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Rankings & Research

The 2015 Ford Explorer ranking is based on its score within the 2015 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Ford Explorer has a score of 7.5 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 56 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 7.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Ford Explorer Review

The Ford Explorer has a comfortable ride and many available safety features. However, its cramped interior, frustrating touch screen, and low predicted reliability score push it toward the bottom of the midsize SUV class.

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth ride
  • Powerful V6 engines


  • Confined rear seating space
  • Limited outward visibility
  • Unresponsive touch screen
  • Poor low-speed maneuverability


2015 Ford Explorer Overview

Is the 2015 Ford Explorer a Good Used SUV?

The 2015 Ford Explorer isn’t a great option if you’re shopping for a used midsize SUV. While it offers a smooth ride and muscular V6 engine performance, these highlights are overshadowed by its cramped rear seats, pinched visibility, uncooperative infotainment system, and below-average predicted reliability rating. There are far better 3-row SUVs in this class, including the 2015 Toyota Highlander and 2015 Chevy Traverse.

Used 2015 Ford Explorer Performance and Interior

The Ford Explorer has a standard 290-horsepower V6 engine. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive (FWD) are standard; all-wheel drive (AWD) is available. The refined V6 enables brisk acceleration, robust passing power, and decent fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Ford also offers the Explorer with two turbocharged engine options: an EcoBoost four-cylinder (240 horsepower) and an EcoBoost V6 (365 horsepower). The four-cylinder raises fuel economy to 20 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway, but it struggles to move the hefty Explorer with urgency. Alternatively, the twin-turbo V6 scoots the SUV along with command, yet still returns an adequate 16/22 mpg city/highway.

The Explorer has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. Its suspension provides a smooth and comfortable ride, even on bumpy pavement. While it’s not an off-road vehicle, the Explorer’s multimode all-wheel-drive system allows the SUV to tackle mud and snow with confidence. However, the SUV feels cumbersome on tight city streets and lacks the low-speed maneuverability of rivals.

Read more about Explorer performance »

The 2015 Ford Explorer is a 3-row SUV with seating for seven. Second-row captain’s chairs are available, but these lower the seating capacity to six. The Explorer impresses with a quiet, upscale interior. Higher trims feel especially luxurious, thanks to a wealth of soft leather upholstery and fine wood accents. Heated and ventilated seats are available. The Explorer’s front seats are comfortable and nicely contoured, but the second- and third-row seats feel cramped. Side and rear visibility is poor as well, due to the SUV’s large roof pillars. There are three full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child seats. Both rows of rear seats fold flat to yield a sizable 80.7 cubic feet of cargo space; power-folding rear seats are available.

All 2015 Explorer SUVs come with a 4.2-inch LCD screen and keyless entry. Available features include remote start, satellite radio, Bluetooth, rear-seat DVD players, navigation, and an 8-inch touch screen with MyFord Touch infotainment. The dashboard is simply arranged and has a clean, high-end appearance. The available MyFord touch screen features crisp graphics as well, but it has complicated menus and is often slow to respond to inputs.

Read more about Explorer interior »

Used 2015 Ford Explorer Prices

The price of a used 2015 Ford Explorer ranges from about $22,500 for a base model to around $33,100 for an Explorer Sport. Exact prices will vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 52 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve researched 52 reviews on the Ford Explorer to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars for a decade, and we have more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to giving helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and the advertising on our site is handled by an outside team.

How Reliable Is the 2015 Ford Explorer?

The Ford Explorer has a below-average predicted reliability score of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power and Associates.

Read more about Explorer reliability »

How Safe Is the Explorer?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Ford Explorer the highest rating of Good for all tests but the small overlap front crash (in which it earned a Marginal rating). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Explorer a perfect five-star rating for overall safety and on all crash tests except the rollover evaluation (in which it received four stars).

Explorer XLT, Limited, and Sport trim levels all offer a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control are available in Limited and Sport models. Lane keep assist and parallel park assist are available in Limited models only.

See Explorer safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used Explorer?

The 2015 Ford Explorer marks the fifth model year of the vehicle’s fifth generation, which launched in 2011. There were no major changes for 2015. As a result, you may find similarly equipped 2013 and 2014 models at a much lower price.

Compare the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Explorer »

Which Used Ford Explorer Is Right for Me?

The 2015 Explorer comes in four trim levels: base, XLT, Limited, and Sport. The Ford Explorer XLT offers the best value in the lineup, as used models are typically far less expensive than the Ford Explorer Limited and Sport trim levels. Its standard features include satellite radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, and rear parking sensors. XLT models are also available with many of the Explorer’s options, such as second-row captain’s chairs, heated seats, a navigation system, blind spot monitoring, and DVD players.

You may also want to shop for a certified pre-owned Explorer. 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 »

2015 Ford Explorer and Other SUVs to Consider

Which Is Better: 2015 Ford Explorer or 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee?

The five-seat 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee can’t match the passenger or cargo space of the seven-seat Explorer. That said, it’s still a better midsize SUV than the Ford. The Grand Cherokee has a higher-quality interior, an easier-to-use infotainment system, superior off-road ability, better maneuverability, and a far larger towing capacity of up to 7,400 pounds. Neither are top picks in this class though, due to their low reliability ratings.

Which Is Better: 2015 Ford Explorer or 2015 Toyota Highlander?

As our 2015 Best 3-Row SUV for Families, the 2015 Toyota Highlander tops the Explorer. Both vehicles provide a smooth ride, many advanced safety features, and similar cargo space, but the eight-seat Toyota has a simpler touch screen, a nicer cabin, higher predicted reliability, and better family-friendly features – like an in-car intercom. Used Highlanders are often pricier, but this Toyota SUV is the better buy.

Which Is Better: 2015 Ford Explorer or 2015 Honda Pilot?

The 2015 Honda Pilot suffers from lackluster engine power, a cheap-feeling interior, and few advanced safety features. While it’s not a top pick in this class, the Honda is still a better buy than the Ford thanks to its higher predicted reliability rating, larger cargo space, and far roomier rear seats (they can even fit adults comfortably). Both used vehicles are often available within the same price range.

Compare the Explorer, Grand Cherokee, and Pilot »


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