By on May 10, 2021

2017 Ford Explorer Sport

Ford Motor Co. is recalling over 660,000 2016-2019 model year Explorer sport utility vehicles over the suspect roof rails the company initially claimed were probably fine. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration got involved last year, following a string of complaints of the rail cover loosening and sometimes being jettisoned from the vehicle, and recommended the automaker bring them in for repairs.

But Blue Oval felt that was unnecessary, claiming the odds of one decoupling were extremely low and likely to be battened down before anything happens. Besides, they’re just fiddly little pieces of trim and unlikely to do much damage. Obviously, opinions have changed since then with documentation from the NHTSA confirming Ford is moving ahead with the mostly voluntary recall.  (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2021

Ford is introducing a new trim level for the Explorer, targeting both outdoorsy types and those who desperately want to be but only manage to spend a couple of weekends at Kampgrounds of America.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline delivers a mix of visual accouterments and practical components that should actually make the SUV better off-road.

Don’t expect it to keep pace with a Raptor pickup, however. Despite the Timberline’s menacing new grille, skid plates, unique 18-inch wheels, and Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires, it’s not a Baja buggy waiting to be jumped off the next sand dune — though it may be the best option for Explorer shoppers who don’t want to spend oodles on aftermarket parts.   (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2020

2017 Ford Explorer Sport

A selection of Ford and Lincoln vehicles have been included in a pair of upcoming recalls. The first is involves 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator models suffering from a defective driveshaft. The weld seam is reportedly faulty on some vehicles and can split apart, resulting in a suddenly absent mechanical connection between the transfer case and rear axle. Drivers should be on guard for unintended vehicle creep or a sudden loss of power while moving. In truly bad instances, Ford warned that the driveshaft could come into heavy contact with the fuel tank — complicating things by introducing the always unpopular fire risk.

The second recall involves a link shaft bracket that may snap prematurely and impacts the 2014 Ford Edge as well as 2014-2016 Explorer and Taurus models. Drivers might notice a sudden loss of power while moving or the ability to safely place the vehicle in park. As this creates a roll-away risk, drivers should exercise caution and try to keep their vehicles parked on a level plane until it can be examined.

(Read More…)

By on November 22, 2019

At the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, Chevrolet announced the rebirth of the Trailblazer (note the spelling) for the 2021 model year. However, unlike its predecessor, it’s now a compact, three-cylinder CUV. The comments got a bit heated, pitting the GMT 360 version against its contemporary competition.

So let’s settle this. It’s time for a Buy/Drive/Burn in 2005.

(Read More…)

By on October 24, 2019

Analysts predicted a less-than-stellar quarter for Ford Motor Company, so it was not a shock to see turbulence in the company’s third-quarter financials. The company’s net income dropped 57 percent in Q3 2019, the result of currency changes and restructuring efforts. Revenue ($37 billion) was down on a global scale, shrinking 2 percent. Earnings per share shrunk from 25 cents to 11 cents.

While the automaker finds itself in the midst of ongoing cost-cutting and a reorganization of its regional businesses, the North American launch of a key product didn’t go as planned, forcing Ford CEO Jim Hackett to claim the company’s efforts fell below expectations. (Read More…)

By on October 21, 2019

Image: Ford

Plagued by reports of manufacturing defects and post-production emergency surgery at Flat Rock Assembly, Ford’s Chicago-built 2020 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator platform mate are a weight placed on the shoulders (and career) of CEO Jim Hackett. It’s also weighing down the company’s stock, analysts claim.

While the automaker said earlier this month that Explorer supply was on the upswing, with new vehicles now shipping directly to dealers, it seems Bill Shatner hasn’t shot all of the gremlins off the wing of this flight. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

Sales figures are now rolling in from the Detroit Three automakers, with Ford now reporting third-quarter volumes. While Matthew Guy will have a roundup for you later today, we can share that Ford’s most recent sales quarter was not a stellar affair, made worse by the bungled launch of a high-profile model.

As we’ve told you already, a myriad of quality issues kept thousands of Chicago-built Explorers and Lincoln Aviators from reaching dealers this summer, with the afflicted rides instead travelling by truck to Michigan’s Flat Rock Assembly for fixing before buyers could take delivery. As you’d expect, this impacted the Explorer’s sales performance and further weighed down a brand that saw its sales fall 5.6 percent in the last quarter. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2019

There’s no doubt the next-generation Ford Explorer and reborn Lincoln Aviator are very important vehicles for Ford Motor Company. Advanced, stylish, and packing lofty MSRPs and projected volume that’s sure to make the Blue Oval tons of cash, the worst thing that could occur to these vehicles is a botched rollout served with a side of quality-related stigma.

It seems that’s exactly what’s happening.

While the two platform mates, just now appearing on dealer lots, have already been subject to recalls related to manually-adjusted seatbacks, missing manual park release covers, and instrument panel issues, a number of other problems is keeping Explorers and Aviators away from buyers. Ford is reportedly working overtime to fix the unspecified defects. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2019

Barring the development of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the slow march towards better fuel economy, especially in larger vehicles, has been just that: slow. Yet incremental improvements continue, and the latest large family vehicle to see a darker shade of green is Ford’s new-for-2020 Explorer.

Now bearing rear-drive architecture it shares with the Lincoln Aviator, the Explorer drives into its sixth generation with a hybrid and high-performance model in tow. The greenest of the bunch, unlike the Aviator, is not a plug-in proposition, so fuel economy gains are limited. It’s up to buyers to decide if the just-released EPA numbers are worth the extra coin. (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2019

2020 Ford Explorer

For four generations, Ford offered the Explorer with rear-wheel drive as standard. It went front-drive for the fifth.

Now, the standard drivetrain is rear-drive again. Back to basics, so to speak.

Except, not really. First-gen Explorers didn’t have infotainment systems, or 10-speed automatic transmissions, or available hybrid powertrains. Those staples of modernity have been added over the years.

Whether it was out of nostalgia or an attempt to capitalize on the resurgence of dinosaur-themed tent-pole cinema, or simply an attempt to make us overfed journos get a quick guffaw, Ford PR trotted out an early ‘90s example, complete with Jurassic Park livery, for us to gawk at (rumor has it we may be able to get behind the wheel someday. Fingers crossed). I opened the door and was greeted with what was the new-car smell of my youth. This Explorer needed no 10-speed, no Sync, no hybrid, to charm. Could the 2020 version do the same as it returned to a rear-drive base?

(Read More…)

By on July 1, 2019

1994 Mazda Navajo in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Mazda and Ford go way back when it comes to the badge-engineering game, what with all those Mazda-built Ford Couriers, Mazda-based Ford Escorts, Mazda-badged Ford Rangers, and so on. Since I love weird examples of badge engineering in the junkyard, I’m always on the lookout for the likes of a Saab-badged Chevy or Acura-badged Isuzu, and so I have been keeping my eyes open for a rare Mazda-ized Ford Explorer for quite a while. Most of them got crushed long ago, as the early Explorer has very little value today (due to its laughably small size and lack of luxury features, by 21st-century American-market suburban commuter-truck standards), but this ’94 just showed up in a Denver self-service yard.  (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2019

2016 Ford Explorer

This isn’t the first recall for Ford vehicles with rear ends that may step out of line, but it’s certainly the largest. On Wednesday, the automaker announced the recall of 1.2 million Ford Explorers in the U.S. out of fear that rear suspension toe links could fracture, leading to a loss of control.

The recalls covers 2011-2017 Explorer models, with Ford saying the issue has already caused one driver to veer into a curb. Over the past three years, several suspension recalls have dogged this generation of Explorer; the cause of the potential fractures ranged from improper welds to the accumulation of a certain type of mud.

Speaking of that mud, it’s more of a menace than originally thought. In a separate recall, Ford today called for the return of four Ford and Lincoln models sold in Canada to replace vulnerable rear toe links. (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2019

Let’s get one thing clear: it is my opinion that the 2020 Explorer XLT is not the best 2020 Explorer. Powered by a 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-pot, the XLT falls far short of the 400 horsepower 3.0-liter Ecoboost V6 found in ST trim. As a proponent of acceleration, your author will always select the biggest engine.

Not everyone will, however. Scads of buyers, many of whom lie directly in the target market of Ford’s new Explorer, will think the 300 horse mill is more than suitable. In that frame of mind, let’s find out what $36,675 buys you at a Ford store these days.

(Read More…)

By on April 3, 2019

Image: Ford

Amsterdam, home to green medicinal plants and red lights, was the site of a Ford product extravaganza on Tuesday, with the automaker announcing a number of hybrid or electric models for the highly regulated European market.

A total of sixteen electrified models made their (future) existence known, with most falling under the automaker’s new Ford Hybrid banner. Some, like the Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid and Focus EcoBoost Hybrid, are products thrifty American greenies can only dream of. There’ll be no more Fiestas or Focuses for you, sorry. Another is one Americans with loftier lifestyles might desire, and one Ford could sell here, but won’t: a plug-in Explorer. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2019

Image: Ford

Ford’s 2020 Explorer dons a new platform and familiar skin when it goes on sale this summer, and buyers looking for peak performance from their midsize SUV had best dig deeper for funds.

Compared to the 2019 Explorer Sport, which carries beneath its hood a 365-horsepower Ecoboost motor, fans of the 2020 Explorer ST stand to shell out an extra eight grand and change for their extra power. (Read More…)

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