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October 2020 Newsletter

Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is widely regarded as the catalyst that started America’s love affair with the SUV that began in the early 1990s. Certainly there were SUVs before the Explorer, but they were mostly utilitarian in nature. The Explorer was the first go-to SUV for the Everyman. Throughout its life, the Ford Explorer has delivered versatility, a reasonable amount of comfort, affordability and, perhaps most importantly, more style than a station wagon or minivan. During much of the ’90s, Ford was consistently selling more than 400,000 Explorers a year.

As if part of a Greek tragedy, however, the Explorer became embroiled in controversy at the start of the new millennium. Models fitted with certain Firestone tires were found to have higher than average instances of tire failure and subsequent rollover crashes. Though the Ford SUV was largely exonerated in subsequent analysis, it never fully recovered in terms of sales or image. Ford has put all that in the past, however, and its latest Explorer boasts many improvements to driving dynamics and feature content. New or used, the justifiably popular Explorer should be part of any serious SUV search.

Current Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer is a large three-row SUV that can accommodate up to seven passengers. A 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower V6 is standard, while a more fuel-efficient 2.0-liter, 240-hp turbocharged four-cylinder is optional. Both engines are hooked up to a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional for the V6.

There are three trim levels: base, XLT and Limited. Though even the base version comes well-equipped, moving up the list provides luxuries such as leather seating, the Sync voice command system, a rearview camera, keyless ignition/entry and upgraded audio systems. Optional highlights include a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, adaptive cruise control and even an automatic parallel-parking system. Stability control and a multitude of airbags are standard, with blind spot and collision warning systems available on upper trims.

In reviews, we’ve found the Ford Explorer to be one of the best choices for a family-oriented SUV. It drives well, gets very good fuel economy for its class and still retains the versatility that made people like SUVs in the first place. Fitted with most of its optional high-tech features, the Explorer is also one of the most advanced SUVs available, luxury brand or not. The Explorer’s most notable downside is that it doesn’t provide as much third-row and cargo space as some rival large crossover SUVs.

 

Source: [Edmunds]


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