Rear end noise caused the dealership to replace 2 axles and a drivetrain. Now they tell me my tires are "cupped." After reading other reviews I think this is a more serious epidemic. Plastic exterior on rear hatch cracked with freezing rain. ABS parts failure. Bubbling interior door panel fabric in cold weather. My wife threatens to leave me if I ever buy another Ford.
I have had a '98 and an '02. I have had a number of problems with the '02. The rear seals and wheel bearing have been replaced twice, 10K miles apart. The transmission has been in four times. The filter assembly changed twice and now it is in for a new tranny at 43K. Luckily I paid for an extended warranty. Life span of rotors is horrible, same as '98. Sunroof, front wheel bearings, and driver's seat cover replaced. The truck is great. The reliability is horrible. This will be the last Explorer. Too bad they can't make quality job 1 anymore. First model year, but should not have had this many problems.
This is my second Explorer with a bad transmission, the first one was a 1996. When I wanted to have the tranny fluid changed my Ford dealer told me it wasn't a serviceable item. Funny, the owners manual says to change fluid every 30K miles. Also, at 75K miles the back wheel bearing went bad. I also had to have the rear axle seals replaced at 60K miles since I was leaking axle fluid on my garage floor. Brakes wear quickly as well. Too many problems to consider this vehicle dependable and/or economical. Will not buy or recommend another.
Auto 4WD, seating for 7, relatively spacious and comfortable.
Transmission, transmission, transmission. Improve rear drivetrain. Brake rotor longevity. Did I mention the transmission?
Unacceptable reliability from the start, beginning with malfunction of a/c vent linkage from floor to face, steering linkage rattle (replaced), leakage from map light, brake light switch, dealer spark plug malfunction, and poor transmission handle functioning. Have taken this vehicle in for repair far too often.
I have owned four new Explorers: '94, '96, '98 and this 2002. Always liked the size, perfect for my needs. Never had any serious issues and up until recently, the 2002 was by far my favorite. Much better ride and handling. However, have had emissions problem that dealer & Ford can't seem to resolve. Exhaust has had strong sulfur smell that is intolerable. Dealer claims to have resolved now. Also, just had 4WD control module fail. Warranty repaired. They rented me a 2004 Explorer while mine was in shop; transmission very, very jerky. Always been loyal customer but beginning to lose faith and confidence in Ford Explorer. Since out of warranty, considering trading to different brand.
Styling, size, capacity, ride, handling, smooth, convenient controls, etc.
Have leather seats, but they need more cushioning; too hard. Fuel economy. Reliability???? If the Explorer was very reliable, the vehicle would be a real winner. But I am not confident about reliability at this point. Time will tell.