I’ve long since given up on the idea that it’s possible to have a truly unbiased review of an automobile — or anything else, for that matter. Nevertheless, we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. In the service of that, I’m going to say up front that I completely despise this generation of Explorer. I didn’t like it when I reviewed an early model five and a half years ago, and I like it even less now that alternatives like the refreshed Grand Cherokee exist.
The worst thing about the Explorer is that it’s fundamentally a crappy version of the Ford Flex. The Flex is a thinking person’s station wagon. The Explorer is an idiot’s SUV. Perhaps a kinder, and more accurate, way to put it is this: the Explorer is a Flex remixed to appeal to women. I’ve yet to meet a woman who likes the Flex. In order to stop this from being a 1,200-word combo-diss-fest-and-Flex-hagiography, I’ve hired the infamous Danger Girl to offer some balance in my review of this brand-spanking-new-with-24-miles, $44,065, front-wheel-drive SUV.
Let’s do this.
I want to get my wife a used SUV. We tried a Volvo wagon, but it’s just too unreliable. My first choice is a 4Runner, but the prices here are insane, even for 10-15 year old ‘Runners. I’ve noticed I can buy a Cayenne or an X5 for similar prices to the aforementioned 4Runner, and that’s with fewer miles and years newer.
So, what gives?
It’s getting harder and harder to recognize cop cars in your rearview mirror.
First, Ford dropped the long-serving Crown Victoria police cruiser, whose telltale headlights could be spotted from the moon, and now the rooftop light bar is fading into history.
I used to have an ’84 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. When it died, I replaced it with a new ’99 Dodge Durango. It seemed to be a fairly solid, updated replacement for the Wagoneer. My mechanic, who was a master Jeep mechanic, said that Chrysler came up with the Durango to fill the gap in the market created after the Grand Wagoneer stopped production in 1991.
News today that the Ford Ranger pickup and Bronco utility could return to the United States and Canada is being met by very enthusiastic ears, including yours truly.
According to multiple outlets, the two vehicles could be built at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan plant, the same plant that will lose Focus and C-MAX production to Mexico in 2018.
But, is everything as it seems? Let’s dive into the Ford product portfolio and try to make some sense of it.
Ford may bring back the Bronco name as a Ranger-based SUV if production returns to the U.S. in 2018, Bloomberg is reporting.
The Bronco would be based on a mid-sized pickup frame, unlike the current Explorer. A Bronco could be targeted at Jeep, either Grand Cherokee — or Wrangler.
Ford ended production of its Bronco in 1996.
The 2016 Lincoln MKS will be the last of its kind, as the brand will cease production when the calendar rolls over.
Updated with statement from Lincoln at bottom.
If rumors prove true, Lincoln could end its love affair with MK alphabet soup names with a new Aviator based upon the new Ford Explorer.
According to a second-hand source, TTAC has been told Ford engineers are working on a project internally called ‘Aviator’ based on the new Explorer. The source also stated there will not be a next-generation Ford Flex and will kill off the Lincoln MKT in the process.
I’ll put the pedal to the flo-ah/of my two-tone Ford Exploh-ah
You know how it’s done.
– Ice Cube, Down For Whatever
The great O’Shea Jackson penned that lyric in 1993, and I know exactly what Ford Explorer he meant. Back in the day, the Explorer Sport was a three-door SUV that could be bought as either RWD or 4WD. It was based on the Ranger, and it was available in a black-and-silver combo that would have undoubtedly pleased Cube, who was the world’s most famous Raiders fan (somewhat presciently, he also accented the word Fleeeeeeex in that song). Back then, the Explorer was being leased by everyone from wannabe rappers to bored Northern Virginia Housewives because Ford was guaranteeing residual values that were simply otherworldly. It was the first SUV that I can remember being that ubiquitous.
Then the whole Firestone thing happened.