2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Junior, Senior
May 17, 2012
It's been so long since I cared that I forgot the Explorer once offered the two-door Sport model. If I ever truly knew, that is. I think I did, because it crossed my mind before I bought my two-door Cherokee 11 years ago (a two-door SUV made sense way before offspring and domesticity).
This was a serendipitous parking opportunity a few days ago here in Santa Monica. The naked-eye size comparison isn't all that fair. The red Sport is about 180 inches long, and an XLT model of similar vintage was about 10 inches longer. Our 2012 long-termer stretches out to 197 inches.
The wheelbase difference between the Sport and new Explorer is similar, about 11 inches. The difference between XLT model and new Explorer, however? One inch.
But the bigness we're always yapping about in the Explorer? No doubt some of it comes from growing about nine inches around the waist. The current Explorer is nearly 79 inches wide, while an older XLT is a hair more than 70 inches.
And the new Explorer feels big because it is big. Like steady corn syrup diet big. Or evolving crash safety standards big. Or Mom just wants a large metal box around her big. The Sport in this photo probably weighs around 3,700 pounds. An XLT, about 200 pounds more. Our long-term Explorer: 4,458.
The lesson? Avoid two-door SUV if kids are in your future.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor