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2014 Ford Explorer Review

The 2014 Ford Explorer has an upscale interior and gets good fuel economy with its turbo-four engine. However, other cars in the class are more athletic, have more spacious cabins, and feature better infotainment systems.

Pros & Cons

  • Handsome, first-rate cabin materials
  • Great fuel economy with turbo-four
  • Troublesome MyFord Touch system
  • Cramped third row
  • Less maneuverable than some rivals


Rankings & Research

The 2014 Ford Explorer's #16 ranking is based on its score within the 2014 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Ford Explorer has a score of 7.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 51 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 7.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2014 Ford Explorer Overview

Is the 2014 Ford Explorer a Good Used SUV?

The Ford Explorer is a decent vehicle that might appeal to some families, but don't mistake it for one of the best cars on the road. Its cabin is nice, though it feels small. The Explorer also isn't that athletic, and its infotainment system is a hassle.

The Explorer's base engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 290 horsepower. It has enough power for most situations, but it occasionally feels strained. There are two optional engines: a 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder and a 365-horsepower turbocharged V6. They both feel more powerful than the base engine, and the turbo-four is more fuel-efficient. With the base engine, the Explorer gets 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. With the turbo-four, those estimates jump to 20 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway, which are good for the class. All engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Ford Explorer comes standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available. The ride is smooth over most road surfaces, but other sport utility vehicles feel more refined and have better agility on winding roads.

Read more about Explorer performance »

The Ford Explorer has three rows of seats and can seat up to seven people. The cabin is a little cramped, especially when full. The front seats are comfortable, but the second and third rows don't have a lot of room for adults. The third row feels especially cramped. There are three full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The LATCH system received pretty good ratings for ease of use.

Climb inside this Ford, and you'll find a well-designed, upscale cabin. Standard features include a six-speaker audio system and an auxiliary input. Notable options include Ford's SYNC system, Bluetooth, a 12-speaker Sony audio system, a USB port, satellite radio, navigation, a sunroof, and the MyFord Touch infotainment system. That's a nice assortment of technology, but the infotainment system can be unresponsive and hard to use. The Explorer also has less cargo space than many class rivals.

Read more about Explorer interior »

Used 2014 Ford Explorer Prices

Prices for the 2014 Explorer range from about $14,000 to $24,600. Prices will vary for any used vehicle depending on the car's mileage, condition, and location. 

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2014 Ford Explorer?

J.D. Power and Associates gave the 2014 Explorer a reliability rating of 2.5 out of five. That's below average for any vehicle (a score of three out of five is considered average). It’s also low for a midsize SUV. Though there are others in the class with lower scores, most competitors are more reliable.

How Safe Is the Explorer?

The Explorer has a decent safety score and performed well in crash tests. It earned a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a rating of Good (the highest score possible) in four out of five Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests. It received a rating of Marginal (the second-highest score) in its fifth IIHS test.

There are no standard driver assistance features in this vehicle, but several are available. They include a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, cross traffic alert, and lane keep assist.

See Explorer safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used Explorer?

The 2014 Ford Explorer is part of a generation that started in 2011 and includes the 2017 model year, though there was a fairly extensive refresh for the 2016 model year. As with most used cars, older models are a little cheaper, but newer models have more features. 2013 and 2012 Explorers cost about $3,000 and $6,000 less than the 2014, respectively. However, the 2014 model features comfort and convenience features not found in older editions. Unless price is a major factor for you, you'll probably want to go with a 2014 Explorer.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Explorer »

Which Used Explorer Model Is Right for Me?

The 2014 Explorer comes in four trims: base, XLT, Limited, and Sport. Many features are available across all trims other than the base, but it's worth noting that the Limited trim has the nicest interior, and the Sport trim features the turbocharged V6 engine. Though some of the features in higher trims are nice, many buyers will probably be perfectly satisfied to save some money and go with the XLT trim.

Like many automakers, Ford has a certified pre-owned car program. For all of its certified pre-owned vehicles, Ford extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles and provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty. Each CPO vehicle must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Ford warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Ford certified pre-owned program »

We Did the Research for You: 51 Pieces of Data Analyzed

We strive to provide a comprehensive analysis of every car on our site, and we do that by considering many data points. For the 2014 Ford Explorer, we looked at 51 pieces of data, including crash test results, reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, ownership costs, and other professional reviews.

Why You Can Trust Us

In the decade that our team has been ranking cars, we've come to understand what information car shoppers need before they head to a dealer. With 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry, our team delivers that information through expert car reviews. To ensure that our reviews remain unbiased, we do not accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers. Additionally, all advertising on our site is handled by a third party.

2014 Ford Explorer and Other SUVs to Consider

Which Is Better: 2014 Ford Explorer or 2014 Honda Pilot?

The Honda Pilot doesn't have the nicest looking cabin, but it's functional. Unlike the Explorer, the Pilot can seat up to eight, and all three rows are comfortable and spacious. The Pilot has more cargo space and a more user-friendly infotainment system. On the road, the Pilot has ample power, a smooth ride, and steady handling. The Explorer has a better safety rating than the Pilot, but the Pilot has a much better reliability score. Overall, the Pilot is a slightly better vehicle than the Explorer – and its price tag is only a bit higher. Therefore, most buyers should opt for the Pilot.

Which Is Better: 2014 Ford Explorer or 2014 Ford Edge?

The Ford Edge’s safety rating is similar to the Explorer's, but the Edge's reliability rating is much higher. The Edge's cabin is built with premium materials. Though it only seats five, both rows of seats in the Edge are supportive, spacious, and comfortable. Since the Edge and Explorer are made by the same company, they have very similar features lists. The Edge offers several engine choices that are more energetic and fuel-efficient than the Explorer's offerings. The Edge also provides sporty handling and is fun to drive. To top it off, the Edge is marginally less expensive than the Explorer. Unless you really need a third row, crank up the Aerosmith and start livin' on the Edge.

Compare the Explorer, Pilot, and Edge »

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