Monday, November 19, 2012

Used Car Review - Ford Explorer (2007-2011)

If you say SUV, it should be American. You want one right? But Myk Belmonte says that it must be practical since fuel money is limited, space is trouble, and less is more. But what American SUV would be it? There is one outstanding choice in a sea of them.

2007-2011 Ford Explorer

If there is one vehicle that ignited the SUV craze, this would be the one. The Explorer replaced the Ford Bronco in 1990 and thus became a runaway success which caused other manufacturers (particularly the Americans) to join the party. There are numerous Explorer history tidbits which include the introduction of the Explorer Sport Trac pick-up truck in 2001 and who could forget the rollover controversy that tarnished the relationship with a tire brand? Very notable SUV in Ford's history indeed.

The fourth generation model was sold from 2006-2010 (our market had it a year late) which was an update rather than a redesign. If you notice the size, it is more upsized than the previous model due to the Ford Freestyle slotting between it and the Escape. And a piece of trivia, this version of the Explorer was sold in Japan as original LHD since vehicles whose steering wheel is on the left are considered prestigious there.

As what I said earlier, the 4th generation Explorer arrived with a one year delay. As for this reason, this is because the third generation model was introduced in 2005 and stayed until 2006, which is the cause of this delay. This stayed in Ford dealers until 2011, with the much hyped 5th generation model launched late that year.

Value and Costs
Not a fan of the crossover Explorer sold now? You can obtain the previous generation model for just less, with prices between P850,000-P1,600,000 for various year models. Better focus on the condition than a particular year model since changes are minimal.

Common problems with the Explorer involves (mostly) the electrical functions such as the liftgate, and the power folding seats. It would be a pain for you if the previous owner was very negligent about this, but a well maintained unit is a good way to go.

Exterior and Interior
Remove the badges and you'll say that the Explorer is basically a shrunken Expedition. This is true since the exterior cues are visible even from afar. The grille which is surrounded by the cleanly placed integrated aerodynamic lights is displayed prominently. Accessories that are there when needed the most are the roof rack stands, and a tow hitch that can carry at least three tons of cargo.

Tons of leather surfaces would greet you inside the Explorer from the seats to some interior bits. The dashboard is neatly done with controls placed where they should be and truly American. Five people is a comfortable fit but the third row is best left empty. But if cargo hauling is the order what the doctor ordered, you can have the seats folded by a flick of a button.

As usual with American SUV's, a V6 engine and one with eight cylinders are standard. But in the Philippine setting, a V6 engine was offered. A Cologne 4,009cc gasoline with 210hp at 5,100rpm and 344Nm at 3,700rpm comes standard and it is the lone option. Why is it named Cologne? This particular type of engine is made in Germany but for USDM Fords only, weird isn't it. Power is ready at any revs, credit the variable-length intake manifold for this.

Driving Impressions
If you are decided to purchase an Explorer, take time to learn the placement of controls, especially if you are used to Japanese layouts. Driving this SUV is fun since the V6 engine provides enough power to weave through traffic. Handling debunks the stereotypes for SUV's, this one is very nimble and braking is excellent. This injects the sport factor in the Sport Utility Vehicle.

Undecided on what pre-owned SUV to buy? Add the Ford Explorer to your shopping list since you may be impressed with the levels of equipment for its price. If you are that type of person who thinks green (environmentally ok?) this is not the car for you.

The Good:
  • More equipment 
  • Safety is a priority
  • Compact to park than an Expedition
The Bad:
  • Fuel bills for a month
  • No AWD available
  • Why U no offer a diesel engine??
The Pick: Since changes are minimal, going with a decently maintained unit is a must

Engine: 4,009cc Cologne V6 gasoline
Power: 210hp @ 5,100rpm
Torque: 344Nm @ 3,700rpm
Fuel Consumption: 4-6km/L (city), 7-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front and rear double wishbone

Price (New): P2,295,000-P2,395,000
Price (Now): P850,000-P1,600,000
Rivals: Dodge Durango, Chevrolet Trailbazer, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, Mitsubishi Pajero, Nissan Patrol
On Sale: 2007-2011

Ford Global City - 860-8888
Ford EDSA - 744-2222
Ford Libis - 637-2044

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