I love the ford exlorer. Plenty of room and luxury ride. BUT! Their transmissions issues need to be resolved! I had a 1997 that I had to replace the transmission and my current 2000 has had its transmission replaced. If not for this very expensive repair issue this vehicle would be the Perfect mid sized suv. My 2000 has over 300,000 miles and is still on the road getting me where I need to go. It took me from the east coast to the west coast last year over 6000 miles and the ac went out. I love these suvs and am going to get my next one soon. I hope this time I will get the cherry without the pitfall of a lemon transmission. Roll of the dice I guess.
I bought this Explorer in 2008 with 88,000 miles on the 4.0 motor. I bought it from a friend so I know the service was regularly done. I had a full 90,000 mile service to include replacing the coolant, transfer boxes and transmission oil/filter, brake pads, etc. Cost over $1,200 but it was obviously well worth it. I now have 188,000 miles and other than oil changes/tire rotations I have replaced the battery and a fuel pump. That's it. The motor burns no oil, the AC works great, the 4WD and all the electronics still work great. The gas consumption leaves something to be desired but as this is my surf fishing and Lab riding vehicle I plan on keeping it a good while. I originally bought it because of the good price on it and to hold me over until I could afford a newer 4 Runner, of which I've had two. It has been such a good value I'm going to see just how far it will go. I'm personally very pleased with this vehicle.
I purchased this vehicle while hoping to find a good used 4Runner of the same vintage, but this one-owner SUV appeared with 166,000mi with a nearly new remanufactured engine (owner felt a new engine was better value than replacing both head gaskets, one of which was leaking) that looked exceptionally good, outside (not even a door ding) and with an interior that looked amazing, showing no real wear at all. A comparable 4Runner of the same mileage and year would have cost at least $2000 more than the $3300 I paid for this V8 AWD Limited that cost $41,000+ new (I have the window sticker). If I am careful I can get 18 city and 24 highway (Interstate) which I consider nothing short of outstanding for a V8 SUV. A former 6cyl Cherokee I once had only managed 16 city and 20 highway. The AWD with limited slip rear differential model does not have a 4WD Low transfer case, so I expected nothing off-road, but I easily followed a friend w/ a 4X4 4Runner through Arizona backcountry that looked impossible for an AWD, but the Explorer easily went up no drama and with zero wheel spin on any tire, whereas the 4Runner was skipping and intermittently slipping one tire or another. Even w/out a low range, it climbed with little throttle, and the temp gauge never moved. I don't plan going on expeditions with the vehicle, but I was amazed at how it did in conditions I thought it would fail at. Overall, given its high chassis mileage especially, it's tight and rattle-free and has been extremely reliable (I have the service records since new), and except for the head gasket problem, only the front shocks and upper ball joints were replaced (except for normal wear items like brake pads, wiper blades, etc.).
I bought this vehicle used and currently have 130,000 miles on it. It needs a little front end work right now, but nothing that isn't expected at the 130,000 mile mark. The Explorer handles great in winter weather and also does surprisingly well off road for an AWD vehicle. I am an offroad hobbyist and use this to tow both a Jeep and a camper at various times. There is plenty of room for me, my wife and our three kids. I am most impressed with the ride quality while towing. It tows my 3000 lb camper like there is nothing there. We do have a class III towing hitch which helps. The 5.0 motor is awesome! Love that engine. Overall I love this vehicle and have been very impressed with its durability and reliability. Take care of it and it will take care of you. Every vehicle requires maintenance with aging. Just do the maintenance and you will drive an Explorer for a long time.