When something doesn’t work, change it. Ford does this with the 2002 Ford Explorer. Before, this SUV had nothing to offer. Several design changes bring the Explorer new life and raises it back up with the competition in terms of ride and handling. Offered with plenty of standard and safety features, the four trim levels of the SUV meet the needs of any used-car buyer.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 4.0-liter V-6, 4.6-liter V-8
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Ford Explorer XLS, Ford Explorer XLT, Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer, Ford Explorer Limited
For the 2002 model year, the Ford Explorer gets an overhaul to improve its ride and make it more carlike. Some of the changes include widening the stance by 2.5 inches as well as increasing the wheelbase by two inches for improved handling and interior space. The new rear independent suspension system improves handling too. This improvement also allows for a more comfortable ride. The new Explorer has an optional third-row seat, larger door openings, and a lower height to step into. It also adds an optional reverse sensing system and side-curtain airbags.
With its new model design improvements, the 2002 Ford Explorer retains its characteristic good looks and rugged qualities. The front end and the grille of the Explorer look distinctive and much like the front end of the Ford line of trucks. This feature adds to its rugged appeal and impressive demeanor. The front fenders appear rather bulbous over the tire wells. Ford offers this model in several color choices. Some of the more popular options include Silver Birch Metallic, Black, Aspen Green Metallic, and True Blue Metallic.
The 2002 Ford Explorer offers comfortable front seating. It uses bucket seats with cloth upholstery for the lower trim levels and leather upholstery in the upper levels. The upper trim levels have six-way power chairs with height adjustment. The rear split-folding seat allows for more storage space and accommodates awkward cargo. The power accessories seem pretty much what one would expect. The Explorer comes equipped with power door locks and windows. Convenience marks an important part of the Explorer’s design and cruise control comes standard as well as air-conditioning. Cup holders sit in the front and rear of the cabin. The front console offers interior storage space along with the front seatback storage and front door pockets. The overhead console also features convenient storage. Access to the rear seat proves easy and convenient as well. The upper trim levels also offer a tilt-adjustable, leather-clad steering wheel. The instrument dash comes complete with a compass, a clock, and external temperature display. For listening entertainment, this SUV includes a 60-watt audio system with four speakers, a CD player, and an AM/FM stereo.
Performance & Handling
The changes made to the 2002 Ford Explorer for this model year move the tired, old SUV into a new category. Before the Explorer tried to get by on the Ford name and reputation without putting a lot of work into it. The improved suspension system, wider wheelbase, and wider stance have made the Explorer a nice SUV to drive in terms of comfort and refinement. The changes certainly take a step in the right direction.
Proper safety features have long been a tradition for Ford and the 2002 Explorer has plenty to make the driver and passengers feel secure. This SUV comes equipped with four-wheel anti-lock brakes and child seat anchors. The 2002 Ford Explorer also includes front airbags as well as an engine immobilizer. The front and rear of the cabin come equipped with height-adjustable headrests. These headrests limit the damage to the head and neck in the event of an accident. Electronic brake force distribution provides standard equipment as well.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Explorer: 14/19 mpg city/highway
- Powerful engine choices
- Optional third-row seat
- Good-looking body design
- Independent rear suspension
You Won't Like
- Drives more like a truck than a car
- Very popular
Completely new for 2002; much better than its earlier incarnations.
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