The Ford Explorer is an award winning sport utility vehicle (SUV). For 2005, the Explorer is more refined than previous truck-like models. The improvement is due to a new innovative rear suspension. The seating is standard for five passengers and an optional third-row seat is available increasing the seating to seven. The Explorer is available in two engines, four models, and numerous trim levels, which can be configured to any requirements. This vehicle is an option for any pocketbook and purpose.
Body Styles: Four-door mid-size 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 XLT Sport, Ford
Explorer Eddie Bauer, Ford Explorer Limited
A newly devised port-in-frame independent rear suspension is new with shafts that thrusts through holes in the frame. This allowed space for an optional third-row seat as well as a more refined ride. Now standard is the AdvanceTrac electronic stability system with Roll Stability Control.
Going back to the style of the 1990s is a burly front. Exit and entry is easier due to large door openings and a lowered step in height. It has simple and round forms, clean body panels, and a brawny new grille with an egg-crate insert. The body is made of high-quality and durable material. The Explorer’s measurements are a 189.5-inch length, 114-inch wheelbase, and 9.4-inch clearance. The XLS’s standard exterior features include 16-inch cast aluminum wheels, black wheel lip molding, and black step bars.
The XLT adds fog lights, approach lights on the power side mirrors, and chrome grille. The XLT Sport adds to these features with 17-inch bright-machined aluminum wheels, automatic headlights, and body color door handles. In addition, platinum gloss step bars, cladding, and wheel-lip molding further accent the exterior. The Eddie Bauer model additionally adds 17-inch wheels in cast aluminum, two-tone Pueblo Gold exterior accents, satin nickel grille, and heated side mirrors. The Limited model adds to all this 17-inch chromed wheels, chromed grille, roof rails, and monochromatic exterior with running boards.
The seating is roomy and the third-row seating is unsurpassed in its class in headroom and legroom. Standard equipment on the XLS includes remote keyless entry, a rear wiper/washer, cruise control, a CD audio system, and power windows, mirrors, and locks. In addition, a tilt steering wheel, front bucket seats, and a rear defogger are added. Also intermittent wipers, map lights, and cargo-management system are standard features.
The XLT adds to those features with six-way power driver’s seat, overhead console with storage, lumbar adjustment in the front, and outside temperature and compass display. In addition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a center cluster accent a steel finish. The XLT Sport also adds a self-dimming interior mirror.
The Eddie Bauer adds power adjustable pedals, dual zone automatic climate control, an in-dash six-CD changer, and heated side mirrors. Also added are two-toned leather upholstery, heated front seats, eight-way driver and six-way passenger adjustable seats, driver seat memory and a rear seat DVD entertainment system. Additionally, pecan wood grain accents and a message center adds to the luxury leather-trimmed seating and unique Mandarin teak wood-grain accents.
Performance & Handling
There is now a notable ride experience due to the new rear suspension. The Explorer's performance with the V-6 is acceptable. The V-8 is decidedly stronger, but acceleration is not overpowering. Shifting is noticeable but not overly vexing.
Standard safety equipment on all Explorer models includes an anti-lock disc braking system with electronic brake-force distribution and ventilated disc. Also standard is the new AdvanceTrac electronic stability system with Roll Stability. The roll stability is designed to activate when it detects a wheel is about to leave the pavement reducing the chance of a rollover. Additional standard safety features include engine immobilizer, child seat anchors, and rear seat child safety locks.
A canopy side curtain airbag system and a reverse sensing system that detects obstacles in the rear are optional. The NHTSA’s ratings for the Explorer are five out of five stars for passenger protection, four stars for driver protection, five stars for protection in a side impact in both front and rear, and three stars for rollover protection. The IIHS’s rating is ?Good,? which is the best possible rating, for the frontal offset crash test and ?Poor,? for rear crash protection and head restraint.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Explorer: 14/19 mpg city/highway
- Strong optional V-8
- Comfortable cabin
- Seating up to seven
- Excellent ride for a truck-based SUV
- Good crash test results
You Won't Like
- Poor fuel economy
- Some low grade materials in interior
- Confusing controls in high-end models
- Boring cabin design
A great all-around mid-size SUV with ample room, a strong powertrain, smooth ride and few complaints.
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