2013 Ford Explorer SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2013 Ford Explorer SUV

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Ford Explorer Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 290 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2013 Ford Explorer

  • With solid on-road dynamics, decent fuel efficiency and an accommodating, high-class cabin, the 2013 Ford Explorer is a top pick for a large crossover SUV.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Upscale cabin; abundant high-tech features; excellent ride/handling balance; excellent crash test safety scores; available fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder.

  • Cons

    Less third-row and cargo room than some rivals; feels bigger than it is behind the wheel; MyFord Touch is slow to respond and can be difficult to use.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Ford Explorer receives a new performance-oriented Sport trim level that features a turbocharged engine and sport-tuned suspension. All Explorers this year have a new front passenger knee airbag, while a heated steering wheel, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist are offered for the Limited trim level. The available xenon headlights now feature automatic high-beam control.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (5 total reviews)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Really like my explorer

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Vehicle: 2013 Ford Explorer XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

The only issue I have is the Third row you can only on get in on the drivers side. Not much room back there. Wish I had mode lighting on this one. Gas is not as good as my Edge but I knew this before I got it.



4 of 12 people found this review helpful

Rent first

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Vehicle: 2013 Ford Explorer XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I wish I had rented this car for a while before I purchased it. I was looking for a car that had capacity similar to a minivan without being one. For storage, it is better than most SUV's. On the down side, the visiblity from all perspectives is poor due to the design of the small windows. This is just dangerous. The hood of the car also sits high and is more difficult to see over compared to other, even larger, SUV's. And I don't what they were thinking when it came to the drink holders. They are few in # and quite nonfunctional, ie, no mug handles and too deep so you can't pick up your drink. The rear holders are at your feet. Yuk. They forgot comfort, convenience and even safety.



4 of 25 people found this review helpful

Not a good car for

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Vehicle: 2013 Ford Explorer XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Ford Xlt v6 with leather and bench seat. Wife bought car while pregnant but before we had car seats. We had twins, so two car seats britax. With car seats install driver and passenger knees are against the dash. I am 6 ft, wife is 5 ft 10 in. Traded with mother-in-law for her 2013 gmc Acadia. Nice exterior lots of good comments Interior looks nice Sync system voice recognition is slow (as compared to my Hyundai genesis coupe) Leg room is poor with car seats Drive is more responsive a better than the Acadia



9 of 30 people found this review helpful

First day and issues

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Vehicle: 2013 Ford Explorer XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

We traded in our 09 Odyssey that was starting to have Tranny issues at 31,000 miles. Honda stone walled us so we went looking. Almost got the Highlander limited but tested the Explorer, liked it more, and got a good deal. About an hour after getting home I couldn't get the Navigation the Salesman said was on the vehicle to load up (like on a different explorer we test drove to get the feel, got a different color one). I called the dealer and they said I didn't have the voice touch screen Navi, just the Sync one. P'Od is all I have to say, Sync is horrible and my now "deal" looked normal to overpriced.There is also a high pitched chirp/whistle from the engine 3.5 V6 Returning it tomorrow!!!



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Winner hands down

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Ford Explorer XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Was in the Market for an affordable Mid-Size SUV, the Nissan Maxima was getting a little to small for our family. Looked at Honda Pilots first, was not impressed with service but interested in the Pilot. Went to Ford, just for kicks. Very surprised at how nice the explorer was when test driving. VERY COMFORTABLE!! Told the sales man that we were still going to go back to Honda and see what kind of deal we could get. He encouraged us to take the Explorer home for a night, then take it to Honda the next day. In his words, " If you drive this car a night you will like it way more than the Pilot." He was right. Handles great, Features are Awesome, Just enough room for us! Great Buy So Far!



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 17
  • cty
/
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2013 Ford Explorer Review

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Ford Explorer receives a new performance-oriented Sport trim level that features a turbocharged engine and sport-tuned suspension. All Explorers this year have a new front passenger knee airbag, while a heated steering wheel, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist are offered for the Limited trim level. The available xenon headlights now feature automatic high-beam control.

Introduction

One could argue that the Ford Explorer started America's love affair with the SUV, and as times have changed, so has the Explorer. Thanks to a full redesign two years ago, the 2013 Ford Explorer is the most efficient and upscale Explorer yet. It's also become one of the most technologically advanced large crossover SUVs available, with dynamic qualities and a hushed cabin that would rival those of many luxury-brand models.

In the last redesign, Ford changed the Explorer's underlying architecture, going from the previous truck-based chassis to a unibody design for more usable interior space. This design brings with it a weight reduction, which results in better fuel efficiency and handling. Inside the cabin, the Explorer offers a stylish, well-finished space for up to seven passengers. There are a lot of advanced features, too, including the voice-activated Sync system, the touchscreen-based MyFord Touch and many safety features, including second-row seatbelt airbags, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and, for 2013, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist.

For power, the Explorer comes standard with a 290-horsepower V6. It's what most buyers go with, but Ford also offers a turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine as an option. Oddly, you have to pay more to get the four-cylinder, but it gives the Explorer best-in-class fuel economy and pays for itself in a few years thanks to reduced gas bills. Also, the Explorer's available Terrain Management, a selectable four-mode all-wheel-drive system, takes some of the guesswork out of properly operating a four-wheel-drive system.

If neither of the above engines suits you, there's also the turbocharged V6 that comes with the new Sport trim level this year. It's the same turbo 3.5-liter V6 Ford uses in the Flex and generates an estimated 365 hp. The Sport also comes with firmer suspension tuning, revised steering for a claimed improvement in road feel, different 20-inch wheels and special interior and exterior trim details.

While there's a lot to like about the 2013 Ford Explorer, we do have some reservations. The third-row seat, for instance, isn't as roomy as that of some competitors. And while the available MyFord Touch interface is a neat idea in theory, we've found it slow to respond and difficult to use. That leaves the door open for some other top choices, including the roomier Chevrolet Traverse, the more powerful Dodge Durango and the sportier Mazda CX-9. They're all quite desirable, but if upscale features and a high-quality interior are priorities for you, the Explorer is a great choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Ford Explorer is a large crossover SUV available in base, XLT, Limited and Sport trim levels.

Standard equipment includes a V6 engine, 17-inch steel wheels, privacy glass, integrated blind spot mirrors, roof rails, cruise control, air-conditioning, a six-way power driver seat (manual recline), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The XLT adds 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, foglamps, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a keyless entry code pad, Sync (Ford's voice-activated telephone/entertainment interface), satellite radio and a USB port.

With the XLT trim, Ford offers the Equipment Group 201A package that adds a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker sound system and the Driver Connect package, which includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror, MyFord Touch electronics controls (includes three configurable displays, two USB ports, SD card reader and audio/video input jacks) and upgraded Sync functionality. The 202A package includes all of the former plus leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat with power-adjustable lumbar, and a six-way power passenger seat.

The Limited bundles the XLT's items with 20-inch wheels, keyless ignition/entry, remote engine start, power-adjustable pedals with memory, a 110-volt power outlet and a 12-speaker Sony sound system with HD radio. Optional for the Limited is the 301A package that includes a power liftgate, a power-folding operation for the third-row seat, an eight-way power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a heated and power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a navigation system. To this the 302A package adds xenon headlamps, automatic high beams, an automatic parallel-parking system, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support, lane-departure and lane-keeping assist, a blind-spot warning system and inflatable seatbelts for second-row outboard passengers.

The new Explorer Sport is equipped similarly to the Limited, although it lacks the leather upholstery, 110-volt outlet, keyless ignition/entry, remote engine start and power-adjustable pedals. It does come with different 20-inch wheels, sport front seats and unique interior and exterior trim details. The Sport's 402A package adds the power liftgate, navigation system, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, inflatable seatbelts, power-adjustable steering wheel and pedals, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, driver seat memory, power front passenger seat and 110-volt outlet. The navigation system is optional, as is adaptive cruise control.

Some of the features in the XLT and Limited's optional packages can be added as individual options. Other stand-alone options include a dual-panel sunroof, second-row captain's chairs and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual headrest-mounted displays.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 Ford Explorer comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 hp and 255 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. Four-wheel drive (there is no low-range gearing) is optional and includes Ford's Terrain Management System, a selectable four-mode system that optimizes traction electronically for different conditions. Hill descent control and hill start assist are also included.

In Edmunds testing, a 4WD Explorer with the base V6 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, an average time for the class. A front-drive V6 Explorer returns an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined -- also average for the class. Four-wheel drive lowers this to a still respectable 17/23/19. Properly equipped, a V6 Explorer (base or turbocharged) can tow 5,000 pounds.

The Explorer Sport comes with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine as well as four-wheel drive. It's rated at 365 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

Optional on all front-wheel-drive trims is the turbocharged 2.0-liter "EcoBoost" four-cylinder engine -- also paired with the six-speed auto -- making 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, an EcoBoost Explorer went from zero to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds, which is on the slow side for the class. Fuel economy, however, is best-in-class at 20/28/23.

Safety

Every 2013 Ford Explorer comes standard with stability and traction control, trailer sway control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a front passenger knee airbag and MyKey, which allows parents to specify limits for vehicle speed and stereo volume. The Explorer's stability control system also includes Ford's Curve Control, which can monitor speed carried into a corner and decelerate if necessary.

Optional on the XLT and above are a blind-spot warning system (includes cross-traffic alert) and inflatable seatbelts for outboard second-row passengers. The Limited and Sport can be equipped with collision warning and brake support and lane-departure warning/keeping. In Edmunds brake testing, a 4WD Explorer Limited came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet -- an average distance for the class. The EcoBoost model stopped in 130 feet.

In government crash tests, the 2013 Explorer received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with five stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Explorer earned a top rating of "Good" for its performance in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Explorer's impressive cabin features excellent build/materials quality within an attractive, upscale design. The dash feels soft to the touch, the switchgear operates with precision (or is touch-operated with the optional MyFord Touch) and the overall look is quite rich. A loaded Explorer is actually just as nice as any Lincoln.

Much of that upscale look comes from the MyFord Touch interface, which adds a high-resolution display screen (plus two additional screens for the gauge cluster) and touch-sensitive audio and climate "buttons." It's a neat interface in theory, particularly when you utilize the complementary Sync voice-activation system. But in practice, we've found that the buttons are difficult to identify at a glance, and too often get pressed accidentally or fail to respond properly, even taking into account Ford's latest software update.

The Explorer's cabin is certainly spacious, but still not quite as roomy as those of the Dodge Durango, Ford Flex and especially the GM triplets (Acadia, Enclave, Traverse). Its 80 cubic feet of maximum cargo space is the smallest of the group and the third row is a bit cramped by comparison, though it does easily accommodate children. The driving position is spot-on for most drivers, though the wide roof pillars and high dash make it seem bigger when trying to fit through tight spaces.

Driving Impressions

The 2013 Ford Explorer feels rock-solid at freeway speeds, well-damped over broken pavement and very confident when negotiating a corner. The responsive steering demonstrates Ford's skill at tuning an electric power steering system (a setup that improves fuel economy and accommodates the automatic-parking feature).

While this Ford doesn't offer a V8 option, the base V6 is quick enough and can handle the job for most recreational pursuits. We've yet to test an Explorer with the turbocharged V6, but based on our experiences with the similarly turbocharged Flex, expect swift acceleration and greater passing abilities when towing.

Don't be quick to dismiss the idea of a turbo-4 powering this none-too-small SUV. It may not be as quick as the V6, but in practice, the EcoBoost engine provides smooth response, more than adequate acceleration for daily use and, of course, better fuel mileage than you'd get with the V6.

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