The 2010 Ford Explorer once again delivers a comfortable drive with respectable handling for a midsize truck-based SUV, impressive towing and off-road abilities, a quiet and spacious interior and top crash test ratings.
Although higher gas prices in recent years have reduced demand for traditional SUVs in favor or carlike crossovers, the Explorer has posted an enviable record as one of the most popular SUVs of all time (over 5 million sold). And for those seeking power performance, roominess and a quiet, comfortable ride, the 2010 Explorer can make a very solid choice.
It's tough body-on-frame construction comes in real handy when towing or going off-road. With its trailer sway control and true four-wheel-drive system with low-range torque, the Explorer can do some serious hauling as well as cover ground not typically hospitable to all-wheel-drive crossovers.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2010 Ford Explorer is available in three trims: XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited. Standard passenger-capacity is five, but can be increased to seven with the optional third-row seat.
The base-level XLT is already fairly well-equipped with standard features including power windows, power door locks, air conditioning, cruise control, 16 inch alloy wheels and a CD/MP3 stereo system with an auxiliary audio jack. Opting for the Sport Package for the XLT adds 20 inch alloy wheels, white-faced instruments and black exterior design accents (including the side-step bars, wheel arches and front fascia).
The Explorer Eddie Bauer model then adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, satellite radio, Ford's Sync electronics interface, a manual third-row seat, two-tone paint and 17 inch alloy wheels.
Moving up to the Explorer Limited adds perforated leather upholstery, driver memory settings, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power front passenger seat, rear air conditioning, power-adjustable pedals, rear parking sensors, a power-folding third row seat, monochromatic paint, 18 inch alloy wheels and an upgraded audio system with an in-dash CD changer and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.
Many of the features of the upper models are available options for the lower models, including rear climate control and the upgraded audio system. Other available optional features include a sunroof, second-row captain's chairs, the voice-activated Sync entertainment and communication system, power running boards, voice-activated navigation, a rear DVD entertainment system, 20 inch wheels and a Class III/IV towing package.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the Ford Explorer is a competent 4.0 liter V6 engine that produces 210 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. In addition, there's an optional 4.6 liter V8 for the Eddie Bauer and Limited models that pumps out 292 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission comes with the V6 engine, while a 6-speed automatic is standard with the V8.
Nomatter the engine, rear-wheel drive is standard. Additional choices include either an optional 4WD system that includes a push-button low-range transfer case, or an optional full-time all-wheel-drive system (must have the optional 20 inch wheels). The towing capacity for a properly equipped Explorer is almost 7,300 pounds.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage ratings are quite similar among all models. The V6 Explorer with 2WD is rated at 14 mpg city and 20 mpg on the highway, while the 4WD models with either engine are rated at 13 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.
Standard safety features for all Explorer models include antilock disc brakes (ABS), stability control (with rollover sensing and trailer sway conrol), front-seat side airbags and both first and second-row side curtain airbags.
In government crash tests, the 2010 Explorer earned the highest possible five-star-ratings for all front and side-impact crash protection tests.
The cabin of the 2010 Explorer is attractive, spacious and comfortable. While there is really nothing outstanding about the materials or feature layout as compared to its competitors, the two-tone color schemes add an upscale ambiance, as do the optional Sync phone/MP3 voice activation and hard-drive-based navigation systems.
The true strength of the Explorer's interior is its space. It's third-row seats can actually accommodate two adults, as opposed to many that are really children-only. However, opting for the third row reduces cargo space somewhat and produces a load floor that's not completely flat (as pictured).
The seven-passenger Explorers offer 83.7 cubic feet of cargo space, while the five-passenger models come in at 85.8 cubes, typically more than adequate for most needs. Notably, choosing the reclining second row captain's chairs on Limited models adds a storage console between them, but reduces the passenger capacity to six.
The 2010 Explorer is again one of the best handling truck-based SUVs available. Its steering is surprisingly responsive for a vehicle of this size and its independent rear suspension smoothes the ride as well as helps it cope with more challenging environments. While the power from both the V6 and V8 engines gets the job done when needed, the V8 offers greater refinement and added low-end torque.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
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And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
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