Ford introduced the Explorer in 1991 as a full-size SUV. Six decades later, the current Ford Explorer is one of the most capable vehicles in its class. But the reputation of the Explorer doesn’t end there; the 2022 model comes with an abundance of tech and safety features, a colossal interior space, and superb braking performance.
With an estimated life expectancy of up to 200,000 miles, the Explorer is an excellent option for buyers looking for a long-lasting SUV. However, like any other vehicle, the Explorer had its ups and downs throughout the years.
If you’re in the market for a dependable full-size SUV with a tight budget, used fifth-gen Explorer models (2011-2019) should definitely be under your radar. However, with all the available trims and options, the vehicle-buying process can be quite overwhelming. Without further ado, let’s go through some notable trims to make sure you spend your money on a model that fits your needs.
Best Performance: The 2019 Sport And Platinum Trims Are Armed With 365 Horsepower
If you’re looking for the best performance you can get with a fifth-gen Ford Explorer, the 2019 Sport and Platinum Trims should be your go-to options. Both of these editions come with a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that can boast 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. For these trims, Ford offers a six-speed automatic transmission system that pairs with a 4WD configuration.
Moreover, high-end 2019 Explorers can tow up to 5,000 lbs, which is enough for a small boat or a pair of jet skis. If you go for the Platinum edition, you’ll have a number of luxury and tech features, including tri-diamond perforated leather seats, and Active Park Assist.
Thankfully, the 365-hp powertrain in the 2019 Explorer doesn’t guzzle fuel. Based on EPA estimations, you can expect up to 16 miles to the gallon in the city and 22 on the highway (10 MPG combined).
According to the Zero60Times website, both the Sport and Platinum trims of the 2019 Explorer can sprint from idle to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds and finish the quarter-mile in 14.3 seconds.
Most Cost-efficient: The 2011 Explorer Base model Offers The Essentials For A Great Family And Grocery Hauler
Although the 2011 Explorer had a few alarming owner complaints registered on the Car Complaint website, it fared better compared to most other model years of the SUV. Most of the owner reports pertain to rust and bubbles appearing on the hood prematurely.
The base model is equipped with a 3.5L V6 that puts out 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed automatic transmission works smoothly and can effortlessly reach high mileages without any significant headaches. With the front-wheel-drive configuration, you can expect 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway. The 2011 Explorer’s excellent fuel economy makes it the most fuel-efficient vehicle of its class.
The 2011 Explorer Base model lacks the fancy interior details, such as leathered seats and steering wheel, available on the higher-end trims. Your standard features with the base model include cloth seating, a 6-speaker sound system, and keyless entry.
The 2011 Ford Explorer Base trim typically goes for around $9,000 to $11,000 on the market, excellent for its class. On the downside, the Repair Pal website estimates that it will cost $725 annually to maintain a 2011 Explorer, making it a much more expensive SUV to own compared to its rivals.
Best Value: The 2017 Ford Explorer Limited Comes With Many Great Qualities Without Breaking A Bank
If you’re looking for a trouble-free SUV that offers a lot of bang for the buck, the 2017 Explorer should most definitely be on your list. Compared to the previous years, the 2017 model had significantly fewer problems. Most of the issues reported with this model year concern minor issues such as alignment and tire wear problems.
Ford offers two engine options for the 2017 Limited model. Similar to the previous model we discussed, the standard 3.5L engine produces 290 horsepower. On the other hand, the 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder powertrain boasts 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque while raising the fuel economy up to 19 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway.
With the Limited trim, you’ll have leather seating, power adjustable pedals, dual-zone climate control, and heated and ventilated front seats as standard.
According to the Kelley Blue Book website, you can find a used 2017 Explorer Limited for as low as $22,000, noticeably more affordable than its rivals, such as the Chevy Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia. According to various automobile sources, a 2017 Ford Explorer can reach 250,000 miles on the odometer with proper maintenance without requiring any major overhauls.