My Explorer has been a reliable car. A few things needed replacing (window motor & an engine part or two, but nothing major). Overall I have been very pleased with the XL. The size is great and the mileage isn't bad for an SUV - low 20s on the highway. About 17 in the city. It rides a bit like a truck - because, well it's a truck essentially. It starts easily and starts smoothly every time. Some rate the Explorer a bit lower, but I've had no major problems. It has been a good vehicle.
Best item: Reliable. Also, the size is really handy for hauling, etc.
Stiff ride, but I understand that has been improved on later models.