I've owned my Explorer since buying it new off the lot in mid-97. Looking back on it, this car turned out much better than expected. It drives smoothly and relatively quietly. Unless you plan to race through the twisties or zigzag through traffic, it handles quite comfortably. On the downhill side of the depreciation curve, it sure is economical to operate. Just replace the usual wear and tear items - tires, brakes, filters, doodads - and save money for other toys. Can't beat it.
Good power for passing and merging. Inexpensive to operate. Good body integrity and paint. Style holds up okay. Great utility with folding seats.
I love my '97 Explorer, but it has been giving me problems lately. Bought it from my parents; they put 96K miles on in it 7 years. Around 97K, a month or so after I got it, the tensioner went; had to spend 4K to replace the engine. The car failed emissions test, had to pay $200 for a new part plus service. Recently the fuses have been blowing. Fuel economy stinks since I replaced the engine- <15 city. Love my car but may replace with more fuel efficient/reliable car once I can afford another. Positives are: great towing, lots of space, comfortable, safe.
Love the cosmetics. Radio is great. Seats are comfortable. Panic alarm works from 3 city blocks away.
Build a more fuel efficient engine and extend warranty for a faulty engine part.
My 1997 Explorer XLT 4X4 with the OHV engine has been an excellent vehicle for me. I purchased it with 35,000 miles in 2002, and it now has almost 90,000. The only issues I have had are the accumulator in the A/C system rusted out and had to be replaced, and the lower front ball joints had to be replaced, both of which happened last year with about 80,000 miles on the vehicle. The vehicle is still giving me excellent performance, and the gas mileage is running about 15 in town and 20 on the road. I highly recommend one, especially if you can find a low mileage one.
Shift on-the-fly 4X4. Lumbar support in lower back of driver's seat. CD changer in the console. Rear air vents with fan for my son. Overall interior design is excellent. Reliability.
I wish I had the SOHC v-6 for that extra horsepower.
Very disappointed in this vehicle. The EGR valve has went out several times. The automatic ride control including the compressor went out at 90k miles. The estimate from the dealer was $1,500 to fix (I had the the air shocks ripped out and put regular shocks and new leaf springs on it for $500). The climate control went out at 110k miles costing over $1200 (heater box and actuator). Antenna doesn't go up & down, can't unlock the hatch with the key and can't lock or unlock it with the back switch. Cruise control on the steering wheel broke off and the hood won't stay up by itself. Many other small repairs have been needed. Now I can't even sell it for more than I have in it in repairs.
Looks pretty. V-8 has plenty of power. AWD is great in the snow, you can hardly make it slide.
Needs to be more rugged. Air ride is too expensive to repair. Climate control has cheap plastic parts. All the electronic and power stuff is just stuff that will eventually break.