The option for my model was not above. I drive a 1998 XLT 4x4 w/auto transmission. I bought the car for $3,000. with 146,000 miles on it two years ago as my first car. It is still running strong to this day. It has had it's usual maintenance, that is a given for any car of this age. Sure, it has it's quirks, but regardless, this is a great little truck that will never fail you.
I live in minnesota, and this little truck is a gift from God. I don't know how many times I have simply powered through snow drifts, where big trucks have gotten stuck. I don't know how, but to this day it amazes me what I can drive through. It is a very versatile SUV also, it is strong enough to tow a boat, big enough to carry sheet rock and lumber, and small enough to work in the city. It has a sharper turning radius than my mom's maxima. Best of all is the durability. I have smashed through snow banks, toyed around in the winter, and even drifted into a curb, resulting in a bent axle. I had no idea until somebody told me the wheel was wobbling. The truck just kept going. It never fails.
The gas mileage could be better. I feel that if I were to buy a second explorer, I would go for the V-8. I feel like it would almost get better gas mileage because the engine wouldn't have to work as hard to get the truck moving. The muffler system on this is admittedly terrible. The OEM ford replacements seem to rust very quickly. Causing a loud drone in the exhaust. Very annoying. The interior design is manageable and attractive, but the build quality is terrible. There are rattles and squeaks everywhere. Not enough to drive me nuts, but definitely noticeable. The suspension is rock hard. You feel every bump, but it also gives you a good sense of confidence and responsiveness in steering.