Shopping used? Have a family or boat and need a four-wheel drive that’s spacious and tough? The Ford Explorer is worth a look.
Available in its last generation from 2006 to 2010, riding an actual “truck” frame platform and fitted with a real four-wheel drive system, Explorer was engineered for real-life capability.
Feature content included Ford’s keypad system, automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, heated leather, a sunroof and more.
Look for four-wheel drive and automatic transmissions all around. Explorer’s standard four-litre V6 engine made 210 horsepower, while a 4.6-litre V8 turned in 292 ponies.
On earlier models, check the transmission for smoothness while shifting between reverse and drive, and note any slipping or hesitation when accelerating from a stop.
Any drivability issues related to the six-speed transmission (standard on V8-powered models) are likely computer-related and not catastrophic.
The five-speed automatic teamed up with the V6 engine is noted to be more problematic and less robust, making the V8 powertrain a more sensible choice. Some stalling issues were also noted on the V6-powered models, backing this point.
On any Explorer, check for proper air conditioning performance, and have the underside of the vehicle checked for fluid leaks — especially coolant leaks. Also have the underside checked out for signs of rust, off-road abuse and worn suspension components.
Ensure you’re able to toggle between all 4×4 modes as outlined in the owner’s manual.
Used Explorer shoppers are advised to avoid the earlier years of this model and stick to V8-powered units where possible. A well-maintained Explorer free of notable issues should prove the most reliable.