ford Explorer, where an elegant cabin is awash in high-quality, soft-touch surfaces. The Explorer's instrument cluster is clean and simple on the base models and, on the XLT and Limited, it can be upgraded to include the MyFord Touch package that features configurable LCD screens in place of the traditional analog gauges. At the rear, a single-piece rear liftgate opens to expose 15.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which can be expanded to a maximum of 80.7 cubic feet by folding down both rows of rear seats.

Exterior
2013 Ford Explorer photo

With the 2013 Explorer, Ford has jettisoned the boxy, upright design of old and replaced it with an elegant body highlighted by a boldly-rakish front end. The Explorer's tall doors and lower roof give it a slick, almost low-rider look, as do the Sport and Limited's 20-inch wheels. But, the design is an optical illusion because there is plenty of headroom inside as well as ground clearance below (7.6 inches to be exact). The Explorer's wide track benefits interior occupants with more hip and shoulder room, as well as greatly aids in improved handling and cornering.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In addition to its V6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, the 2013 Ford Explorer boasts numerous power assists, MyFord driver connectivity, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with media hub, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering column and more. The XLT adds auto headlights, foglights, 18-inch wheels, rearview camera with zoom function, premium cloth upholstery, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, SecuriCode keyless-entry pad and the SelectShift feature. Leather-upholstered, the Limited gets all that and the XLT's Driver Connect and Comfort Packages – plus a Sony premium audio system with HD Radio. Safety items include AdvanceTrak with Roll Stability Control and Curve Control and Hill Start Assist.

Optional Equipment

For 2013, all Ford Explorers offer 4-wheel drive with multi-mode Terrain Management System and Hill Descent Control. XLT buyers can add the Driver Connect (MyFord Touch/SYNC, premium audio, dual-zone climate control and rearview camera). The Limited's Luxury Seating Package (perforated leather, heated/cooled front seats, power-folding third-row seat, power liftgate and navigation) is available with or without the 302A Group (Blind Spot Information System, adaptive cruise control, Auto Park, HID headlamps and rain-sensing wipers). Stand-alone options for the XLT, Limited and Sport models include navigation, dual-panel power moonroof, power liftgate, inflatable second-row outboard seatbelts, power tilt/telescopic and heated steering wheel and the blind spot system.

Under the Hood

The 2013 Explorer's standard engine is Ford's high-tech 3.5-liter Ti-VCT (twin-independent variable camshaft timing) V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. With the 6-speed automatic this engine delivers class-leading 17/25 mpg city/highway EPA numbers in front-drive Explorers and 17/23 mpg in the 4WD versions; it also accelerates from zero to 60 mph in roughly eight seconds and gives the Explorer a 5,000-pound maximum towing capacity. Optional on front-drive models is the new 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, but is recommended to use premium fuel. Fuel economy ratings for the EcoBoost are an estimated 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. The Sport gets a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine rated at 350 horsepower.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg

3.5-liter V6
290 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (FWD), 13/18 mpg (E85), 17/23 (4WD), 12/17 mpg (4WD E85)

3.5-liter turbocharged V6
350 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA

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2013 Ford Explorer Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 168 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.0/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Many features for the money

By on Sunday, May 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Safe"

Cons: "Dash seems cheap"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Many features for what you spend. I bought the fully loaded model for $50,750. Its nice but compared to some other vehicles the interior quality seems low."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Best SUV Ever I was a Dodgeman and now i love Ford

By on Saturday, April 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

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: "Great value , fun to drive, great ride"

Cons: "none love it"

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

"I have driven my explorer day to day and from coast to coast recently and it was a pleasure the millage got was way over the rated millage and the ride and room and handling was awesome. I previously had a Durango and i wont go back the dependability of the explorer over the Durango is no contest. This is a great value and a even better driver."

Not Reliable

By on Thursday, April 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "looks great"

Cons: "not reliable at all"

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

"This vehicle has 68,000 miles and has already had over $5,000 worth of repair work done, air conditioner unit replaced, shock/strut mounts replaced, brake calipers froze and had to be replaced along with rotors and all new pads, transmission problems, extensive problems with the SYNC system."

24 people out of 37 found this review helpful

I really like this Ford!

By on Wednesday, April 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive and I like the ambient lighting."

Cons: "The 3rd row is only good for young children."

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

"Its quick and has a surprising turning radius. It looks good on the inside and the outside and the amenities have spoiled me."

3 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Best car we have ever had

By on Tuesday, April 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500

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: "Enjoyable, comfortable drive. Lots of room."

Cons: "none"

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

"We have owned our Explorer fully loaded Limited for 1 1/2 years now and still LOVE it. This is the first Ford we have ever owned. It is a pleasure to drive it. Previously we have driven Toyota and GM cars. We looked at Ford because my brother owned an Escape and swore by it. We have 2 boys who come with a lot of sports equipment to haul around and teams to shuttle to practices. This SUV does it all and in style and comfort. On the highway it feels very solid and has good pickup for passing. We have had NO issues at all with this car."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Very satisfied so far

By on Monday, February 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Ride and acceleration (Sport with twin turbo)"

Cons: "Touch screen and steering wheel functions"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I've owned 3 SUVs in the past 3 years (the 2 others were Chrysler products). I got out of the others because they were low quality and unreliable (I had to bring my 2014 Jeep GC in over a dozen times for transmission issues). I've only owned this vehicle for about a month, but so far, I'm very happy with it. I own a 2015 Explorer Sport, and by far the best things about it are the ride and the acceleration. Even with the stiff suspension, the ride is smoother than other SUVs, and the twin turbo delivers smooth acceleration, turning an otherwise lumbering vehicle into a much quicker one. Handling is good for it's size, but I can't say it's nimble. The seats are among the most comfortable I've sat in, although I've had trouble finding a comfortable driving position. That's the one area where I think they could improve - interior design. Having bought the Sport version, I like to drive, and like to have my hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel or on top at 12. Everything about the steering wheel is laid out for a lower hand position - maybe 8 and 4. The steering wheel also appears to be less vertical than other vehicles that I've driven - again dictating a lower hand position. This makes it hard not only to get into a comfortable driving position, but also more difficult to use the steering wheel buttons. Having buttons on the rear of the steering wheel like other SUVs do would be a big plus. My other complaint has to do with the touch screen. Because the steering wheel functions are hard to use (I have to go into a menu and hit a button 4-5 times just to changes devices - FM to Sirius), I find myself using the touch screen. The buttons on the touch screen are too small, and I find myself really having to focus on the screen in order to hit the correct button instead of focusing on the road. This is something that could be fixed with bigger buttons, and steering wheel functions that are easier to use. Since the performance of the car is what's most important to me, overall I'm happy, but with some design changes, Ford really could have it a home run with this one."

23 people out of 34 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

Buying this car?