Despite being on something of a roll product-wise, Ford has just experienced its second run-in with Consumer Reports, which failed to give Ford’s new Explorer a coveted “recommended” rating. Why? CR explains its decision in Automotive News [sub] thusly
“The engine is a little noisy, handling is secure but lacks agility, and the driving position is flawed,” the magazine says.
“The optional ‘MyFord Touch’ control interface is over-complicated and distracting,” the magazine says, echoing ongoing complaints about Ford’s family of in-vehicle communications systems.
But there’s more.
“The six-speed automatic is not the smoothest out there and wants to hold on to higher gears too long. It was sometimes slow to downshift and overly aggressive engine braking slowed the Explorer going down hills unless we gave the gas pedal a prod.
“An optional Terrain Management system for the all-wheel-drive system lets you dial in various terrain types such as snow and sand, and it alters throttle, brake and torque split between front and rear wheels accordingly.”
Finally, the latest Explorer is too new to be recommended, the magazine says.
But here’s the kicker: as our “Crossover Report” proves, the Explorer killed the competition last month, outselling every other midsized and large CUV on the market. So, is CR right to rate products like Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Ford Flex, Acura MDX, Volkswagen Touareg, Hyundai Veracruz, Subaru Tribeca, Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-9 higher than Explorer? Or is this yet another example of CR’s well-disguised but often-noted bias against American cars? Is CR right about the Explorer, or is the market?