Thursday, November 7, 2013

Used Car Review - Ford Explorer (2004-2006)

Let Myk Belmonte treat you today for an American SUV. Rediscover this previous generation model through this review.

2004-2006 Ford Explorer

SUVs are an American thing, especially when you consider their immense popularity among Yanks. They buy them a lot back then, when gas prices aren't crazy and the fear of carbon footprint is minimal. But with the market trend from truck based to car based, traditional ones are in decline. The SUV, in my opinion, isn't dying, but rather revolving.

One of the popular (and still alive and kicking) SUVs in the market is the Ford Explorer. Throughout selling life, it went several events which includes: several fuel crises and price increases, when it sold more than the Ford Taurus, the infamous Firestone rollover issue, decreasing sales due to market preference to crossovers, and the eventual metamorphosis stage to crossover. The third generation model (U152) ditched the Ford Ranger design cue in exchange for the Expedition's.

It has been a year we'd featured an Explorer here; with two Explorers on this site for 2013, let us explore the Explorer (pun not intended) whose SUV version was first sold locally in late 2004. It was really short lived, since the fourth generation model had its North American introduction in 2006, with our market having this in January 2007. For its brief stint, it is offered in XLT (available in 4x2) and Eddie Bauer (4x4 is standard) variants.

Value and Costs
American mid-size SUVs have low residuals, which makes them great bargains for those who want an SUV for sub-compact prices. One may find a decently maintained unit for just P450,000, with low mileage examples reaching P650,000.

Remember this, maintaining an Explorer isn't the same sum as the Everest's. With a V6 gasoline engine, it is expensive to maintain one. Since Ford has a wide range of dealer network, as with the proliferation of specialist shops, parts support is there.

Exterior and Interior
Think of the Explorer as a shrunken second generation Expedition. Imposing and despite the practical size, will still give you the power seat which we call the reserved parking in the golf course. Simple looking, but it gives you the presence "you have arrived". We wouldn't deal with this more, since what was said in my second generation Expedition review is applicable here.

Second generation Expedition (these words are overused in this section alone) owners would feel at home inside. Why? The layout of controls and even the column stalk gear is totally identical. Besides, this frees foot space in the front row and the buttons for the radio and climate is within reasonable distance of driver. Second and third row space is decent enough for five other people. Before we leave, interior quality isn't great, especially that some components are cheap in feeling.

From the Cologne engine family (no, the one who built this engine wasn't drinking cologne at that time) moves this 1,940kg (or 1,970kg for 4x4 models) vehicle is a 4,009cc V6 that has 210hp at 5,250rpm and 344Nm at 3,700rpm. This engine might be old but still delivers decent acceleration, thanks to a standard five speed automatic.

Driving Impressions
The wizards at Ford is to thank; you get Expedition looks while making it easy to drive, this is due to the all around independent suspension. With a four wheel drive system (only for Eddie Bauer), tackling the worst situations is cake. However, a bumpy ride comes standard no thanks to the improved suspension settings.

Among the available American mid-size SUVs which possess a gasoline engine, in the used car point of view, the Explorer is the sensible pick. Ford has a wide dealership network, so getting into trouble isn't that huge. And also, there is a reason why Americans love this SUV.

The Good:
  • More practical than the Expedition
  • You still get the image associated with it
  • Interior space
The Bad:
  • Fuel thirsty
  • Cheap interior bits
  • Bumpy ride
The Pick: 4x2 XLT

Engine: 4,009cc Cologne V6 gasoline
Power: 210hp @ 5,250rpm
Torque: 344Nm @ 3,700rpm
Fuel Consumption: 5-7km/L (city), 7-9km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front and rear independent double wishbone

Price (New): P2,295,000
Price (Now): P450,000-P650,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Trailblazer, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mitsubishi Pajero, Nissan Patrol, Isuzu Trooper, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
On Sale: Late 2004-2006

Ford EDSA - (02) 744-2222
Ford Libis - (02) 637-2044
Ford Quality Center - (02) 744-2234

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