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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
8.0
Out of 10

Based on 175 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.9/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.4/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Very poor quality.

By on Friday, June 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,500

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Design - looks."

Cons: "Poor quality."

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

"This is my company car. It has been in the shop more than my last 5 GM and Dodge vehicles combined. It looks good but the quality is terrible. The eco-boost engine is way under powered for this SUV also. I strickly just drive the interstates and it has averaged 22.9 mpg. Mine is not a lemon because all of my co-workers drive the same Explorers and they have all experiences many problems with theirs also."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Nice Vehicle

By on Sunday, June 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,287

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This is my second Explorer, traded in my 2008 Which I really liked for it. The 2008 had better Features, easier to drive. Hard to see the front end of this vehicle. And need to raise the seat all the way up, to see out the side windows."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

2014 Explorer - excellent SUV

By on Friday, June 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,900

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sleek looks, great ride, lots of technology"

Cons: "Lacks storage nooks, touch screen gets dirty"

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

"I bought the Explorer after having my eye on the Edge for three years, simply because I found a good deal on a one year old Explorer and couldn't pass it up. I'm glad I didn't. The Explorer is a great vehicle - roomy, comfortable, loaded with features and it looks like an SUV should. I'm impressed with the Sync/MyFord Touch system - very intuitive, easy to use and configure. The seats are excellent for long drives. The handling is good compared to other large SUVs I've driven (but still SUV handling - if you want a sports car, buy a sports car). The Smart Key feature is awesome - if I unlock or remote start the car with my keyfob, it automatically sets my seat, mirror and pedal positions when I start it; my wife's key sets hers. You can lock, unlock and start the car without ever taking the fob out of your pocket. The gas mileage of the Cyclone 3.5L Ti-VCT is respectable as long as you keep the pedal off the firewall (I'm averaging 22mpg with a mix of rural/city/highway. It has plenty of power for freeway merges and passing. With all the rear seats down there is a useful amount of cargo/dog space, and the rear air conditioning helps keep Fido comfy. I haven't had the vehicle long enough to rate reliability. I really like this car!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Very Impressive SUV

By on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good riding, great perf, good value, fun"

Cons: "None to write about"

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

"Purchased a Ford Explorer Sport for my wife. Looked at and drove a Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia Den before purchase. The 3.5 Ecoboost is quite impressive. Have no problem keeping up with highway traffic. Interior is very comfortable and well appointed and the exterior is very sharp. Actually getting about 17.5-18MPG combined after only 1,200 miles. The Sony Nav/Ent system is fairly intuitive after a few days and the sound and nav directions are extremely good. One thing that isn't in the manual is the voice navigation volume if low must be turned up by hitting the volume up button when the nav system voice is speaking. As I said it is basically my wife's SUV and she absolutely loves it. We traded in a Trail Blazer LTZ and don't miss it in the least. Braking is very good and the handling is smooth and responsive. Ride is excellent! Seats are comfortable and has plenty of room for luggage. A GOOD PURCHASE!"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

I hope they get better

By on Thursday, June 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Rust forms under the paint on the hood. It happens to several owners. Ford won't warranty it. Other than that car is good. Sad Ford knows there is a problem with their product but won't properly acknowledge it"

9 people out of 12 found this review helpful

The most unreliable vehicle I've ever owned

By on Sunday, May 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
3/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Looks good"

Cons: "Poor quality all around"

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

"Windshield stress cracked when parked in the driveway, Rear brakes rotors and pads replaced at 16,000 miles, front air dam fell off at highway speed twice, nav & phone system unreliable for the first year, rear window blew out when defrost was turned on, 2 wheel hub failures, doors rusting at the crimp inside, hazard system failed, needs a complete Center control replacement This is an ABSOLUTE DON'T BUY!"

5 people out of 10 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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