Used 2000 Ford Explorer Review

In spite of its ubiquity, the dated 2000 Ford Explorer can't compete with the other excellent midsize SUVs available.




what's new

For the 2000 Ford Explorer, a color-keyed, two-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel (with auxiliary audio, climate and speed control) is now standard on Eddie Bauer models. XLT Sport/Eddie Bauer/Limited models with 5.0-liter V8s receive a trailer-towing package as standard equipment. The XL is available only for fleet sales, and the XLS replaces the XL Appearance as the base retail model.

vehicle overview

Since its introduction in 1990 as a 1991 model, the Ford Explorer has resided at the top of the sport-utility sales heap. This is totally understandable, as the Explorer combines style, comfort and room in a go-anywhere package. The modern-day Country Squire, some have called it, after the segment-leading station wagon of the 1960s. In 1999, Ford sold 428,772 Explorers.

The Explorer's sales success, of course, has to do with America's big appetite for SUVs. But it's also a compliment to Ford, as the Explorer gets just about everything right. The interior instills a feeling of quality that is missing from the Chevrolet Blazer. An organically sweeping dashboard houses radio controls that can be operated without a magnifying glass. Materials in the Explorer look and feel rich. Rear-seat comfort surpasses Chevy, and entry/exit is easier than the Jeep Cherokee. Explorers offer more cargo capacity than most rivals do, and five passengers can ride with ease.

The Explorer's standard 4.0-liter V6 is the smallest engine found in a domestic sport-ute. Acceleration is fine from a standstill, but step on the gas at 50 mph and not much happens. That's not good news when there's a need to pass or merge. To compensate, Ford also offers an OHV 5.0-liter V8 engine that used to power the Mustang GT. While the acceleration with the 5.0-liter motor is improved over the base V6, it gives up a lot in fuel consumption. Fortunately, Ford introduced an optional SOHC V6 in 1997 that offers nearly as much power as the V8. In addition, this engine costs less and offers greater fuel efficiency. We recommend this powerplant over the other two motor choices due to its great power, decent fuel economy and affordable price.

Explorers retain a distinctly trucklike character, which could be a bonus or a demerit. They're tough and solid, though steering is a little slow and ponderous and the body leans through tight corners. Braking is excellent and the suspension has a compliant attitude, but Ford's Explorer can bounce around over rough pavement, making occupants regret the Denver omelet they had for breakfast.

Ford has a philosophy of building vehicles that everyone can be happy with. Sure, the Jeep Grand Cherokee feels sportier, and the Toyota 4Runner looks cooler, but the Explorer has just the right amount of class and ruggedness to make it America's best-selling off-roader. If you are thinking about buying a sport-ute, chances are you've already checked out the Explorer. If you haven't, do yourself a favor and find out why there are so many of these trucks on the road.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.