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8.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 10.0
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Ford Explorer Review

All-new for 2011, reviewers said that the Ford Explorer has what it takes to compete with the best midsize SUVs and crossovers on the market. Improved fuel economy, adept performance and a comfortable interior with innovative features helped make the Ford Explorer our 2011 Best Off-Road SUV for Families.

Pros & Cons

  • High-tech interior features
  • Good on- and off-road performance
  • Great safety scores
  • Rivals have roomier third rows
  • Competitors offer more standard features

2011 Ford Explorer Overview

The 2011 Ford Explorer received a complete redesign that took it from being a dated, subpar SUV to one of the best family SUVs in its class. Though it traded in its truck-based underpinnings for a crossover platform, test drivers said the Explorer still retained much of the off-road prowess that made the 2010 model so popular.

That doesn’t mean that the redesigned Explorer is just a rugged trail-rider. It also has an upscale interior that test drivers praised. Plus, the 2011 Explorer has more available high-tech features than most other affordable midsize crossovers, including the touch screen-based MyFord Touch interface. The Explorer also has excellent safety scores.

The 2011 Ford Explorer has a 3.5-liter V6 that can be paired with either front- or four-wheel drive. Base models come standard with a tilt and telescoping steering column, cruise control and Ford’s MyKey safety system, which allows parents to program safety aids, like a top speed, early fuel reminder or seatbelt reminder, into new drivers’ keys. Higher trim levels have features like rear parking sensors, MyFord Touch, adjustable pedals, a rearview camera and push-button start.

See the full 2011 Ford Explorer specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2011 Toyota Highlander's base four-cylinder engine gets good fuel economy, while its available V6 closely matches the Explorer’s power. Both the Explorer and the Highlander also have high safety scores. You can even get the Highlander as a hybrid, which has standard all-wheel drive and provides a significant improvement in gas mileage.

You should also consider the 2011 Buick Enclave if you’ve got your eye on the 2011 Explorer. Reviewers said that the 2011 Enclave has an especially nice interior, with a quiet, upscale cabin and lots of standard features. Plus, the Enclave offers more cargo space than most 2011 midsize SUVs, as well as an adult-sized third row, which is rare for the class.

Compare the Explorer to the Highlander and Enclave »

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