I went from a little import sports car to what seemed a "big" vehicle. I came to love it like no other vehicle I have ever owned. On snow and ice it handles beautifully. For an SUV it gets great gas mileage. I personally don't like 4 door SUV's because they seem too long and ugly so the Sport model was right up my alley. It looks cool, rides great, and is just plain fun to drive.
I love the body style of the 96. It's curvy enough to not look boxy, yet not so curved as to seem shapeless. It really is a great looking SUV.
I do agree that the back seats are uncomfortable. The passenger seat legroom leaves something to be desired if you are tall.
Personally, I don't care much for the car. I've spent nearly 2000$ in repairs for it! To begin with, I'm a very very cautious driver- I've never caused any wrecks, but I've been rear ended. And the car held up well in the collison- but a few times, when turning slowly even or taking a curve, the car nearly flips over and tilts. Other times, it stalls out and the car speedometer is wrong. When compared to other drivers going 40 the explorer seems slower. It also takes forever to accelerate. And it's a gas guzzler. It also has a very very very bumpy ride. I swear I could feel a pebble in grass! Not the best car in the world- especially for someone on a budget!
The 6 CD deck and padded bumper
Nothing- I could never drive an SUV again after driving this car.
Purchased used off a lease w/ 17k miles. Has had strict maintenance program, synthetic oil every 4k, transmission service every 20k, flush coolant system annually. Normal driving 16-17, highway 20-21 mpg. Original transmission overdrive just failed after 174k. In shop now. Will repair and give to my son. I would buy another Explorer or Escape; If you service the vehicle it has a better chance of lasting.