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Ford Explorer (2011)


  • Significantly improved handling over prior Explorers. Point it, and it goes—there’s no more leaning.
  • Comfortable ride and seating, with plenty of shoulder room.
  • Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) Engine is smooth, with plenty of acceleration. Transmission is very smooth.
  • Better looks than in previous generations of boxy Explorers.


  • MyFord Touch touch-screen is complicated to use and requires a lot of distracting screen time. Would you get used to it? You might. Is it obvious how to use it, early on? No.
  • Still feels big and heavy. It would be great if this car felt 500 pounds lighter.
  • A wide vehicle, it’s hard to fit the Explorer into modest-sized garage spaces. Not a great car if you drive a lot in the city and need good maneuverability.
  • Mediocre visibility, especially out the three-quarter view between the rear hatch and the back window on the driver’s side. As a result, the driver experiences a blind spot in the rear corner. Parking assist and rear camera help make up for this deficit.
  • The third row of seats can be folded flat, but this makes for a high cargo floor height.
  • Mileage is better—but still not great. We were hoping for a down-sized version of the previous Explorer, with the GDI engine and very good fuel efficiency. Instead, Ford made the Explorer bigger and improved efficiency only modestly.

Other notes:
We test drove the Ford Explorer Limited with Six-Cylinder GDI Engine.


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