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1997 Ford Explorer Review
A classic and iconic American SUV.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1997 Ford Explorer comes in an assortment of front-drive, rear-drive, and all-wheel-drive models. It debuted in 1991, followed by enough consumer appeal to make it a top-selling SUV for years to come. In fact, for a period of time, only a couple of pickup trucks had more sales volume.
Drivers get the satisfaction of a pleasant experience behind the wheel, highlighted by solid performance, adequate handling capabilities, and excellent braking. Passengers enjoy a comfortable ride with sufficient room to maneuver. Standard safety features, along with available options add to the appeal, making the Explorer a tough rival of the Chevrolet Blazer and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Engines: 160-hp 4.0-liter V-6, 205-hp 4.0-liter V-6, 5.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Ford Explorer XL, Ford Explorer Sport, Ford Explorer XLT, Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer, Ford Explorer Limited
A new V-6 engine provides an option to power the 1997 Ford Explorer with more horsepower and torque. Also, a new five-speed automatic transmission joins the lineup, which comes standard on all models carrying either V-6 engine.
The 1997 Ford Explorer has approximately a 179-inch length, a 70-inch width, a 67-inch height, and a 102-inch wheelbase. It has a rugged design and shows its strong ties with the Ford truck family. The Explorer features chrome front and rear bumpers, externally adjustable black door mirrors, chrome trim, halogen bulb headlights, a rear platform step, a solar-reflective windshield, a swing-out rear window, and tinted glass. A roof rack, a power moonroof, and fog lights remain optional. It has a curb weight of 3707 pounds and sits on 15-inch steel or alloy wheels.
The interior of the Ford Explorer fits between four and six passengers. In the front, it has knitted vinyl bucket seats with head restraints, divided by a console on the floor that includes a storage box and cup holders. The dash contains gauges that look logically arranged for clear readability. In the rear, it has is a split-folding seat with a headrest. It may fold flat to enable more storage room. The 1997 Ford Explorer features a 12-volt power point, manual air-conditioning, two coat hooks, front reading lights, dual cloth visors with mirrors, and an AM/FM stereo with four speakers. A cassette or CD player, Captain’s chairs, and power windows and locks remain optional.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Ford Explorer comes packed with either a four-liter V-6 that produces 160 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque, a four-liter V-6 that pumps out 205 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, or a five-liter V-8 that cranks out 211 horsepower and 274 lb-ft of torque. The engines mate with either a four- or five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission. Trucks with the 205-hp V-6 inside can tow up to 5800 pounds, while those carrying the V-8 engine reach a maximum towing capacity of 7300 pounds.
The Explorer uses an independent wishbone front suspension with a stabilizer bar and torsion springs teamed with a rigid beam rear suspension with a stabilizer bar and leaf springs. The ride has more spring to it than any sedan, but major irregularities on the road get absorbed pretty well. Handling feels superb, except during quick maneuvering. Rack-and-pinion power steering seems responsive and predictable, allowing for precise control.
The 1997 Ford Explorer comes equipped with anti-lock brakes on all four wheels. It includes driver and front-passenger front-impact airbags.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Explorer 205-hp 4.0-liter V-6 : 15/20 mpg city/highway
Ford Explorer 5.0-liter V-8 : 14/18 mpg city/highway
- Strong performance
- Lots of cargo room
- Attractive exterior styling
You Won't Like
- Below average fuel economy
- Rattles and shakes at increased speeds
A classic and iconic American SUV.
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