This is my 3rd Eddie Bauer Explorer. I needed to special order to get a 5-passenger V-8 with the leather/suede interior. It was worth the wait. As the vehicle is routinely loaded with 400 - 900 pounds of cargo, the V-8 was a must. This Explorer has a base weight 500 lbs. more than the '98 V-6 it replaced and the V-8 is needed for decent performance when loaded. Around town mileage is about 13 with vehicle not yet broken in. This is about the same as my past V-6. The added size vs. the past model makes it the max. that will fit in our garage, and one mirror must be folded to do so. Good build quality and, overall, still the best of mid-size SUVs but see below for design-related concerns.
The suede seats are cool on hot days and comfortable on cold days. The added size of the current model enhances ease of carrying bulky items. The independent suspension improves ride/handling over the previous generation.
Ford removed all holes in the front and rear bumpers making using them useless for attaching tie-down lines. Ford has found it impossible to supply me with the correct cargo net, an item that once was standard equipment. Too many windshield reflections. Rear seats don't fold quite flat
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