2006 Ford Explorer SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Ford Explorer SUV

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Ford Explorer Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 210 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Ford Explorer

  • The 2006 Ford Explorer has a functional interior, ample passenger space, strong powertrains and a well-controlled ride, all of which contribute to its well-deserved reputation as a practical midsize SUV with few faults.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Excellent ride and handling characteristics for a truck-based SUV, strong optional V8, comfortable and quiet interior with user-friendly layout, standard Roll Stability Control.

  • Cons

    Low resale value, lousy fuel economy.

  • What's New for 2006

    Ford treats the Explorer to a number of significant improvements for 2006. Styling has been updated with a bolder grille treatment, a new tailgate and more attractive taillights. Interior furnishings get an upgrade, too, and additional sound insulation results in a supremely quiet cabin, while a stiffened frame and new shocks provide even better ride and handling characteristics than before. Ford tweaked the 4.0-liter V6 to cut smog-forming emissions by 74 percent and a new three-valve 4.6-liter V8 replaces last year's two-valve version. A six-speed automatic transmission is also new, and comes standard with the V8 engine. Trim levels are simplified, and front-seat side airbags, AdvanceTrac stability control and Roll Stability Control are now standard on all Explorers.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (23 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Buyer beware

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Experienced many of the quality issues others are describing around the radiator and transmission. All under 75k and only 5 years old. Recently traded it in and do not regret it. Fun to drive but way too expensive to keep on the road long term.



25 of 25 people found this review helpful

2006 radiator/trans issues

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I'm reluctant to write this review but after the heartache and expensive repairs...I'm compelled to share. I've been a proud fan of the Ford brand for years...and have even sold Ford/Lincoln/Mercury's for two years. With that confidence I purchased a 2006 4x4 Eddie Explorer. Since then I've replaced the radiator twice and now the trans is slipping in drive and reverse. The radiator continues to leak and now the trans drips slowly. There's no place to add trans fluid...must be done at an OEM shop. I can't continue to drive this vehicle. I have a teen driver and will not let her drive this truck for the sincere concern over her safety. Ford do the right thing and recall. Thanks!



26 of 29 people found this review helpful

4 radiators

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

OK, I feel your pain. The problem with the 06-07 V6 Eddie Bauer edition is the lower brackets that the radiator sits in. They are 1/4 "to far forward, this puts the radiator in a bind. After thermal expansion and contraction the the welds in the core give up. This causes a ever so slight leak in the core. Hard to find at first , but eventually becomes much larger. You lose enough coolant to cause a over heating problem which is hard to detect because the coolant level is dropping ever so slightly. The temperature of the engine is rising at the same rate, along with the transmission, remember the trans is cooled through the same radiator. hot motor, hot trans lube breaks down.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Recall the radiator!

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I bought my Explorer with 18000mi. in Feb of 09'. Thought I was in heaven till the engine started making a hideous noise, pulled off highway, dash went red and car shut off! Has 42,212 miles, Ford will not make good on this. Again, they say they've never heard of this! I think it's time for the Attorney General's office to step in. No warning of this! They tell me it's a maintenance issue. I also have a 96' Explorer with 257000 miles that my son is now driving! I seem to have maintained that without a problem! Been driving Ford for 26 years! How 'bout something for loyalty? Anything but this. There is a $5,680 price tag on a new engine and radiator. Really Ford? Quality is not job one.



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Bad radiator

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

2006 Ford Explorer From what i am reading it looks like our 2006 explorers are having radiator problems. I got the truck new in 2006 and in less then 1 year had to have the radiator replaced. the 2nd radiator is starting to give me problems now at about 40k miles. i notice my recovery tank getting low on coolant. I don't see any leaks but i can smell it. I took it to the dealer for a pressure test but they say they can't find a problem. Over all i don't have any other problems so far with the truck. I was at a Lowe's store and i parked my explorer next to another explorer. I asked the owner if his was a 2006 and if he had any problems. he said yes a 2006 and the radiator was replaced




Air explorer

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I brought this vehicle used and I must say im very happy. No problems yet and praying that I don't. Brought it with a 36K service contract and have been driving it like a jet. 80 mph on the highway. GREAT TRUCK!



Full 2006 Ford Explorer Review

What's New for 2006

Ford treats the Explorer to a number of significant improvements for 2006. Styling has been updated with a bolder grille treatment, a new tailgate and more attractive taillights. Interior furnishings get an upgrade, too, and additional sound insulation results in a supremely quiet cabin, while a stiffened frame and new shocks provide even better ride and handling characteristics than before. Ford tweaked the 4.0-liter V6 to cut smog-forming emissions by 74 percent and a new three-valve 4.6-liter V8 replaces last year's two-valve version. A six-speed automatic transmission is also new, and comes standard with the V8 engine. Trim levels are simplified, and front-seat side airbags, AdvanceTrac stability control and Roll Stability Control are now standard on all Explorers.

Introduction

The Ford Explorer debuted in 1990 as a 1991 model, and achieved instant success in a market that it ultimately defined, if not created. Based on the Ford Ranger pickup, the original Explorer had the winning combination of size, style and utility that people wanted in an SUV. It came as the volume-selling four-door or a less popular two-door, and replaced the Bronco II in Ford's lineup.

Initially, just XLS and XLT trim levels were available. In 1992, an Eddie Bauer edition joined the lineup, and a Limited model followed shortly thereafter. The Explorer's first major revision occurred in 1995, when it received a new independent front suspension, revised styling and a new interior. This iteration soldiered on through 2001 with few changes, but by then accusations that the Ford Explorer suffered a high incidence of tire failures and subsequent rollover accidents had tarnished the nameplate.

Ford blamed tire supplier Firestone for equipping the Explorer with flawed Wilderness A/T tires, and initiated a massive recall to replace the original equipment rubber. Firestone blamed the Explorer's design and Ford's recommendation that the tires be inflated to a relatively low 26 psi. Neither company publicly pointed fingers at consumers' indifference to the dangers of overloading vehicles, expecting a truck to handle like a car, failing to monitor tire pressures or dismissing the importance of seatbelts as possible contributors to blowout-related deaths.

For 2002, just as the Explorer rollover debacle was winding down, Ford launched the completely redesigned Explorer. A substantial improvement over the original, the new truck had a wider track, longer wheelbase, a fully independent suspension and seating for up to seven adults. It should have been a runaway success, but the Ford-Firestone media fight kept buyers away from showrooms and forced Ford to offer cash rebates and low-interest financing to keep sales afloat. Sales eventually recovered, allowing the Explorer to continue its reign as the best-selling SUV in the U.S.

The 2006 Ford Explorer gets revisions that keep it ahead of the pack. Although it doesn't qualify as a full redesign, the new Explorer is quieter, more powerful, better-handling, better-equipped and several rungs higher on the safety ladder than the 2005 model. Highlights include a new three-valve 4.6-liter V8 borrowed from the Mustang, extra sound insulation that significantly reduces cabin noise levels and a stiffened frame that provides an even more compliant highway ride than before. Safety-conscious buyers should take note that not only are front-seat side airbags and conventional stability control standard across the line, but so is the Volvo-engineered Roll Stability Control system, which provides additional protection against rollover accidents. This fully modern vehicle merits consideration by anyone looking for a spacious yet agile SUV that can transport a family of five in comfort and haul serious amounts of cargo.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door, midsize 2006 Ford Explorer is available in XLS, XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited trims. The XLS comes with air conditioning, cruise control, an MP3-compatible CD player, keyless entry, and power windows, mirrors and locks. XLT models get a six-way power driver seat, 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and rear ventilation ducts. Eddie Bauer models offer two-tone paint, 17-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, running boards, leather upholstery, heated seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver seat with memory, faux wood trim and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The top-line Limited comes with monochromatic paint, chrome wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power front-passenger seat, heated mirrors and an upgraded audio system with an in-dash CD changer and steering wheel controls. Major options include a third-row seat, a navigation system, a rear air conditioner, a DVD entertainment system, a sunroof, 18-inch wheels and second-row bucket seats.

Powertrains and Performance

The base engine is a 4.0-liter V6 good for 210 horsepower. Optional on all models except the XLS is a 4.6-liter V8 engine with 292 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, and both two- and four-wheel drive are available with either engine. Properly equipped, a V8 2WD Explorer can tow 7,300 pounds.

Safety

Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard, as are front-seat side airbags, AdvanceTrac stability control system and Roll Stability Control, which uses a gyro sensor to calculate the SUV's roll speed and angle. If the system determines that a rollover is imminent, AdvanceTrac takes corrective action to help avoid it. Any Explorer can be outfitted with the Safety Canopy system that includes first- and second-row side curtain airbags and a rollover sensor that keeps the airbags inflated longer in the event your Explorer does roll over. A reverse-sensing system can be added to all models except the XLS. The NHTSA has not crash tested the 2006 Ford Explorer, but last year's model fared well, earning four to five stars in all frontal- and side-impact tests, as well as a top rating of "Good" in IIHS frontal-offset testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

This year Ford has upgraded the Explorer's ergonomically sound but bland cabin with more attractive materials, a sharp set of gauges, and a shapely steering wheel and gear selector, along with additional insulation to reduce cabin noise levels. It's feasible to carry two adults in the third-row seats, but choosing the third-row option also reduces available cargo space. Seven-passenger Explorers max out at 81.3 cubic feet of cargo space, while five-passenger versions offer a more competitive 88 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Any 2006 Ford Explorer model is a joy to drive, as SUVs go. Taking much of the credit for this praise is the rear independent suspension, which provides a smooth ride and keeps the wheels planted on rough pavement. Steering is surprisingly responsive and the brakes inspire confidence through a firm and progressive pedal. Power from either the V6 or V8 engine is acceptable, though we prefer the added refinement of the V8.

Talk About The 2006 Explorer

Read more about the 2006 Ford Explorer

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 13
  • cty
/
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs