Midsize SUVs with Full-Size Features

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Ford Explorer: Performance

Explorers come with three engine choices. Most models use a base 3.5-liter V6 that puts out a healthy 290 horsepower. A turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder that puts out 280-horsepower is a $900 upgrade. It also boosts gas mileage by 2 mpg to 21 mpg combined.

Sport and Platinum trim levels come standard with a potent twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 that delivers V8 performance but drops fuel economy to 17 mpg on the combined EPA test cycle. Reviewers found the 2.3-liter four-cylinder feels like a V6 and delivers plenty of power for passing, as well as day-to-day driving. The base V6 is also adequate, and the six-speed automatic proves smooth and responsive.

Despite its comfortable and composed ride and its well-weighted steering, critics found the Explorer ponderous to drive. Cornering is hampered by poor visibility to the front, and the front camera is almost a necessity in parking lot maneuvers.

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