By on March 24, 2014

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When Ford killed off the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, the police car market was left wide open. But the Blue Oval appears to have managed to brought a suitable replacement to market, though it’s not the traditional three-box police sedan.

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By on January 31, 2014

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By the time you read this, I will have bought the last $100 car sold at a public auction… that actually runs!

This 1994 Ford Explorer XL has just under 94,000 miles and has been sitting at a local water department for a couple of years now. The exterior is nothing special, but the interior is surprisingly intact and well kept.

Which begs the question, what the hell should I do with this thing?

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By on January 8, 2014
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I live in a small, genteel, Southern colonial home that comes with all the local goodies.

An over-sized ceiling fan in every room. A little front porch that offers a palatial view of the rolling prairies of Deliverance country.

Throw in a mint julep, homemade lemonade, and the belting baritone of Paul Robeson, and the world becomes my oyster.

Except not right now. It’s too damn cold outside. Which got me to thinking…

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By on October 10, 2012

What do the Honda CR-V and Ford Explorer have in common? Both recieved lukewarm receptions from the automotive press. The Explorer was doomed from the get-go for abandoning its body-on-frame construction and whatever connotations of rugged off-road capability that came with it. Of course, nobody understood that CAFE and economies of scale, the two driving forces behind every decision in today’s automotive world, were responsible for the switch. The CR-V lacked exciting EcoTurboPowerBoost engines and swoopy styling, and so it was largely forgotten by the press. But now both trucks have the last laugh.

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By on October 2, 2012

Want a quick, agile, fun-to-drive vehicle you can stuff a bunch of kids into? Ford has what you’re looking for. Just one catch: you’ll have to move to Europe. Not that Ford sees no market here for a swift seven-seater. They do, just not for one like the S-Max. Instead, for 2013 we receive the Explorer Sport. CEO Alan Mulally’s “One Ford” vision apparently acknowledges that some models must remain regional. Here’s what real Americans want in a high-performance crossover…

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By on June 9, 2012

When I was a young pup shucking out new Willow Green 1995 Explorer XLTs at MSRP or close to it, the Explorer Sport was the unwanted, low-markup, undesirable-demographic, showroom-poison, short-wheelbase, ugly-duckling, obvious-descendant-of-the-Bronco-II, credit-criminal-friendly… oh, you get the idea, right? Nobody wanted them and we didn’t bother to stock them in any quantity.

Those days are long gone, and so is the two-door SUV; the last short-wheelbase Explorer to darken a dealer’s floorplan left the factory over a decade ago. Now, Explorer “Sport” means six-cylinder Ecoboost.

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By on June 5, 2012

The big news for the 2013 Ford F-Series appears to be the use of buttons, rather than trying to cram MyFord Touch down the gaping maw of every single product in the lineup implementing the MyFord Touch infotainment system. Apparently, it all has to do with work gloves.

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By on April 26, 2012

Today is a busy day. Bertel and Ed are off somewhere plotting their next round of skullduggery, Murilee is prowling the junkyards of Denver for the elusive 1991 Isuzu Impulse AWD, Jack is laid up in bed with an illness certainly caught from his child’s pre-school, Steve and Sajeev are collaborating on their next hit column and I am commiting a cardinal sin according to the Church of Panther…fraternizing with the enemy.

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By on March 28, 2012

Anyone looking for a Ford Taurus SHO with a bit more room and towing capacity have their prayers answered with the Ford Explorer Sport.

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By on February 8, 2011

Imagine, for a moment, you are a plant. Well, not just any plant. You are Robert Plant, and everywhere you go, people want you to sing “Stairway to Heaven”. I’d rather not, you tell them. Never liked that one much, to be honest. We’ve a much better song that I’d much rather sing. Called ‘Kashmir’, dontcha know. Much better, that one. For years, you refuse to perform the song. You cancel a proposed Led Zeppelin reunion because the promotion company insists, positively insists, that you play “Stairway”. You’d rather play “Kashmir”. And since you don’t really need the money, that’s the end of it.

I suspect the people who run Ford can sympathize a bit with Mr. Plant. Their “Stairway” is a four-door SUV called the Explorer. You might have heard of it. Sold a bunch, that Explorer, even though it was always kind of a hokey tune, a Ranger truck with a cap and a couple rows of plastic-leather seats, perched sky-high on underinflated Firestones.

The Explorer was never a truly outstanding answer to the family-wagon question, so a couple years back Ford created the Flex, which is an outstanding answer. It should have made the Explorer obsolete, but there were two problems. It wasn’t really an SUV, and it wasn’t an Explorer. And since Ford, unlike Zeppelin’s Golden God, needs the money…

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