2006 Ford Explorer SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Ford Explorer SUV

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Ford Explorer Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.6 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 292 hp @ 5750 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/18 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 (15 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Bad radiator

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.6L 8cyl 6A)

*Contact Ford about your BAD RADIATOR! I have a 2006 Ford Explorer and I have had the same "bad radiator" experience that many other people have posted about. At 45,000 miles it started to leek and finally began to separate from the vehicle. I wrote a letter to Ford about the problem and they sent a letter back to me with a number to call. I called and spoke with a representative who took down all of my info, she told me if they get enough complaints they will post a recall and we can get a reimbursement for the repairs we had to pay for. If you haven't already contacted them, do it!



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Chronic radiator problems

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.6L 8cyl 6A)

Bought my Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer when it was just 2 years old. I've had it for 9 1/2 months and am on the 6th radiator! Yes, you heard correctly...even a reputable Ford auto shop can not find the source of the problem. So the radiator keeps getting replaced and every 1-2 months (this time it was literally only a matter of 1 week!)...it ends up leaking radiator fluid everywhere, overheating and roaring/not running properly. This was the worst purchase I've ever made and now I fell totally stuck. I HATE this car and will NEVER EVER EVER buy Ford again...Nothing but a big hassle, headache, money pit and inconvenience.




Waste of money

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.6L 8cyl 6A)

I think this vehicle sums up why Amrican auto industry is going down. I have 2008 BMW 335i convertible. I bought this Explorer for cold/snowy winter days. What a mistake! Interior is nothing but dollar store hard plastic which starts peeling after a while. Handling is a nigthmare. Original tires are a joke. This type of handling from $38000 vehicle is unacceptable. After I replaced the tires with Michelins and added 1 inch wheel spacers to front and rear, handling got little better. But nothing drives me more crazy than the wind noise at highway speeds. Once you are over 70mph, it is impossible to have normal conversation. New tires eliminated the road noise but wind noise is redicilious




Nice style - poor quality

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.6L 8cyl 6A)

Get the V-8. I get 20 mpg on a trip at 65. Nice looking truck but poor Ford quality - I've had it 4 mos with 2 major breakdowns. No problems with the transmission. The dealer was great and I'm glad I got the extended warranty. The 18' chrome rims look great. I've previously had Pilots - not as nice looking but far more reliable. I am impressed with the ride and how quiet it is at highway speeds.




Killer

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.6L 8cyl 6A)

I looked at everything out there, I mean everything including the much touted Tahoe. Nothing stacked up overall against the Explorer. Pilot was spartan and uncomfortable, 4Runner is behind on everything, Pathfinder LE was closest competitor but they are not discounted, Tahoe is just not there yet. Acadia/Outlook are close but do not offer the tow capacity I needed. So there you have it. It came down to the Explorer and I have no regrets.




Transmission nightmares

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.6L 8cyl 6A)

Love the looks of my truck. Love the way it performs out on the highway. Not happy with the way the leather looks dirty and I have to keep cleaning. Hate the way it takes off when the engine is cold. Hate the way it shifts gears. Hate the way it drives slow in the parking lot. Hate the way it takes off after downshifting. If the transmission worked correctly, and the leather upholstery would stay looking new, I would have no complaints.



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
/
  • 18
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs