I bought my Explorer XLT 4WD new 13 years ago. I've maintained it myself for 151,000 miles. I've changed the AT fluid and filter every 30,000 miles and have had no transmission issues. It does chatter when dropping out of OD, but only when another transmission fluid change is due. I've always used Mobil One ATF. I recently did a lot of work on it because, although it's worth less than $2K on the books, it runs like new. I replaced the upper and lower ball joints last fall. I also found an A/C leak and fixed it myself. My brother the HVAC pro pressure tested, evacuated and charged it. Blows ice cold again! Heater blend door is a common failure, $9 part and about eight hours labor!
Good looks, comfortable on long trips, reliable. The Cologne V6 is rock solid. I also have the 2.8L Cologne in my 1976 Mercury Capri II.
Better rust proofing in the rocker panels and rear wheel lips. Better design on heater blend door. Everything underneath that is powder coated should be galvanized instead.