Used 2003 Ford Explorer
- Independent rear suspension, comfortable seating for up to seven, strong powertrains, foolproof Control Trac 4WD, available rollover protection system, optional stability control system, DVD-based entertainment system.
- Low-grade interior materials, quirky ergonomics.
Used 2003 Ford Explorer for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Ford's Explorer is one of the best midsize SUVs on the market, made even better for 2003 with the addition of a DVD-based entertainment system and a dedicated Off-Road Package.
The Explorer debuted in 1990 as a 1991 model, and achieved instant success in a market that it ultimately defined, if not created. At the time, the trend toward functional, compact, four-door SUVs was in full swing: Jeep Cherokee was first to offer this kind of vehicle in 1984, but Ford, GM, Nissan and Toyota all followed suit at this time. Based on the Ford Ranger pickup, the original Explorer had the winning combination of size, style and utility that people wanted in an SUV. It came as the volume-selling four-door or a less popular two-door, and replaced the Bronco II in Ford's lineup. Initially, just XLS and XLT trim levels were available. In 1992, an Eddie Bauer edition joined the lineup, and a Limited model followed shortly thereafter. Explorer's first major revision occurred in 1995, when it received a new front suspension, revised styling and a new interior. This iteration soldiered on through 2001 with few changes, but by then accusations that the Explorer suffered a high incidence of tire failures and subsequent rollover accidents had tarnished the brand. Ford blamed tire supplier Firestone for equipping the Explorer with flawed Wilderness AT tires, and initiated a massive recall to replace the original equipment rubber. Firestone blamed the Explorer's design and Ford's recommendation that the tires be inflated to a relatively low 26 psi. Neither company publicly pointed fingers at consumers indifferent to the dangers of overloading vehicles, expecting a truck to handle like a car, failing to monitor tire pressures or dismissing the importance of seatbelts as possible contributors to blowouts and deaths. For 2002, just as the Explorer rollover debacle was winding down, Ford debuted the completely redesigned Explorer. A substantial improvement over the original, the new truck had a wider track, longer wheelbase, independent rear suspension and seating for up to seven adults. It should have been a runaway success, but the Ford-Firestone media fight kept buyers away from showrooms and forced Ford to offer cash rebates and low-interest financing to keep sales afloat. Notably, the two-door model, the Explorer Sport, and a four-door pickup version, the Explorer Sport Trac, are based on the aged first-generation platform. The new Explorer platform is used by the four-door model only. The 2003 Ford Explorer is little different from the 2002. Minor trim revisions have been made to the core model lineup: XLS, XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited. Sport versions of the XLS and XL debut, and a new NBX model is introduced with special trim and equipment designed to appeal to active outdoorsy types.
2003 Ford Explorer configurations
The 2003 Ford Explorer is available only as a four-door model in XLS, XLS Sport, XLT, XLT Sport, NBX, Eddie Bauer and Limited trims. The XLS comes standard with an automatic transmission and a CD player for 2003. The XLS Sport includes alloy wheels, side step bars, wheel lip moldings, an upgraded center console and floor mats. XLT models get a chrome grille and metallic interior accents, while XLT Sport adds special platinum gloss exterior trim and 17-inch machine-finished alloy wheels. The new NBX model includes special exterior trim, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, a Yakima roof rack, rubber floor mats and a cargo area liner. Eddie Bauer also receives 17-inch wheels this year, while Limiteds are upgraded with chromed exterior trim, chrome wheels, a leather-upholstered center console cover and new wood grain interior trim. Major options on the Explorer include a six-disc 290-watt sound system, rear-seat climate control, a power moonroof and a rear-seat DVD-based entertainment system. There are also a number of safety-related options available.
Performance & mpg
Standard on all Explorers is an SOHC V6 engine making 210 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. Optional on all models except the XLS is a 4.6-liter V8 engine good for 239 horsepower and 282 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission and two-, four- or all-wheel drive is available with either engine. The rear wheels propel 2WD models, while 4WD models have Ford's Control Trac system, which automatically sends power to the front wheels when the rears slip. Properly equipped, an Explorer can tow a maximum of 7,300 pounds.
Four-wheel-disc ABS is standard. The Explorer can also be outfitted with a Safety Canopy system of airbags that includes a rollover sensor. Power adjustable pedals are optional on XLT, while a reverse sensing system can be added to all but XLS. Advance Trac stability control is optional on all trims except XLS, but is not available on AWD models. A tire-pressure monitoring system is optional on the Limited. In government crash testing, the 2003 Ford Explorer received a four-star protection rating for the driver and a five-star rating for the front passenger. Side-impact testing has not been conducted, but the NHTSA gave the Explorer three-star rollover rating, good for an SUV. In offset crash testing, the IIHS gave the Explorer a "Good" rating and called it a "Best Pick" in the SUV class.
Any Explorer is a joy to drive, as far as SUVs go. Taking much of the credit for this praise is the rear independent suspension, which provides a smooth ride and nicely planted wheels on rough pavement. Power from either the V6 or V8 engine is acceptable. Though a true all-wheel-drive system is newly available for 2003, we see little need for it; the Control Trac 4WD system works transparently to distribute power to all four wheels as conditions warrant. The Explorer is also comfortable, with space for up to seven passengers.
Depending on the model you choose, the interior trim of the Explorer can range from bland to close-to-plush. All the controls are neatly arranged, and the gauges are clear and readable, but it's function over form. It's feasible to carry two adults in the third-row seats, but choosing the third-row option also reduces available cargo space. Seven-passenger Explorers max out at 81.3 cubic feet of cargo space, while five-passenger versions offer a more competitive 88 cubic feet. The folded seat also makes for a slightly sloped load floor, so if you value cargo-carrying capacity over people-moving ability, stick with the five-passenger version.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Used 2003 Ford Explorer Overview
The Used 2003 Ford Explorer is offered in the following submodels: Explorer SUV. Available styles include XLS 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLS Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT Rwd 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLT 4WD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLT 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT Sport 4WD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLT Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT AWD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLS AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT Sport 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT Sport AWD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLT Sport Rwd 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLS Sport 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT Sport Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT Sport AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer AWD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLS Sport Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer 4WD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLS Sport AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), NBX 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4WD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), Limited AWD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), NBX 4WD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer Rwd 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), Limited Rwd 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), NBX Rwd 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), NBX Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and Limited Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A).
What's a good price on a Used 2003 Ford Explorer?
Price comparisons for Used 2003 Ford Explorer trim styles:
- The Used 2003 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer is priced between $6,995 and$6,995 with odometer readings between 90058 and90058 miles.
- The Used 2003 Ford Explorer XLT is priced between $6,988 and$6,988 with odometer readings between 123135 and123135 miles.
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Which used 2003 Ford Explorers are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2003 Ford Explorer for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2003 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,988 and mileage as low as 90058 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2003 Ford Explorer.
Can't find a used 2003 Ford Explorers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used Ford Explorer for sale - 3 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $7,978.
Find a used Ford for sale - 1 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $21,700.
Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Explorer for sale - 8 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $22,088.
Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 1 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $17,169.
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Should I lease or buy a 2003 Ford Explorer?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.