2012 Ford Explorer Long Term Road Test

2012 Ford Explorer: Totally a Carmax Car

September 13, 2012

Explorer at Carmax.jpg

Whenever we take our long-term cars to get appraised at Carmax, a few of our editors make friendly bets on what the offer will be. When we think a car will get a solid offer, we call it a "Carmax Car." These cars, like our departed Toyota Sienna, are easy for Carmax to sell and so it can make us a better offer.

Edmunds trade-in TMV was $27,683. I was the optimist of the group and said Carmax would offer $28,000. Phil Reed said $27,500. Mike Magrath was like that guy in "The Price is Right" who says "One dollar." He guessed $27,000.

Take a guess for yourself before you click to the next page.

Turns out I was right on the money. Carmax offered us $28,000. This was $317 more than trade-in TMV. Here are some other numbers to put it into perspective. MSRP on this car was $38,485. We paid $35,402 before taxes. The Explorer depreciated about 21 percent in a year. This is about average for a car.

Carmax made us a good offer and we would have trouble beating it if we tried to sell it ourselves. Private party TMV was $29,689. That's too close to $30K which is a big psychological barrier for a used car. It's too close to the price of a new car -- albeit one with fewer options.
I called Abe at Trade-In Solutions, to get a second opinion. I read him the VIN and told him the Carmax price. "Take the money," Abe said.

If we sold the car ourselves, we would probably have to price it at $28,900. Then, after negotiation, we'd end up at $28K or potentially less. We saved ourselves the trouble and sold the Explorer to Carmax.

And so the Explorer leaves our fleet. It was a car that drove big, had an engine that was too small and a MyFord Touch interface that acted up on us a few times. That said, it was a comfortable car and had no problems finding its way to 20,000 miles.

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor

Final odometer: 20,130 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Ford Explorer in VA is:

$134 per month*
* Explanation
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