2012 Ford Explorer Long Term Road Test

Miscellaneous


2012 Ford Explorer: Totally a Carmax Car

September 13, 2012

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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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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Nice Detail Work

August 18, 2012

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May not seem like a big deal, but I think it's cool that Ford took the time to put this "Explorer" detail into the side of the SUV's headlights. That's the kind of subtle touch that I could see owners getting a kick out of. Particularly the ones that get up close and personal with their vehicle, like when they wash it by hand.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 19,600 miles.

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2012 Ford Explorer: Can't Miss These Mirrors

July 24, 2012

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Will you look at all that stuff on the Explorer's mirror? And by that I mean stuff other than the actual mirror itself. The turn signal, the logo, the puddle lamp, the wind vanes. There's more technology in this our Explorer's mirror than my entire '75 F-250.

The only thing my truck's mirrors have on the Explorer is size. And actually, now that I think about it, that makes my truck's mirrors way better. At least if you want to see stuff. For everything else, the Explorer's are better.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2012 Ford Explorer Ecoboost: A Look Underneath

July 03, 2012

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We've been living with our long-term 2012 Ford Explorer Ecoboost since September. But just this morning photographer Scott Jacobs and I finally put it up on our 2-post Rotary Lift for a look at its dirty side.

More pictures after the jump.

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2012 Ford Explorer: Just Passed 15,000-Mile Mark

May 21, 2012

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I got into our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT 2.0 EcoBoost on Friday night and saw that its 15,000-mile birthday was imminent. I was determined to hit the milestone on the nose.

Alas, I was too busy soaking up the atmosphere of the eastbound East L.A. Interchange as the odometer clicked past 15000.0. There's no shoulder here, so I didn't even consider pulling over -- not that this would have been safe anyway. Instead, I nerdily took the first exit off the 60 (Lorena St./Whittier Blvd) and snapped this photo.

The Explorer is now well past the 15,001-mile mark, as I made a quick trip to San Diego over the weekend and spent a lot of time on the freeway after that. I specifically chose the Explorer for this mission, as I wanted something big, comfortable and forgiving -- and knew I wouldn't have any qualms parking it, what with its sensors and camera. It's just a big Taurus, right? It ended up being a satisfying choice. More thoughts from the trip tomorrow.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 15,001 miles

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2012 Ford Explorer: How Not To Haul a Couch

May 18, 2012

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For those of you who wondered. This old Ford Explorer I encountered during evening rush-hour demonstrates an alternative solution to hauling that sofa.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Junior, Senior

May 17, 2012

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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

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Auto-Off Blinker

May 10, 2012

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The turn signal in our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost turns off after one minute of continued use. I wouldn't know this if I hadn't been stopped at a left turn for over four minutes this morning and, as the last person in line, I wanted to keep my blinker on to avoid being rear ended by a bus. Every minute I had to switch it back on.

I tried it again at speed and sure enough, it turns off after a minute. Last week the SAE published results of a study that said turn signal neglect was responsible for twice as many accidents per year as distracted driving. Their solution was more attentive drivers. Kidding, kidding. Their solution was, of course, "smart turn signals" that turn off automatically after a period of time or give a warning should you forget to indicate. Looks like our Explorer already has half of that down.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: I'm Five

April 30, 2012

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'Nuff said.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 14,391.5 miles

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Spring Has Sprung

April 16, 2012

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This post is nowhere near as gripping as this one of Mike in the NSX, but one of our family's favorite places to visit closes from December to March every year. I'm happy to report it's open now. Avila Valley Barn is an active farm and produce stand that still offers hay rides, an impressive array of salt-water taffy, locally-made ice-cream, chocolates, honey, self-pick seasonal fruit & veggies, as well as showcasing a small collection of farm animals (a new set of calves and pigs arrived -- see below) that kids can feed, as and so on. It's really nice to get out of the house, away from civilization, slow down, and let L.A. kids be kids the way most kids used to be kids.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 13,277 smiles

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2012 Ford Explorer: Roof Art?

March 09, 2012

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I came across this house in my neighborhood, and thought it was so, uh, unique that I pulled over and jumped out of the Explorer to take a photo of it.

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2012 Ford Explorer Ecoboost: 10,000 Miles

February 14, 2012

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We purchased our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT Ecoboost on September 1st of last year. Last night it hit the 10,000 mile mark. So far the Explorer has defined bulletproof. No issues yet, short of a $25.00 tire repair.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: The Interceptor Utility

December 08, 2011

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I wish we got the Limited for the 20-inch wheels, because the 18's on our long-term 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost look downright puny on this tall-sided SUV.

But if they're going be 18's, I'd rather they be the heavy duty steel wheels on the Ford Interceptor Utility (website here). Actually, if I were to purchase my dream Explorer, I'd love to get the whole Interceptor Utility, without the cop lights and markings of course.

Unfortunately you can't get the Ecoboost V6 on the Utility (only available as an option on the Interceptor Sedan), so you'll have to make do with the 3.7L flex-fuel V6 that pumps out 300 hp and standard AWD.

The Utility is lowered, so it looks better, and has heavy-duty police brakes, suspension, alternator, and cooling, all to withstand the punishment that you'll give it.

But the real reason I want this is because it looks mean.

Apparently you can't get a Tahoe with the police package, but maybe if we all rally we can get Ford to offer this to the public.

What do you think? Do you like it? (Hit the jump to the the Ford Interceptor Utility in action.)

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ ~6,300 miles

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2012 Ford Explorer EcoBoost: Pot o' Gold

November 28, 2011

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There is no real point to this post and I didn't even have a decent camera with me at the time, but while our 2012 Explorer was helping out on the 2012 Porsche 911 S full test photo shoot, I saw the best rainbow ever. (And then in the pictures I noticed it was a double rainbow...what does it mean?) Seriously, it was huge -- far larger than I could get in one shot -- and so bright that it looked fake.

The all-damned-day rain storm revealed a few fun things about our Explorer, but that's for later. For now, rainbows!

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2012 Ford Explorer: 5,000 Miles

November 21, 2011

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We've cleared 5K with our Explorer. Overall, I really like this crossover. It drives pretty well even with the four-cylinder, it's comfortable, and it holds lots of stuff if you need it to. And for me personally, MyFord Touch wasn't really a problem once I spent some time with it.

I'd still get a Flex, though. I like its styling more.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Ford Explorer: Safer Than Our Mustang For Side Impacts

November 17, 2011

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"Well, duh!" you're probably thinking to yourself. Still, I found it interesting to watch the videos for the Mustang in my earlier post and then watch how passengers in the new Explorer fared. The Explorer seems almost cozy inside in comparison. NHTSA video follows after the jump.

2012 Ford Explorer NHTSA Side-Impact Test

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2012 Ford Explorer: Natural Habitat

November 11, 2011

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We've got a Explorer. If you went by Ford's collection of photos on its consumer website, we should rocking snow, dirt, rocks and rain on a nearly continual basis. Alas, I have photos of where our two-wheel-drive Explorer is more commonly found.

I felt like our Explorer was a traveling garden gnome for these pictures.

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Boomer Bust

November 11, 2011

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An excellent Web site for baby boomers, Second Act, had a blog item this week on the cars that people 45 and over are buying, based on 2011 sales data that was sliced, diced and analyzed by Edmunds.

There are lots of interesting insights in article, but one thing that struck me was a discussion of the vehicles that are least appealing to adults 45 and older. Three of the four cars mentioned are in our long-term fleet: The Ford Explorer, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. The one we're missing is the Nissan Pathfinder, by the way.

The Odyssey and Sienna didn't surprise me. I'd flee a minivan as soon as my kid-hauling duties were done, too.

I would have expected the Explorer to have a little more lasting appeal for empty-nesters, since it doesn't scream "Hi, I'm on car-pool duty today" the way a minivan does. But apparently, it has had the biggest year-over-year decline in the percentage of sales to boomers. Maybe it's just too much car for people, once the kids are out of the house.

If you're a boomer with grown kids, did you switch cars when the last of the brood moved out? What was your empty-nest buy?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: Tonka Truck

October 04, 2011

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Tonka Truck.

That's what you get when you send a designer into the studio to make a truck before he's really figured out what a truck is. You get a kid's perspective on truck architecture, every aspect and proportion overstated to be as oversize and clumsy as possible.

Pretty much like something that you push around the sand pile in the backyard when you are four years old.

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2012 Ford Explorer EcoBoost: LEGOLAND Edition

September 27, 2011

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To promote the new Ford Driving School at LEGOLAND Florida, Ford and Lego have come together to make this: A full-size Ford Explorer made of 380,000 LEGO bricks. The project took 22 designers 2,500 hours and weighs in at 2,654 pounds. That weight includes the 768-pound aluminum interior base.

LEGOLAND Florida opens October 15 and will feature two Ford-based driving schools: The Ford Junior Driving School for 3-5 year olds and the Ford Driving School for those aged 6-12. The "school" involves a video with driving instruction -- like which pedal does what (something some adults could re-learn) -- followed by seat time in some 3 mph electric cars on a heavily curbed track. I would have loved that at 6.

Check out the rear shot and a time-lapse video of the project after the jump.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com

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2012 Ford Explorer XLT Ecoboost: My First Weekend

September 16, 2011

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This photo is from a full test I wrote last December on the then new 2011 Ford Explorer. The tester was a fully loaded Limited model with 4WD. And of course the V6 engine.

I liked the SUV very much, only complaining about some interior interface issue and its steep price tag.

I have not driven an Explorer since. But this weekend I'll be driving our very new 2012 Ford Explorer XLT Ecoboost.

I'll let you know how it goes on Monday.

Anything in particular you'd like to know?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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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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