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$11,832 - $15,990
$28,280 - $39,855

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable ride
  • Good fuel economy with EcoBoost engine
  • Finicky MyFord Touch infotainment system
  • Slow acceleration with EcoBoost engine

Rankings & Research

The 2012 Ford Explorer's #14 ranking is based on its score within the 2012 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Ford Explorer has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 36 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Ford Explorer Overview

With its standard V6 engine, test drivers said the 2012 Explorer has sufficient power for highway merging and passing. Most agreed that its available turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is overmatched by the Explorer's weight and that acceleration suffers as a result. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is available. The V6-powered Explorer earns an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is comparable with what most of the competition gets. EcoBoost-equipped models are rated at 20/28 mpg, which is good for the class. Test drivers said the Explorer remains composed and comfortable over rough roads, and most agreed that it offers poised handling when the road gets twisty. Still, a few reviewers mentioned that SUVs like the Mazda CX-9 feel more athletic. Some said the Explorer’s steering feels a bit too light, but they agreed that it is precise. The Explorer also won praise for its strong brakes, though a few critics disliked its numb brake pedal feel.

Auto journalists said the 2012 Ford Explorer's cabin is trimmed with upscale materials and has a pleasing design. Most said the front- and middle-row seats have sufficient comfort and space, though some said the third row is cramped, which is a common complaint for the class. Critics also disliked the available MyFord Touch infotainment system, which they said operates slowly and has on-screen buttons that are unresponsive. The 2012 Explorer comes standard with a six-speaker stereo and an auxiliary input, while features like Ford's SYNC voice command system with Bluetooth and a USB port, dual-zone automatic climate control, the MyFord Touch infotainment system, a rearview camera and an upgraded stereo system are available. The Ford Explorer has 80.7 cubic feet of overall cargo space, which is a competitive amount for a three-row SUV, but far from what rivals like the Mazda CX-9 and Chevrolet Traverse offer.


Other SUVs to Consider

When it was new, reviewers said the 2012 Ford Flex's roomy interior has one of the most spacious third rows in the class. They were also pleased with the Flex's controlled handling and quick acceleration, especially models equipped with the available EcoBoost V6 engine.

The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse has ample cargo space for the class, and test drivers said its cabin has three rows of spacious and comfortable seats. Auto journalists were also pleased with the Traverse’s solidly constructed cabin and composed driving dynamics.

Compare the Explorer, Flex and Traverse »

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