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Ford Explorer

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About 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.

Used Ford Explorer Models
The current-generation Explorer bowed for 2011. Among the big changes was a switch from body-on-frame to unibody architecture for more carlike driving dynamics and improved space efficiency. Not much has changed since, although the turbocharged four-cylinder engine wasn't offered in that initial year.

The third-generation Explorer ran from 2002-'10. A longer wheelbase and an independent rear suspension allowed room for a fairly accommodating third-row seat while also improving ride and handling performance. A 210-hp V6 was joined by a new 4.6-liter 239-hp V8, and both were matched to a five-speed automatic transmission. Initial trim levels included the XLS, XLT and more upscale Limited and Eddie Bauer.

For 2003, a few new trim levels debuted, including XLS Sport and the NBX (no boundaries experience -- we're not making that up). The latter came with all-terrain tires, special trim and a Yakima roof rack. An off-road package became available as well, complete with a beefed-up suspension and skid plates. The following year, equipment levels were shuffled, stability control was made available on most trims (previously it could only be had on V8 models) and Limited and Eddie Bauer models got a quad bucket seating option. The stability control system was upgraded with roll stability control for 2005.

For 2006, a substantial update took place that included revised styling inside and out, an improved frame, enhanced safety systems and a more powerful V8. The latter made 292 hp (up from the previous 239 hp) though the 210-hp 4.0-liter V6 continued unchanged. The V8 came paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission. Safety equipment was upgraded, too, as front-seat side airbags and stability control were made standard on all Explorers. More recent Explorers benefited from the arrival of the voice-activated Sync music/phone interface (2008) and a revised navigation system (2009).

In general we liked this Explorer and found value in the excellent ride and handling characteristics, comfortable and roomy cabin and, on V8 models, strong power and high towing capacity. Though later outclassed by newer crossover SUVs in terms of comfort and design, this Explorer is a solid pick, particularly if you plan to use a V8 model for towing.

Model years 1995-2001 represent the second generation Explorer. Though neither as refined nor as powerful as the generation that followed, this group is still a respectable choice for an SUV. For most of this generation's run, three engines were available: a standard 160-hp V6, an optional 210-hp V6 ('97 and later) and a 210-hp 5.0-liter V8. The familiar XL, XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited were the available trims, and there was a two-door Explorer known as the Sport. Editorial reviews of the time noted that the Explorer had a comfortable cabin and decent utility but fared poorly in terms of road handling and off-road ability.

The original Ford Explorer debuted in 1990 as a 1991 model, and it replaced the Bronco II in Ford's lineup. It achieved instant success in a market that it ultimately defined, if not created. Based on the Ford Ranger pickup, the original Explorer had the winning combination of size, style and utility that people wanted in an SUV. It came as the volume-selling four-door or a less popular two-door. Initially, just XLS and XLT trim levels were available. In 1992, an Eddie Bauer edition joined the lineup, and a Limited model followed shortly thereafter. For power, these Explorers had a 155-hp V6. Output went up slightly to 160 hp in 1993; this was also the year Ford made antilock brakes standard equipment.

Auto blog

Ford readying dozen+ Mustang models for SEMA

Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:58:00 EST

Ford is unsurprisingly bringing a herd of its new 2015 Mustang models to next month's SEMA show in Las Vegas. Over a dozen of them are arriving from top aftermarket outfits like Galpin Auto Sports, Steeda, Roush and others. The Blue Oval isn't just shining a spotlight on the V8 model, though. The new EcoBoost 2.3-liter version with 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque is also getting its time in the sun.
Among the shined-up ponies will be a showcar helping Galpin celebrate the Mustang's golden anniversary, with the car is covered in the precious metal. The black paint over the body has gold flecks in it, and the wheels, side sills, brake calipers and badges all match, as well. However, it takes more than something shiny to truly impress at SEMA, and Galpin's Mustang also packs a Whipple supercharger for the 5.0-liter V8, boosting the bottom line to 725 horsepower. Take that, Hellcat. There's even a window in the hood to look through, not unlike a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. The coupe also wears new headlights with LED turn signals that activate in sequence, just like the taillights, and the interior features black-and-gold Recaro seats.
Also set for its SEMA debut is an MRT showcar that takes the EcoBoost Mustang for a gallop with its TKO treatment. The black and orange two-tone car has been designed to incorporate select road racing elements. Mechanical upgrades include 14-inch brake rotors with new ducts, a Vortech air-to-air intercooler and an Air Lift suspension. The Mustang also shows off the company's products for added style and performance including a hood with integrated heat extractors and a unique front splitter.

NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors

Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:31:00 EST



Unfortunately, the government's list still contains errors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it's urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.

US Ford Focus RS to be imported from Europe

Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:29:00 EST

Rumors about the forthcoming Ford Focus RS are flourishing into what sounds like a very impressive new hot hatch. The latest scuttlebutt gives the first indication about when we might see a few of these fast Focuses on roads here in the US.
Unnamed insiders reportedly confirmed to The Truth About Cars that Ford plans to launch the Focus RS in the US in 2016. However, getting one might not be so easy - the boosted powertrain means the car would likely need to be imported from Europe. That's likely going to keep the total number available in the US rather low. The sources estimate a price tag that's a bit more expensive than the top Focus ST3, which starts around $28,500, plus $825 destination.
It seems that a pretty potent package comes for all of that cash, though. The Focus RS reportedly uses a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making between 325 and 350 horsepower, with a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system to get that muscle to the road. The test mules also wear more aggressive front and rear fascias, dual exhaust tips, larger brakes and sticky tires. It sounds like a great formula on top of the already enjoyable Focus ST.

Jay Leno takes a Surfin' Safari in a 1937 Ford Woodie Restomod

Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:44:00 EST

Woodie wagons were a major part of surfing culture in the 1960s, offering coastal style and a ton of room, and they even earned a mention in the Beach Boys' classic song Surfin' Safari. This week, Jay Leno's Garage takes a look at two modern, restomodded examples of these style icons.
Unlike a lot of restomods, builder Scott Bonowski keeps these wagons looking almost completely stock on the outside, and all of the upgrades are hidden underneath the timber. You can't tell by looking at it, but the '37 Woodie (pictured above) has independent front and rear suspension, disc brakes and a Ford 5.0-liter V8 under the hood.
Beyond the mechanical aspect, the craftsmanship into the wood is astounding. Bonowski claims there are between 30 and 50 coats of varnish on this wagon. It makes these woodies as much of a piece of fine furniture as a vehicle to drive.

Ford readying 2015 F-150 drift truck for SEMA

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:02:00 EST

Between the Mustangs you'd find in Formula D and the Fiestas in the Global and World rallycross championships, there's no shortage of Ford drift cars on the scene. But at the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the Blue Oval automaker intends to show off a different kind of drift machine.
Created in collaboration with driftmeister Vaughn Gittin, Jr., this custom F-150 has been designed for "on- and off-road capabilities, as well as drifting and jumping." It's got a suspension with components from Kibbetech King and Air Lift Performance to give it 12 inches of travel and comes packed with 5 Recaro seats. Other details remain limited, but if the rendering above is anything to go by, it ought to be pretty awesome.
Alongside the Gittin truck, Ford will also be showcasing another F-150 designed together with freestyle motorcross rider Brian Deegan, packing the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and a long list of enhancements. Between these two trucks, Ford hopes to extend its winning streak for the Hottest Truck award that it's taken four years running now. Feel free to read more in the press release below.

2015 Ford Mustang already under recall, but just 53 units

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:03:00 EST

Ford has issued a small - but significant - recall for one of its spotlight cars: the 2015 Mustang.
The recall affects just 53 cars, with 50 in the United States and three in Canada. Ford said the passenger side safety belt buckle tension sensor may not have been calibrated properly by the supplier. This could lead to "misclassification" of the passenger seat occupant, and could cause the airbag to deploy improperly.
A Ford spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, the automaker said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries, and dealers will replace the buckle assembly at no cost to customers. The cars affected were built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan from Aug. 18 to Oct. 2.

Ford Focus RS ready to make our hot hatch dreams real

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:28:00 EST

Ford's current hot hatch siblings the Fiesta ST and Focus ST are already two pretty great entries into the segment, but there's always a desire for a little more. Thankfully, it looks like the Blue Oval is ready to satiate that need because it's continuing to test the even more powerful Focus RS around Europe. According to our spy shooters, these shots come from near the Nürburgring.
As with previous photos, Ford engineers continue to heavily camouflage the front end of the RS prototypes, but there's a big difference here. Unlike earlier ones, this example appears to have a closer-to-production-ready front bumper rather than just a horizontal strip for the license plate. That may point to development getting somewhat closer to wrapping up. Although, this one lacks the larger rear wing from prior testers, and the exhaust also appears to be a work in progress with the rear diffuser covered in mesh in these latest shots.
The RS is rumored to be using the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the 2015 Mustang, but power is reportedly turned up from 310 horsepower in the 'Stang to somewhere between 325 hp and 350 hp for the Focus. Routing all that just through the front wheels could be a recipe for serious torque steer, and all-wheel drive is potentially being used for better traction.

Chevy Silverado frame twist test a marketing victory versus Ford

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:01:00 EST

The pickup market is so competitive that all three major American makers are constantly trying to find a way to prove their product is the best. The new 2015 Ford F-150 is grabbing headlines at the moment by winning awards and posting segment best numbers. But in a new video, Chevrolet is taking aim squarely at the 2015 F-250 Super Duty in a battle of heavy-duty truck supremacy against the 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD... well, in a single metric anyway.
The big numbers from pickups often come down to payload, towing rating and fuel economy, but for this test, Chevy and Howie Long are challenging the torsional rigidity of the trucks' frames, specifically which one flexes less. Long plays the everyman here having the Chevy engineer explain what's going on in the tests. Unsurprisingly for a video on Chevy's official YouTube page, the 2500HD wins out by a good margin. The company also reports that similar results as shown here have been certified in third-party testing.
Check out the video to see the full test. While this might seem like a marketing win for Chevy, Ford isn't immune to it, either. In 2009, the Blue Oval uploaded a similar video comparing the flex under 225 pounds of weight from the bare frames of the F-150, Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram (as it was still called at the time) and the Toyota Tundra. The results fell in the Blue Oval's favor, as you can see here.

Motor Trend pits Camaro 1LE vs Mustang with Performance Pack, surprises ensue

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:57:00 EST

With the 2015 Ford Mustang firmly on the scene, the inevitable comparisons with its arch rival, the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro are just starting to trickle out. Over the next several months, you're likely to be inundated by every outlet's muscle car comparison, whether it be the turbocharged Ford against the V6 Chevy, a V8-powered convertible comparo or what we have here, a competition between each vehicle's performance upgrade.
Motor Trend has pitted the Camaro SS 1LE against a Mustang with the GT Performance Pack for a comprehensive series of comparisons on the test stage, street and finally, at Willow Springs with ace Randy Pobst behind the wheel. As per usual, we aren't about to spoil this one for you.
So, hit the play button, have a look and then let us know what you think in Comments.

2015 Ford Focus

Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST

Sitting down at the pre-drive briefing with Ford engineers ahead of sampling the refreshed 2015 Focus, water bottles clinked as we wet our whistles before Q&A. While pouring a glass, we noticed something stamped on the bottle label: "1L." One liter. We were palming the exact displacement of the EcoBoost engine our group was about to drive. This was undoubtedly coincidence (such bottles litter every conference and dinner table in Europe) but it served to drive home just how small the total swept volume of Ford's wunderkind powerplant really is. It's tiny.
Of course, this isn't our first run-in with the little triple - we've sampled its turbocharged charms before in Ford's smaller Fiesta. At that time, we found it had plenty of poke for the subcompact, but the larger C-segment Focus carries around another 450 pounds or so and pushes a wider profile through the air. Would the three-cylinder have the stuffing to make the most of the Focus' athletic chassis, or would it be a letdown? Would it be the same as it was when we tested it in a Euro-spec Focus a couple of years ago? There was nothing left for it but to head out on the bucolic roads surrounding Versailles the day after the Paris Motor Show and find out for ourselves.