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2008 Ford Explorer Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Ford Explorer was new.

The Explorer delivers good towing and off-road capabilities, but can't match the on-road performance of others in its class and ranks in the bottom half. However, itranks well within the top half when compared only to other off-road SUVs.

8.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 7.9
Safety: 8.2
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent off-road capabilities and good towing capacity
  • Smooth transmissions contribute to a comfortable, quiet ride
  • Plenty of passenger and cargo room
  • Exterior suffers from boxy, indistinct styling
  • Heavy steering detracts from overall performance
  • Sub-par fuel economy

2008 Ford Explorer Overview

Reviewers say the 2008 Ford Explorer is a solid if unspectacular performer, with straightforward styling and nice comfort and safety features. Thanks to a 2006 redesign, most test drivers say the Explorer rides better and is much quieter inside than previous models. "The Ford Explorer has never been better and represents an excellent choice among midsize sport utilities," says New Car Test Drive, adding, "We find the Explorer fully competitive in a tightly contested segment, succeeding as both an excellent machine and a high-value purchase. It's handsome, smooth, quiet, comfortable and competent." For the 2008 model year, the Explorer gets minimal changes, including new side curtain airbags and a capless fuel-filling system (the latter available in mid-2008). Ford also adds the optional Sync system for hands-free communication technology.

The 2008 Ford Explorer is available in three trims: the base XLT, the Eddie Bauer and the premium Limited. All trims come with a choice of the standard 4.0-liter V6 engine or an optional 4.6-liter V8.

  • "Redesigned for the 2006 model year, we give the Explorer high marks for solid construction, impressive fit and finish, quiet operation, the six-speed automatic transmission that goes with V-8 models, and excellent ride quality that comes in part from its independent rear suspension, still something of a rarity among traditional SUVs." -- Car and Driver
  • "Consistently the most popular midsize sport-utility vehicle since its introduction in 1990, the Ford Explorer's sales have been slipping somewhat in recent years as the market shifts toward car-based crossover models. Still, it remains handsomely styled inside and out, and is a solid performer in most respects, with many family-focused features." -- Forbes
  • "The Explorer is not without its faults, among them less than stellar fuel economy and a rather high sticker price, but loaded with an almost $43,000 price tag it offers lots of creature comforts, among them the Microsoft Sync system, a rear DVD screen, and the optional third row of seats that aren't a Lollipop Guild-only zone." -- About.com
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