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I passed 2,000 miles on my Explorer last weekend, so I figured it was time to report on my experiences. (Edit: I have a 2013 model…not 2012. DOH!)
Mileage - So far I'm averaging 17.8mpg, over 12 fill-ups. I'm a bit surprised at the low mileage since I drive a lot of freeway. But the 20" rims don't help, and in Seattle everything is a hill. I also can't help but get into the throttle more often than I should. That engine just sounds great opening up. I changed the oil at 1,400 miles since I hate break-in oil. Interestingly enough, the oil meter was at 89% which means my oil change interval will be in the 14,000 mile range .
- Overall, I love this car. I still smile when I see it in the parking lot. I've driven trucks for nearly 10 years and haven't missed them at all yet. Even seeing the F350 I traded in on the dealer lot didn't bring any regret.
- The interior fit and finish is very good and I'm happy with the XLT trim level. I do wish I could have found a base Limited with a few more toys, but I haven't needed anything yet that I didn't get. Attention Ford: you'd get more money out of me if I could add a few of the Limited features piece-meal to my XLT…hint, hint.
- I was a bit worried about leg room in the back for my two kids, but we haven't had a problem yet. The front seats are very comfortable.
- The car has great throttle response and isn't afraid to get up into the RPMs. While I'd change some of the shift logic, it is far better than any Ford I've driven for years.
- The luggage rack bars that cross the top of the roof are POS. With a 100lb rating, a fair amount (even more than half) of that capacity is taken up with a cargo box.
- The car needs more cargo cubbies and pockets, particularly in the back.
- Ford needs to work on their gaps and fit-n-finish a bit on the outside of the car. Now that I've had time to look at all the details, I can see how the left and right side doors have different size gaps. The rear hatch is particularly out of whack (when looked at with a close eye…everything opens and closes fine).
- The electrically assisted steering is numb. While it can be fun spinning the wheel with one finger, I find I miss the feedback I got from even my F350. I truly understand now why car magazines ding lack of steering feedback in their review.
- Ford needs to fire everyone that had a hand in Sync. And I mean fire tomorrow…turn their badge off and pull their system access. VPs all the way down to the FNGs. I'd tell Microsoft to FO as well and start all over. That system is a horrible excuse for an integrated user interface. Don't blame Microsoft, they've produced software like this for decades. Ford needs to take ownership here. I've been around software development for over a dozen years now and work with teams that put software on airplanes. While I'll never claim to be an expert, I know when I see bad requirements, uncontrolled scope creep and lack of systems integration take over projects. I'll skip the details as the list of issues would be too long. Let's just say the Sync in my 2010 F350 worked great with my iPhone 4, maybe needing to be rebooted once every three or four months. With my Explorer's Sync, I can think of at least six ways my iPhone will connect to Sync, all of which provide varying levels of control. There is literally a one-in-six chance my phone will function properly every time I start the car.
- The cup holders in the center console need to be redesigned ASAP. The clown that engineered these didn't have a clue about physics. Fire him/her along with the Sync team. The whole point of cup holders is so the driver doesn't have to manager their beverage. Yet these two (of difference diameters no less) are wider than any cup I can find and yet very shallow. The fact that coffee mugs with handles won't fit in them at all is just the cherry on top. Soda cans, coffee mugs or anything else have to be held in place if the car is in motion. What's the point then?
Thanks for the well rounded report. I keep wanting a new Explorer and there are a TON of them on the road in Detroit, particularly in the nicer areas like where I live. I don't want any kind of SYNC anything in whatever I buy and lean toward low end stripper vehicles just because I like taller tires on smaller wheels and less "stuff" so long as I have cruise and a few other niceties. Even dumb stuff like cupholders, if you often drink coffee in your car, can be a serious problem. My '02 E150 actually has pretty nice cupholders with 2 steps to hold different size cups, and has slots for handles. I have in the past bought a "special" cup for a couple cars that needed a specific fit. You might be able to make up some kind of nice shim type thing if you have a fave cup.
Thanks for taking the time to report, and especially for the balanced pros and cons you provided. I'm not really surprised at the gas mileage given that you are moving around almost 5000 lbs once you sit in the Explorer.
Enjoyed reading your report. I completely agree with your comments on MFT. While I love the backup camera, the onscreen controls are terrible. Even the latest update to the software has some bugs in it. I have no idea how many updates they have had but I'm on my third in less than one year with my 2012.
I would vote to give the contract to Apple. I don't think anybody knows more about intuitive touch screens than they do. And, yes I know that would add about $800 to get the MFT system - but we'd love it instead of hate it.
I have the 3.5L engine and average right at 20 mpg with mostly town driving. But it's really flat around here. Also the first oil change was needed at just over 10,000 miles. Cool! The dealer was giving away cards for four free oil changes with each new vehicle when I bought the Explorer and the first one has always been free so I should get to 50,000 miles before paying for the oil.
Thank for sharing. I have 500 miles on my 2013 and do not have any major gripes as of yet. My wife primarily drives it, but I have used it a fair amount. I also have a 02 Explorer and what a world of difference. I use the 02 when the weather is bad (park the Mustang gt) and you can really see the changes Ford has made. One area where the 02 has an advantage is driver sight lines. I think it is because the 13 Explorer pillars are so thick...
I hope that the 13 runs as good as my 02 does after 11 years on the road!
2002 Explorer EB 4.0L 4x4
2006 Mustang GT
2013 Explorer XLT AWD
I'm about to pass 7K miles and will probably do an update at 10K for everyone. The two Sync updates since this post have vastly improved the functionality. I also spent 5 weeks in a Kia Sorento while my Explorer was getting repaired, so I learned a few valuable things. I've also been tracking my day-to-day mileage and will share that with my update.
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