New Car/Review


by Matt/Bob Hagin


SEE ALSO: Ford Buyer's Guide


Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 22,725
Price As Tested                                    $ 28,400
Engine Type               SOHC 2-valve 4.0 Liter V6 w/SMFI*
Engine Size                                 245 cid/4015 cc
Horsepower                                   205 @ 5000 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               250 @ 3000 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  101.7"/70.2"/178.6"
Transmission                           Five-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     3969 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  17.5 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                                     P225/70R16
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                   Front-engine/four-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                        Four-passenger/two-door
Domestic Content                                 80 percent
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


EPA Economy, miles per gallon
   city/highway/average                            15/19/18
0-60 MPH                                          9 seconds
Payload                                         4860 pounds
Max. towing capacity                            1025 pounds
     * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(The two-door version of the Ford Explorer is cheaper than the four door models, but Matt Hagin says the extra doors are needed for most family buyers. Father Bob says two-doors are just fine for old timers.)

MATT - Until I had a couple of infants of my own, I didn't realize how inconvenient it is to have only two-doors on a vehicle, Dad. Wrestling two wriggling kids into their car seats and then out again is almost painful, especially when they're tired and cranky.

BOB - Ford is targeting its marketing thrust for this two-door Sport version of the Explorer towards youthful entry-level buyers who are going into their first new sport/utility vehicle. And simply put, couples with kids should go for the four-door Explorer. Ford has put an emphasis here on accessories and options that appeal to a young buyers and you don't quite fall into this segment anymore, Matt. Standard stuff on the Explorer Sport we drove included air conditioning as well as polished aluminum wheels and a radio/cassette stereo combination which was upgraded to carry a CD player. The version we tried carried the optional 4.0 liter single-overhead-cam V6 engine and optional automatic four-speed automatic rather than the standard pushrod V6 of the same displacement that comes standard with a five-speed stick shift.

MATT - It's a welcome addition too, Dad. The more sophisticated engine puts out 205 horsepower, which is a gain of 45 extra ponies over the push-rod powerplant. It also has 25 more pound/feet of torque. Most of these vehicles will never be exposed to true down-and-dirty off-road use, but extra torque and horsepower comes in handy for the outdoor SUV use. Our Explorer was also equipped with what Ford calls Control Trac four-wheel drive, a 4X4 system that has a neat slippery-condition feature. In situations where the rear wheels begin to lose traction because the road is slick, additional power is directed to the front-wheel-drive system to negate the slippage in the rear. And since all Explorers are equipped with anti-lock brakes, it's hard to get into rough-weather trouble when you're driving one of them.

BOB - Matt, I know some guys that can get into rough-weather trouble no matter how much safety equipment has been built into the drive system. A couple of years ago Ford abandoned its antiquated Twin-I Beam front suspension on the Explorer so the engine bay would accept a V8, but it's only available on the four-door model. This two-door Sport seems more agile and nimble than the four-door because it's 11 inches shorter in wheelbase and a couple of hundred pounds lighter. It has a three-foot tighter turning circle, too. I think perhaps the heavier, more powerful V8 engine might upset the balance of the Sport two-door. It's no world-beater in the area of fuel economy, however, only averaging 15 MPG around town and 18 on the highway.

MATT - Our tester had disc brakes both front and rear, and the ABS contributed to our fairly short stopping distance of 128 feet on dry pavement. Its a bit harder to climb up into than some of its competition, but good ground clearance is a necessity if an SUV is ever used for serious trail driving. And because it's built on a true truck "ladder" frame and has a fairly short wheelbase, buyers who are looking for a cushy boulevard ride are going to be disappointed. The interior is comfortable enough sitting in the front bucket seats, but room and comfort in back are a bit on the sparse side. The rear seat folds down to provide extra cargo space, and our tester also came with a roof rack that looks sturdy enough for a couple of sets of skis at least.

BOB - Ford was one of the first American auto makers to get into what has become the burgeoning sport/utility market. Its Bronco first appeared in '66 and maybe you remember that even then it could be had with a V8 or a six-cylinder engine, just like today's Explorer. It was beefy and brawny, and now they're all collector's items fetching far more than the original retail price.

MATT - Dad, I've said this before about other cars you sold for scrap, but I knew you should have kept that old basket-case '69 Bronco someone gave you back in the late 70's.

Home | Buyers Guides For Every Auto Make | New Car Buyers Guide | Used Car Super Search | Total New Car Costs | 2016-1993 Car Reviews Truck Reviews
1996-2016 Automotive News | TACH-TV | Media Library | Discount Auto Parts

Copyright © 1996-2016 The Auto Channel. Contact Information, Credits, and Terms of Use. These following titles and media identification are Trademarks owned by The Auto Channel, LLC and have been in continuous use since 1987 : The Auto Channel, Auto Channel and TACH all have been in continuous use world wide since 1987, in Print, TV, Radio, Home Video, Newsletters, On-line, and other interactive media; all rights are reserved and infringement will be acted upon with force.

Privacy Statement | Size Does Matter | Media Kit | XML SITE MAP | Affiliates

Send your questions, comments, and suggestions to

Submit Company releases or Product News stories to
Place copy in body of email, NO attachments please.

To report errors and other problems with this page, please use this form.

Link to this page: