The 2001 Ford Explorer is designed primarily for comfort and style, rather than the rugged off-road performance that sport utility vehicles (SUV) are normally associated with. While it does have some off-road capability, the Explorer is not on the same level as more performance oriented SUVs. It handles well on roadways, highways, and for day-to-day driving. It accentuates the aspects of SUVs that are good for these situations, while minimizing the traditional SUV features that normally are detrimental. For example, the Explorer’s body is not as elevated as some SUV models. As a result, it does not have enough ground clearance for some off-road situations. However, it does not feel as tippy, is easier to enter and is easier to load than higher body SUVs. Whenever compromises have to be made, Ford erred on the side of roadway performance and comfort with the Explorer.
The 2001 Explorer is designed to appeal to a fairly wide range of drivers. Drivers looking for an SUV to use as a family vehicle are the most obvious group. However, the Ford Explorer serves as a solid alternative to a station wagon. In addition, it can reliably be used for lighter off-road work, so some drivers that regularly need to go through unpaved paths and relatively even terrain could find the Explorer to be an attractive choice for the amount of comfort it grants for the price.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 4.0-liter six-cylinder, 5.0-liter eight-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five–speed automatic
Models: Ford Explorer XLS, Ford Explorer XLT, Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer, Ford Explorer Limited
The 2001 Ford Explorer is equipped with a four-liter six-cylinder base engine. Manual transmission is no longer available as an option.
The 2001 Ford Explorer is a four-door SUV. Measuring 190.7 inches in total length, it is a little smaller than most vehicles in its class. The size puts it fairly close to an average sedan in overall length. Alloy wheels and a roof rack are standard equipment on all models. Most of the models also have step running boards as standard equipment.
The 2001 Ford Explorer is designed with comfort in mind, so even the low end models offer a fair amount of amenities. The XLS has power locks, power mirrors, power windows, front console, AM/FM radio, Mast audio, and air-conditioning as standard equipment. The higher-end Eddie Bauer model adds power leather seats, cruise control, steering wheel controls, climate control, leather trim, CD player, and electrochromatic mirrors to the standard features list. Between the model selection and optional features, drivers can get amenities to rival a standard passenger vehicle or a near-luxury vehicle.
Performance & Handling
The 2001 Ford Explorer has solid performance across the board, fitting somewhere between the more car like crossover SUVs and full-size models in terms of performance. Both engine options provide good acceleration. The turning circle is quite small, not quite as tight as a car, but much better than a truck and most full-size SUVs. The ride can be a little bumpier than some other vehicles, but it is generally relatively smooth. Overall, it handles well as a day to day vehicle, even without making concessions for its size.
The 2001 Ford Explorer has dual-front airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, and an engine immobilizer as standard equipment on every model. Side-curtain airbags are available as an optional feature.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Explorer 4.0-liter six-cylinder: 15/20 mpg city/highway
Ford Explorer 5.0-liter eight-cylinder: 13/18 mpg city/highway
- Spacious interior
- Large number of options
- Good safety performance
You Won't Like
- Tough competition to stack up to
- A major design upgrade
- Weak fuel economy
A perennial classic.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- GMC Denali
- Toyota Sequoia