2012 Ford Explorer Long Term Road Test

Cargo Space


2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Easy Fit

August 17, 2012

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Needed to pick up some shelving for my garage, and the Ford Explorer was totally up for the challenge. And, it took the shelving without any need to fold down the second row of seats.

Turns out you can fit 48.5 inches of whatever behind the second row.

Handy.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 19,599 miles.

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: No Joke Liftgate Cylinder

August 09, 2012

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That's a burly hatch prop right there. This multi-stage gas shaft is about an inch/inch and a half in diameter, doubles as a good personal weapon, and will only set you back about $130 each to replace if it goes bad (like if you drop it and have to scrap assembly; see next photo), according to one online OEM parts warehouse. Keep a couple of broomsticks handy, and maybe a rope-and-pulley, though. That liftgate has to be heavier than Black Sabbath when those struts go limp.

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT Ecoboost: Customizing Your Liftgate Height

May 03, 2012

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See that? Our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost's liftgate has that option where you can program a desired height for it. Pretty cool if your parking space has a low ceiling or beam. And the new liftgate height will be saved even if the battery is disconnected.

Simple steps to follow (from the owner's manual).

To set the height of the open liftgate:
1. Open the liftgate.
2. Manually move the liftgate to the desired height.
3. Press and hold the control button on the liftgate until a chime is heard, indicating the new height has been programmed. Note: If the liftgate position is too low, the height cannot be programmed. The new open liftgate height will now be recalled when the power liftgate is opened. To change the programmed height, repeat the above procedure. Once the power liftgate is opened it can be manually moved to a different height.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Ford Explorer: Haz-Mat Run

April 23, 2012

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In honor of Earth Day, (and a pressing need for general garage cleanliness), we loaded up the Ford Explorer with empty paint and glue cans and made a run to our local household hazardous waste disposal center.

They take electronic waste, too, so that's my 46-inch flat screen standing upright in the cargo area. It recently took a shot to the screen, an accident I'm still mourning.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 14,062 miles

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Airport Shuttle

March 30, 2012

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There's an old joke that says it's best never to get to know your neighbors. If you do, sooner or later they will ask you to pick them up at the airport.

Sadly, I was heedless of caller id and so got shamed into agreeing to perform taxi duty. So I picked the Ford Explorer to be my airport shuttle, it being large and luggage-friendly. Of course, it drove pretty much like an airport bus, too.

You get new respect for shuttle bus drivers when you try to thread the Explorer through the stream of vehicles headed for the white zone at the curb. (“For immediate loading and unloading of passengers only; no parking.”)

Ford designers styled the Explorer to seem as large and trucklike as possible to the driver in order to disguise its Volvo-esque crossover heritage, so you can't see either the front quarters or rear quarters. Every minute, a smash with a giant passenger bus or hidden midget car from Korea always seems imminent.

And when I finally got to the curb, I thought my passengers were going to need some kind of portable jetway to make it across the gaping chasm between the Explorer and the sidewalk because I had misjudged the distance so badly.

Ah well, they won't be asking me for airport transportation again, I'll bet.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 11,589 miles

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2012 Ford Explorer: I Do Like It

March 29, 2012

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Our Explorer has taken its fair share of criticism since we acquired it back in September. But you know, I still like the thing. Maybe it's because, as a suburbia-living parent, the Explorer is pretty well suited to my lifestyle, and that greatly outweighs the negatives.

It's quiet on the freeway. It rides comfortably around town. The driver seat is comfortable. I like the storage well for holding grocery bags. If I want to haul more stuff, I can. It looks pretty cool in my driveway. I think the steering, which I find light but still direct, is well suited for urban duty. I like the cross-traffic alert safety feature. Oh, and fuel economy from the four-cylinder is pretty good as long as you don't boot the throttle all the time.

So, yeah, you know you're not in for 91-octane excitement with an Explorer. But I'm OK with that.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Ford Explorer: More Cookie Cargo

March 14, 2012

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Another week of hauling Girl Scout cookies. This time, it was the Ford Explorer's turn.

That's 26 cases in the Ford's rear cargo area with the second-row seats still in place.

Not bad, considering the boxes don't block rear visibility, either.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 11,217 miles

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT: Cargo Room to Spare

December 09, 2011

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When I talk to people who are considering a new SUV, one of their main reasons for getting such a vehicle is usually cargo capacity. As in, they want a lot of it. Not for any particular reason usually, it's just one of those things that's nice to have when the time comes.

On the surface, the Explorer has become less trucking looking on the outside which leads many to believe it's small on the inside. But as you can see the interior is huge, especially with the seats folded flat.

This shows how much room there is with the third row folded, it's 43.8 cubic feet to be exact. I can't think of many situations where I would need more space than that, and if I did there's always the second row seats that can be folded too. So much for the Explorer being "downsized".

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: The Tailgate Beep Video

November 04, 2011

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Every vehicle that has a remotely operated power door has a beep to accompany its closing. I prefer the Explorer's beep. Here's why...

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2012 Ford Explorer: Junk in the Trunk Made Easier

October 24, 2011

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You know what the worst part about a trunk is? That's right, low thread-count carpet. I know, chaps my ass too. But what's the second? Any time you put some groceries back there, all the bags just flop around, open up and inevitably become a pot pourri of various sundries. It's even worse in the big, flat cargo area of an SUV. Yet, like our beloved Ford Flex and minivans, our new Ford Explorer comes with an unintentional side effect.

When the third row is in place, it creates a perfect bin space for groceries to fit. When you use the standard cloth grocery bags, they are also very secure. It looks like you could fit about five back there. It's a good feature that whether by design or accident makes a difference.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: BFG Tire Hauler

October 21, 2011

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We had to move our 5 new massive BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires out of the office, so we loaded them up in our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost and hauled them down to the Edmunds Static Measurement/Photography studio. Here they will wait until the Jeep's new wheels arrive.

Maybe we should mount them on our Explorer instead. The 18s on our Explorer look small due to the tall vehicle profile (pic on the jump.)

BTW, those suckers are heavy!

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 3,290 miles

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: The Well

October 17, 2011

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Like all 2011 and later Ford Explorers, our 2012 Explorer XLT is made up of a welded steel unibody instead of a seperate body perched atop a ladder frame.

There are disadvantages to this -- reduced ultimate towing capacity and diminished off-road performance to name but two. (The sidewinder front-drive architecture isn't helping much either.) But there are many advantages, too.

Because the body IS the frame, the center of gravity sits far lower, which improves rollover stability as well as everyday handling. Liftover and step-in heights are improved. Ride comfort gets better. And the whole enchilada weighs less, too, which improves the prospect of fuel economy.

And you can have The Well, a feature popularized in minivans. The Well is the receptable into which the 3rd-row seats flip and tumble when not in use, leaving a flat floor behind (make that above.)

Keep the 3rd-row seats in place (with the seatbacks up or down, your choice) and the empty The Well represents a most excellent place for stuff that you want to confine and keep from rolling around, such as bags of groceries or, in this case, assorted tools and a floor jack. I carted all of that and more around in the Explorer's The Well throughout the weekend.

All in all, the reinvented Explorer's change from body-on-frame to unibody is a net gain for most people. Turns out there was always more station wagoning going on than exploring. Either way, The Well is a welcome addition.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,050 miles

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Why Not the Flex?

September 28, 2011

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When I was driving the Explorer over the weekend, I kept thinking why not just buy the Flex?

The Flex is considered a wagon, but we all know that it is much taller and more spacious. Now that the Explorer is more of a crossover than an SUV, it is not as tall as it used to be. So why is Ford producing both vehicles?

Here are some specs for comparison:

2012 Ford Flex 2012 Ford Explorer
Front head room 41.8 in. 41.4 in.
Front hip room 55.5 in. 57.3 in.
Front leg room 40.8 in. 40.6 in.
Front shoulder room 58.4 in. 61.3 in.
Rear hip Room 55.0 in. 56.7 in.
Rear head room 40.5 in. 40.5 in.
Rear leg room 44.3 in. 39.8 in.
Rear shoulder room 58.1 in. 61.0 in.
Width 75.9 in. 78.9 in.
Height 68.0 in. 70.4 in.
Length 201.8 in. 197.1 in.
Wheel base 117.9 in. 112.6 in.
Cargo capacity, all seats in place 20.0 cu.ft. 21.0 cu.ft.
Maximum cargo capacity 83.2 cu.ft. 80.7 cu.ft.
Maximum towing capacity 4,500 lbs. 5,000 lbs.
Curb weight 4,471 lbs. 4,557 lbs.

These seven-seaters seem to serve the same purpose. Which would you rather drive?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$130 per month*
* Explanation
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