I've owned my 2003 Explorer XLT for 11 years now, and have had no problems whatsoever. Although "Old Faithful" is now a "second car" (I bought a 2014 Escape SE for my 100 mile commute to work), it still tows boats, hauls canoes, transports the dogs, and is our favorite vehicle for camping trips. I've never had any trouble with this SUV, and plan to drive it 'til it drops - maybe in another 300,000 miles or so!
This has been a very reliable vehicle for my family. It is my daily runner back-and-forth to work (22 miles each way), as well as our long distance driver (frequent trips out-of-state). With almost 200K miles, I thought maybe I'd start having problems, but so far I've had to put very little into it. I bought it at 100K miles and since then have had issues with electronic things like the security alarm would go off when the doors were locked and after trips to local dealerships with no answers, out local repair guy disconnected two sensors in the doors. The lights don't come on now when you open those doors, but it also fixed the issue with the alarm going off for no reason. Other fixes have included a new starter just a few miles ago, but mostly I've only ever had wear and tear things need replaced like brakes and rotors. I have a third row seat that isn't used often, but when we do haul other family and friends with us, I love that extra seating. The storage is fantastic and the front seats have plenty of leg room. The back seat isn't as roomy as my daughter would prefer, but she travels well back there. I average 16-18 miles per gallon between high way and city driving. I am struggling with how long to keep this great vehicle. I paid $7500 for it in 2009 and the KBB value is currently $3600. It has very little rust (although a problem of this year Explorer is the back hatch cracking under the glass). It did have one crack when I bought it and now it has two. I really do love this trust worthy vehicle!
I bought my Explorer from the same dealership that sold it to the original owner, and that owner had followed the service schedule to the letter (as shown in the Carfax report). It had 101,000 miles on it when I bought it in 2013, it's got 118,000 miles now. I don't much like trucks, being a sports car kind of driver, but I really like the Explorer (which btw handles WAY better than you'd expect, due no doubt to the IRS. I have emulated the first owner's habit of maintaining the snot out of it: new brakes/rotors, transmission flush and fill, cooling system the same (differentials and transfer case next). I am quite happy with my Explorer.
Chose this Explorer over Toyota 4 runner at the time.... The wider stance and the look of Explorer won over Toyota's reliability and much better interior material. Bought mine in April 2005 with 33K miles. Currently it has 108K miles. I like its size and its handling no matter what weather throws at it. Never had any engine or transmission problems. Had the dealer do fuel filter, transmission service and transfer case /rear axle fluid changes. Have done belt, oil/filter, coolant, brake pads/rotors myself. With 55K miles on second set of tires, they look great and alignment holds well.
Problem areas... Leather is super cheap. It folded, creased and aged very quickly on driver side seat. The seat frames anchored to floor had no coating and are rusted. When you open the back doors you can see the rust on frames for front and back seats. No real heat directed to foot well. Some cold air is leaking in the front behind glove compartment. The recirc flap closes but there is still cold air coming in. The heater air blender actuator assembly broke last winter. Figured how to change the air to hot for winter so I was fine. Bought the piece and replaced myself. It was simple to do. Noticed snapped rear coil spring on both sides ( one two inches from bottom and the other one about in the middle of the coil) when replacing rear rotors. The coil spring is part of rear shock assembly. Monroe brand cost about $100 each. Rear axle has the famous whine that affects all these Explorers. Paid to have it fixed and it is back again. Planning on selling this Explorer and my 2003 Ford Ranger and buy an Extended cab 2006 Toyota Tacoma. This Explore is 12 years old and I still like its look and its shape as much as I did 10 years ago when I bought it. Sold this Explore and my 1993 Ranger in Nov 1016 and replaced both with a short bed crew cab 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD sport V-6 4x4. Tacoma is quiet, well built, and has an excellent feel. Its heater is superior to my old Explorer!!!
I absolutely love my explorer had it for 2 years and no major problems bought it when it had 75000 miles on it and it now has 115000 miles. One thing I learned is its not the vehicle it's the driver that makes stupid mistakes.
Just cause its an suv doesn't mean it's meant for off road use. I also disagree with the gas mileage I have the 4.6 v8 and it gets 17.2 in the city and 24 on the highway absolutely love the fact that when I fill it u p it says 387 miles to empty and it only costs about 65 to fill it up. Absolutely love it!!!