We've had this car about five years and really had very few problems with it. We call it the 'snow beast' as its awd is fantastic in the snow. I've had a couple other 4wd trucks and this is just much more competent in poor conditions. It has the 302 V8 and can pull a trailer without complaining and is comfortable to ride in and drive. It beats you up at the pump, but it averages about 17mpg in mixed driving, so it's not much worse than your average minivan, suv, or pickup truck without awd! It beats the Jeep Cherokee I had prior to this by about 4mpg and it had the 4.0l I6 with part time 4wd,
302 V8, steering wheel climate control & radio buttons, great AWD system, very reliable.
Improve gas mileage? None really. Pretty satisfied with the vehicle.
I bought my XLT Explorer new in '99 and am now going to sell it after 128K miles. I have never had any major problems. I changed the thermostat once and the alternator once, but $800 in repairs over almost 8 years isn't so bad. The ride is bumpy. The power locks are about worn out and the radio randomly switches to CD randomly, but it's an old SUV. What do you expect?
Room for cargo and myself. Easy in/out in front and back. Rugged good looks. High ride. The keypad on the door is the best. I lock my keys in the truck at a ball game and use the keypad to get back in. That way I don't have to lug keys around all day. It's great!
I'm only getting rid of it because I want a fancier look to drive people around in. I will miss it greatly.
I bought the car used at 19,000 miles and now have 130,000 miles on it. It has been a rough 130,000 miles. I change the oil every 5,000 miles and rotate tires. Thermostat has gone out twice, electrical system shorted out, causing $1,000 dollars in repairs, and my windshield wiper motor went out. Repairs keep adding up and I don't find it surprising that Ford is going bankrupt. I would love to buy another Ford, but I doubt that will ever happen again. American car companies need to invest in quality and durability or they are done for.