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A functional interior, ample passenger space, strong powertrain and a well-controlled ride all contribute to the 2004 Ford Explorer's well-deserved reputation as a practical midsize SUV with few faults.
Excellent ride and handling characteristics for a truck-based SUV, strong optional V8, comfortable cabin with user-friendly layout and seating for up to seven, good crash test scores.
Dull cabin design with some low-grade materials, low resale value, confusing controls on highline models, lousy fuel economy.
Available Explorer Models
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Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control that was previously available on V8 models only is now available on all models, except the XLS and XLS Sport and all AWD models. The NBX version now comes standard with the off-road package and "NBX" tailgate badging, and can be ordered with a moonroof. Limited and Eddie Bauer models get a quad bucket seating option when equipped with the third-row bench, which adds second-row buckets and a floor console. Family buyers of the 2004 Ford Explorer should note that the optional rear air conditioner no longer requires the purchase of the third-row seat. Finally, a tire-pressure monitoring system is now standard on XLS Sport and higher trim levels, and a rear cargo shade is optional on XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited models.
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