POSTED: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 5:12pm
UPDATED: Saturday, July 9, 2011 - 7:14pm
It’s kind of hard to believe in these days of over-$3 gas that in 2000, the Ford Explorer was the best selling non-pickup vehicle in the country. Almost half a million butts found there way onto Explorer seats.
In 10 years, and a bunch of exploded Firestones later, that sales number was down to 55,000 with roughly half that many seemingly sitting on their roofs. In fact, there was some grumbling that the name Explorer had become automotive kryptonite.
Well, they were wrong and the new, and dramatically restyled Explorer is here, and it’s actually relevant again. It is no longer a body-on-frame truck but is now based on the Taurus sedan. The result is a smoother ride, common components, and a lot less towing capacity. But truth be told, you rarely saw anything bigger than a jet ski hitched to the average Explorer even in its heyday.
The V8 is gone now as well replaced by a turbo 2.0-liter four with 231 horsepower or the 3.5-liter V6 with 290 ponies under your right foot. If you need a V8 and more towing, get an Expedition.
The look is sleek and unadorned. It looks a little Range Roverish and inside, it’s all about room. The 3rd row rear seats fold down to give you lots of cargo space, and the dash is positively spacey looking when you turn the key.
Since its soul is a Taurus, the base truck is front-wheel-drive now, and though it is more svelte, it’s still a porker at 4900 pounds. That means mileage of 17 city – 25 highway.
The price may be an issue starting at nearly $30,000 and zooming upwards of 50-large. In addition, Ford now has the Explorer, the Flex and the Edge all filling roughly the same role.
That’s at least one too many.