2004 Ford Explorer Review

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent ride and handling characteristics for a truck-based SUV, strong optional V8, comfortable cabin with user-friendly layout and seating for up to seven, good crash test scores.
  • Dull cabin design with some low-grade materials, low resale value, confusing controls on highline models, lousy fuel economy.
List Price Range
$2,988 - $6,500

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A functional interior, ample passenger space, strong powertrain and a well-controlled ride all contribute to the 2004 Ford Explorer's well-deserved reputation as a practical midsize SUV with few faults.

2004 Highlights

Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control that was previously available on V8 models only is now available on all models, except the XLS and XLS Sport and all AWD models. The NBX version now comes standard with the off-road package and "NBX" tailgate badging, and can be ordered with a moonroof. Limited and Eddie Bauer models get a quad bucket seating option when equipped with the third-row bench, which adds second-row buckets and a floor console. Family buyers of the 2004 Ford Explorer should note that the optional rear air conditioner no longer requires the purchase of the third-row seat. Finally, a tire-pressure monitoring system is now standard on XLS Sport and higher trim levels, and a rear cargo shade is optional on XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited models.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2004 Ford Explorer.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Everything You Didn't Expect
We bought our Explorer new, having owned both generations prior. This is by-far our favorite, and still sits in our driveway next to our 2007 Explorer today. We use ours for a daily driver and could not ask for a better vehicle given our needs. We have driven the majority of the time trouble free, but once we hit around the 110,000 - 125,000 mile marker, we started running into some issues, which is normal repairs that come with age. And despite the infamous transmission and tailgate cracking, we have encountered neither - but are aware that the problems exist. I would definitely purchase another one without hesitation. It's definitely a vehicle you will enjoy and want to keep.
Loved it at first, but disappointed with the poor quality
When I first got this vehicle, I really liked it. After 8 years and 85,000 miles, I am ready to move on. Too many small problems like the visors that keep breaking, the cracked plastic on the back hatch, and a couple expensive repairs that should not have been necessary. I take good care of my vehicles and do all the maintenance. It's just some poor build quality starting to show through. Almost every 2004 Explorer has had these same problems and Ford will not acknowledge them nor address them. It's too bad because other than these annoyances it really is a nice vehicle.
Ford exploder
XLT 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
A quick review of my 2004 Ford Explorer . Purchased used in 2011 . Comfortable ride . Once it hit 120,000 that's were things started to go down hill. Ball joints , power steering pump. Wheel bearings. Head lights . Turn signals. And most recently , a transmission. Dropped around 7 grand total in repairs to keep on road , the last 18 months. Gas mileage is down right crappy . My advise would be not to buy one of these ford exploder.......
2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.6 @124,000
Bought the truck in June of 2008 with 40K. Things I have absolutely had to replace:Rear axle bearing seal ($40), thermostate for radiator with seal (20), both front wheel bearings (250 a piece). Things that were wants not needs:Throttle body (700), cruise control cutoff switch (50), 4 motorcraft shocks and 8 ball joints total, front upper and lower and rear lower, front sway arm bushings (bushings wore out around 50K, buy moog bushings, Ford material is for the bushings is poor) ($600-700 for suspension parts) AC vent door components (300). AC was blowing cold air but the doors were stripped and the air was being blocked because they were not opening properly. This happened around 50K.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2004 Ford Explorer

Used 2004 Ford Explorer Overview

The Used 2004 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), XLS AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT Sport 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT AWD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLT Sport AWD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLS Sport 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT Sport Rwd 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer 4WD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLS Sport AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT Sport Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer AWD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), XLT Sport AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLS Sport Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer Rwd 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), NBX 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer 4WD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited AWD 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), NBX 4WD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4WD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), Limited AWD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), Limited Rwd 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl 5A), and Limited Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2004 Ford Explorer?

Price comparisons for Used 2004 Ford Explorer trim styles:

  • The Used 2004 Ford Explorer XLT is priced between $4,995 and$6,500 with odometer readings between 53295 and178000 miles.
  • The Used 2004 Ford Explorer Limited is priced between $3,995 and$5,500 with odometer readings between 109019 and109019 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2004 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) 2004 Ford Explorer for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2004 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $2,988 and mileage as low as 53295 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 AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2004 Ford Explorer.

Can't find a used 2004 Ford Explorers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Explorer for sale - 4 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $17,366.

Find a used Ford for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $11,108.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Explorer for sale - 4 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $15,646.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 6 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $15,953.

Should I lease or buy a 2004 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.

Check out Ford lease specials
Check out Ford Explorer lease specials