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 Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 292 hp @ 5750 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 (7 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

I guess i am not

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

I went online today to look at transmission costs for my 2006 Explorer and I found this review. I am sitting here feeling a little screwed over right now. I bought the car with less than 20.000 miles on it because I loved my old Expedition which had over 200,000 miles on it. I had no problems with it other than replacing a transmission around 160,000 to be expected. Now,with my Explorer I have had to buy a new radiator (under 100,000 miles), replace a transfer case (under 100,000 miles), and now my transmission is out(120,000). Sadly, these look like common problems. Sorry to say, this is my third Ford and my last one.




No more fords

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

Here is the issue..bought new 2006 Ford Explorer; thought I'd buy American; big big mistake; numerous mechanical problems latest is the transmission. (Numerous problems with Radiator has leak-could be another $1,000.) Dealer advises could be low of $1,700- $3,000. to repair/replace. Many Internet sites from buyers suggest this is a manufacturing defect; some suggest the updated operating software could have helped; both for the trans and the radiator. SUV has only 29,000 miles on it; check the internet 100's of problems with the transmission. Ford consumer services really doesn't care. I will never buy a Ford product again. I am shopping foreign SUVs now.




Good not great

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

Compared to our '99, it seems Ford had to change some things just for the sake of change. What's improved: very quiet, great ride, all seats very comfortable, dual zone A/C, reclining 2nd row seat, rear HVAC controls. Should have been left as they were: door pulls, memory seat and heated seat controls (now on the console and not convenient), 2nd row headrest non- adjustable and non-removable(interferes with child seat), side mirrors (clunky looking and do not have full range of travel), console shifter (I'd rather use the space for storage), dash design. Some complaints here about dash reflections with the tan interior. This is easily solved with a dark color dash cover.




Excellent suv

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

The build quality on this vehicle is excellent. It's as good as any Japanese. I've driven this in the city and on the highway and it is very comfortable. The storage is huge. I've had this long enough and put on enough miles to really be able to tell anyone interested in buying a Ford Explorer, that for the money you can't go wrong. Ford is really dealing on these. I researched Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, GMC, and Chevy. The Ford pulls more weight then the rest. All this comfort, looks and it pulls 7200 lbs. Great for pulling a boat or trailer, and it's much cheaper, even the Limited, then most.




Lemon lemon

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

I purchased Explorer Limited in 3/2006. In the 6 months I have owned it, it has been at the dealer for repairs 6 times (1 1/2 months). First it was the transmission. Then it was the cooling sensors that are supposed to prevent the engine from overheating. I was driving 70 mph on the highway when it just turned off. I lost power steering and almost ran other cars off the road while trying to maintain control. Since then it has been in & out of the dealership with cooling sensor issues. It doesn't turn on if it is cold out. I have been stranded 4 times, missed hours of work, and feel unsafe in the car. Ford doesn't stand behind product, Now must go through lemon law process which takes months. Buyers beware!




2006 explorer limited

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

I love this car so much I don't even mind driving to work. Ford has hit a home run. Rugged good looks, very nice and functional interior, quiet as a luxury car, solid road feel, increased power from V8. I also like the fact truck is about six inches taller than previous model, allowing for better visibility. Still, nothing is perfect. Inside door handles have to relocated. What were they thinking? Have only owned the car 2 weeks, but only getting 14mph. Overall I would say the 2006 model is one of the best SUVs around and a very good value.



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