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1997 Ford Explorer Sport 2dr SUV 4WD
I've had this vehicle for 11 years, bought it brand new and I haven't had any major problems with it. It still looks and runs great. It's a timeless design, I believe. It never looks out of style. But the gas mileage is horrible, but what do you expect, it's a 4WD SUV. I have had a lot of fun and I'm not ashamed to drive it even after 11 years. It still looks brand new, especially after it's washed and waxed. I'll be sad to let it go because it's been the best car I ever owned.
The body design. It doesn't look like an older car.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT 4dr SUV
Generally a good vehicle. I would improve the speakers (start failing after 6 yrs), the dash lights go out, and the console material cracks. The car is good for utility use and handles bad weather nicely. Feels like the mileage could be better given the engine size. Program for fuel injection may not be optimized. I get better mileage running the AC than without.
Great for getting a start in heavy snow or mud. The 4WD really makes a difference.
Blender door for AC/Heat fails early in the life of the vehicle. Expensive to replace the part because of location inside dash. Transfer case failed at 100,000. I would like to be able to turn off the 4WD. In snow if you accelerate around a curve it will occasionally kick on causing a fishtail!
1997 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV AWD
I'm amazed at other reviewers complaining because they bought a used vehicle and it had maintenance problems. If the hood won't stay up, replace the supports for $20. After a decade or so they might have worn out. Overall, other than the radio, this is a well designed vehicle which when properly maintained will last and last. The V6 has almost as much horsepower as the V8, but gets almost the same milage as well, so you might as well get the V8 and its increased towing capability. Mileage will depend on how you drive it, I'm getting 20 MPG combined, and I know of one man who's getting 30 MPG (mostly highway).
Auto lights, self dimming mirror, great seats. Plenty of power and decent mileage.
Crappy radio design makes it difficult to use an aftermarket radio. Lousy parts in the HVAC system which break and cost a fortune (over $1000) to replace at a dealer (doing it yourself cost about $20). If they'd used better parts instead of cheap nylon gears they'd never wear out.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT 4dr SUV 4WD
Bought used from caring owners at 72K. Now 108K. No major problems. Average mileage for 90's SUV (12/17, driving it easy). Rough ride on bumps, but has smooth acceleration/power. Repairs - had to replace hood support struts and the AC condenser. Finish has faded on plastic trim all over (front grill and especially on rear pillars on either side of rear glass). The seat incline lever on driver's side is positioned poorly and broke after being bent numerous times during normal entering and exiting. Rear passenger power window quits working occasionally, then begins working again. Good sound system. No water leaks, no wind noise. 4 WD OK, but binds when turning hard.
Reliability. It never left me stranded - more than I can say for my other vehicles (Infiniti, Toyota, Dodge). If I have to go out on a freezing morning and try something, I'd bet on the Ford. Sound system. Heater. Temp/Compass. Though rough, it has good "road attitude" (handles well in traffic).
Trim finish (especially plastic), overall gas mileage, suspension. Electrical.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT 4dr SUV AWD
This has been a practical, fun, and very reliable vehicle, with only minimal unscheduled maintenance. Needed a brake job and tie-ins replaced at 90,000 miles, but what do you expect? The ride is not great, but it's a real SUV that you can drive over fields and rough paths.
Large and completely flat rear cargo area, excellent for car camping (it's more than 6 feet long and about 4 feet wide) or hauling a lot of stuff.
A quieter transmission.