2008 Ford Explorer Review
The Explorer is a midsize SUV that debuted for 1991. It quickly became the best-selling SUV in the United States. Soon after, in 1995, the second generation debuted with a brand new rounded look. The third generation debuted on a new platform in 2002. The current generation was released in 2006, and was nominated “North American Truck of the Year.”
The BuyingAdvice Team Says:
Despite falling sales, the Ford Explorer is better than ever. It delivers everything you could expect from a sport utility vehicle. It hauls, it tows and, properly equipped, it can go just about anywhere. While it’s overkill for the timid, it’s a true workhorse at heart.
Side airbags are now standard. Later in the year, a new capless fueling system will be added. A new option for 2008 is the Ford Sync system, a hands-free control feature co-developed with Microsoft.
What’s New For 2008:
What is the Predicted Reliability:
J.D. Power gives the Explorer 3 stars for mechanical quality and 2.5 stars for performance and design. Problems with the last generation included fluid leaks, loose timing belts, loose rear windows, troublesome fuel gauges and engine noise. It was recalled four times. Problems with the current generation include coolant leaks, hard starting, steering noise, overheating brakes and shifter lockouts. It’s been recalled twice for ungreased wipers and overtightened bolts. Expect average reliability. The basic warranty lasts for three years or 36,000 miles.
Analysis Of Safety Ratings And Features:
The Explorer earned perfect government crash test scores. In IIHS tests, it earned “Good” for the front, “Acceptable” for the side and “Poor” for the rear. Anti-lock brakes, full side airbags and stability control come standard.
Pros and Cons:
+ Fun to drive
+ Strong utility for buyers
- Poor gas mileage
- Lack of traction control
- Occasional cheap materials
The Chevrolet Equinox LT2 features AWD and traction control, but has 20 less hp and lacks side airbags. The Hyundai Santa Fe SE includes AWD, traction control, slightly better gas mileage and 30 more hp. The very similar, yet more upscale Mercury Mountaineer offers traction control at about the same price.
What Others Are Saying:
“Despite rising gasoline prices, Explorer makes sense for families and people who need comfortable seating for 2-8 people-no one else offers a power folding third row seat-and the ability to tow a very sizeable boat or trailer. Perhaps most importantly, none of its fun to drive anywhere, any time, spirit has been lost. That has improved, even as Explorer became safer and more trustworthy.” – The Auto Channel
“It’s easy to dismiss the new Explorer as a gas-powered dodo, but the SUV does so many things so well- hauling, schlepping, cruising, crashing, towing and off-roading- that it’s both unwise and premature to count it out. If Ford can hoick the Explorer V8′s mileage into the mid-20′s, this thing will fly off the lots. It’s only a matter of time…” – The Truth About Cars
“The Ford Explorer has never been better and represents an excellent choice among midsize sport utilities. It gets the basics right while paying attention to the details. We find the Explorer fully competitive in a tightly contested segment, succeeding as both an excellent machine and a high-value purchase. It’s handsome, smooth, quiet, comfortable and competent.” – The New York Times
Read more about the 2008 Ford Explorer at the Ford manufacturer web site.