Bigger? Sort of - 2012 Ford Explorer Long-Term Road Test

2012 Ford Explorer Long Term Road Test

2012 Ford Explorer: Bigger? Sort of

January 20, 2012


Our fifth-generation Explorer feels big to me. This morning on my drive into the office, I thought, "man, this thing must dwarf the first-gen Explorer." In my head, I was thinking it was as big a difference between the first Ford Expedition and the same-year Explorer. No, I was mostly wrong.

My first hint was the wheelbase, which is what I used to scale the two Explorer images. The 1991 Explorer had a 111.9-inch wheelbase, while the latest version measured 112.6. Not that much. Other dimensions show bigger differences, but not to the extent that I had thought.

Old vs. New
Length: 184.3 vs. 197.1
Height: 67.3 vs. 70.4

The most significant difference is in width (70.2 vs 78.9). A 1991 Explorer will fit down my narrow driveway, but our new long-termer won't. And that leads me to conclude that it's this additional 8.7 inches that's responsible for the perception of size.

From a styling perspective, the 2012 Explorer's chunky styling and longer front overhang make it appear much larger than the numbers suggest. Personally, I'd prefer a narrower Explorer. I noted in my last post that I found far too much space laterally on the inside. Then again, I'm not the target demographic. I rarely have more than one more passenger my cargo-hauling needs are even less common. If I did need an SUV, I'd probably start my search with a smaller Escape or Edge to see if they'd meet my needs.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor


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