2013 Ford Explorer Review
2013 Ford Explorer Limited 4WD
3.5L V6, 290 hp, 255 lb-ft, 4WD, 6-speed auto, heated leather seats, 17/23 mpg
The base front-wheel drive Explorer is just under $30,000, but this four-wheel drive Explorer Limited in Ruby Red came in around $40,000. Base, XLT, and Limited trims are available with two engines, a 3.5L V6 with front- or 4WD, and the 4-cylinder 2.0L EcoBoost with front-wheel drive only. The Explorer Sport features the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and comes only in 4WD.
Not much has changed for 2013. It is still a huge car, and it feels even bigger when you get behind the wheel. With such a long car behind you, visibility was especially limited over the left shoulder. Ford BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) is available but was not present here. Instead, side mirrors had smaller convex mirrors in the corner to cover the blind spot. Once you figure out just what you are looking at, these may actually be safer since you are not relying on the BLIS technology to work properly.
The interior sports the usual MyFord Touch system, and it was just as slow and cumbersome to use as always. There was no nav on this one, but it did have remote start with Intelligent Access push-button start which made those cold morning starts a little more bearable by getting into a preheated car.
There was a terrible noise coming from the steering wheel on this car during slow speed parking lot maneuvers, and we could not tell if it was normal for the electric power-assisted steering or not. Hopefully it was just this one failing and not a “feature” since there would be no way to put up with it on a daily basis.
The 4WD Explorer also has the Terrain Management System and Hill Descent Control. It is nice that Ford gives it some off-road abilities, but how many people are really going to use it to its full potential? Normal, mud/ruts, sand, and grass/gravel/snow are the different options. If anything, most people would use the grass/gravel/snow setting the most, but it is the farthest away from the normal mode.
There was seating for seven here, or the rear seats could be folded for additional cargo room. The third row had a 50/50 split, while the second row had a 60/40 split. With all seats folded, the cargo floor was flat, but there was a small gap between the second and third rows.
Of the three options available, this 3.5L V6 is the base engine. Mileage is estimated at 17/23/19 combined for the 4WD V6, but we came up a few MPGs short of those numbers. Just as in other Ford vehicles, horsepower drops with the 4-cylinder EcoBoost option, but torque and mileage increase.
The twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 is offered only on the Explorer Sport and produces 365 hp and 350 lb-ft, with mileage dropping only 1 mpg to 16/22/18 combined. Unique 20-inch wheels, aggressive black chrome accents, and sport-tuned suspension set the Sport apart from its lesser siblings, and it is essentially the SUV version of the Taurus SHO.
We did not get great mileage in our short time with it, but it was still a comfortable space to do some highway cruising. The Explorer Sport would provide the most driving enjoyment with the extra power, but it is probably not the best choice if you are looking for efficiency. Drivers without a heavy right foot may do a little better, but where is the fun in that?
Ford’s website ford.com/suvs/explorer
Tags: Explorer, Ford, Ford Explorer, Review, SUV