First Impressions - 2012 Ford Explorer Long-Term Road Test

2012 Ford Explorer Long Term Road Test

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: First Impressions

September 23, 2011


I haven't been in a Ford Explorer in a long time so I was eager to try our new long-termer. My first impression is that it feels enormous. I've spend the last two days in our Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna minivans and the Explorer feels huge by comparison.

For reference, here are their dimensions. They are not that dissimilar:

  Ford Explorer   Honda Odyssey   Toyota Sienna
Width 78.9" 79.2" 78.1"
Height 70.4" 68.4" 68.7"
Length 197.1" 202.9" 200.2"
Wheelbase 112.6" 118.1" 119.3"
Curb weight   4,557 lbs. 4,541 lbs. 4,460 lbs.

You can view the full comparison chart on

While I felt comfortable sitting in the minivans, driving them on narrow roads and parking them, I conversely felt like I was taking up the whole lane of the freeway in the Explorer. Inside I was dwarfed by the cabin. The belt line is very high no matter how I adjusted my seat. And the large amount of space between my left arm and the door seemed like a waste. It's nice to have shoulder room but it feels overly wide.

I'll be driving it all weekend, so I'll let you know if I get used to this design right away or continue to feel like a shrimp driving an aircraft carrier.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 1,538 miles

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (2)
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term (714)

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