Smooth ride for a truck-based SUV, spacious and quiet interior, decent towing specs.
Expensive options, weak engine compared to competing SUVs, nonintuitive placement of some interior features, low-grade interior materials.
For more than a decade, the Ford Explorer was at the top of the midsize SUV heap. From its introduction, the truck-based utility vehicle was a hit, and its success subsequently sent other automakers scrambling to develop (or improve) SUVs of their own. But in recent years, competitors have rolled out superior products and many consumers have shied away from SUVs altogether in favor of smaller crossovers. Sales of the Explorer have plummeted.
That's not to say the Explorer is a bad automobile. In fact, its design, handling and powertrain have steadily improved over the years. Now three years into its fourth generation, the 2008 Ford Explorer is still a worthy workhorse for those who truly need the utility of a body-on-frame SUV. Yet although it offers a healthy tow rating and three spacious rows of seating, the Explorer is still somewhat weak when it comes to off-roading capability. So whether the Explorer is still a wise purchase these days depends on what you're looking for.
Our 2008 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4WD tester came equipped with a 4.6-liter V8 engine good for 292 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Although this is adequate power for hauling people and a moderate amount of cargo, the combination of the Explorer's motor and six-speed automatic transmission is a bit underwhelming, especially compared to other SUVs in the segment. Both the V8 versions of the Nissan Pathfinder and the new Kia Borrego, for example, make more than 300 hp.
During a previous test of a similarly equipped model, the 4WD V8 Explorer chugged from zero to 60 mph in a mediocre 9.0 seconds. By comparison, a V8-equipped Nissan Pathfinder does the same run in 7 seconds flat. At least the brakes are responsive; a firm and progressive pedal instills the driver with confidence.
While we didn't get the chance to tow anything with this 2008 Ford Explorer, this trim level has a tow rating of 7,130 pounds, which is on par for its class. Its dual-range gearing provides more off-road ability than a typical crossover, but the Explorer's ground clearance of 8.2 inches is slightly less than some of its truck-based competitors. So while the Explorer can theoretically handle rugged tasks, we wouldn't consider it anything special.
Fuel economy for the 2008 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4WD is rated at 13 mpg city/19 highway. The new EPA combined fuel estimate is 15 mpg, which outperforms the comparable Nissan but can't touch the V8 4WD Kia Borrego's 17 mpg.
What the 2008 Explorer might lack in power, it makes up for in smoothness. Its rear independent suspension provides a comfortable ride, which is a welcome attribute on long trips — especially for rear-seat passengers. And the third row fits two adults reasonably well. The cabin of the Explorer is also pleasantly quiet; there's not much road or wind noise when cruising down the highway.
Steering and handling, while adequate, are nothing to write home about. The Explorer is relatively easy to maneuver, but retains the slightly disconnected feeling that is characteristic of a truck-based SUV — although it doesn't shimmy loosey-goosey over bumps like some utility vehicles we've driven.
In the cabin, our power driver seat offered a wide range of adjustability, but we didn't feel particularly supported. And although the power-adjustable pedals ensured easy access to the throttle and brake for drivers of any height, a telescoping steering column was glaringly omitted. We'd expect better from a vehicle loaded with more than $10,000 in options.
While there isn't anything glaringly wrong with the way the 2008 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4WD functions, it's the little things that prove annoying time and time again. The front door handles are hard to find and inconvenient to use; they curve over the top of the front-most edge of the armrest, which, admittedly, gives them an integrated appearance with the rest of the door, but requires driver and passenger to wrap their hands around the lever in a clawlike motion and pull up. In addition to being confusing, it's ergonomically challenging.
Another gripe concerns the small, awkwardly shaped parking brake release, hidden way down near the driver's footwell, where a hood release would normally be. We had to break out the instruction manual to even find the thing in the first place. In addition, the Explorer's conventional antenna on the passenger side often thunked against low-hanging objects in parking garages. We'd dump the old-fashioned mast in favor of the window-integrated antennas that many competitors now use. And perhaps of most concern is a huge blind spot created by the Explorer's broad C-pillar. Individually, none of these drawbacks is earth-shattering, but collectively, they could be real deal-breakers for the aging SUV.
On the plus side, we like Ford's voice-activated Sync system, which allows the driver to control the navigation and audio settings just by speaking. It takes a little getting used to, and occasionally the voice recognition program misunderstands commands, but overall, this feature works well and helps keep the 2008 Ford Explorer current with its competitors. And despite some wacky design elements like the aforementioned door handles, the Explorer's interior is roomy and versatile. The power-folding 50/50-split third row is a breeze to stow and put back into place, although it offers slightly less total cargo space than Explorers equipped without that option, and fails to fold completely flat. Luggage capacity for our 2008 Ford Explorer is 83.7 cubic feet (versus about 86 for five-passenger models), which bests the Pathfinder's 79 cubic feet but falls far short of the Dodge Durango's 102 cubes.
Design/Fit and Finish
Despite gradual improvement over the years, the Explorer's materials quality remains mediocre and its design rather antiquated. Despite being equipped with the latest technology such as navigation and Microsoft's innovative voice-activated Sync system, the controls look as if they've been carried over from the 1990s. In addition, hard plastics abound in the cabin, and various styling cues like the gargantuan gearshift lever and flat, sunken steering wheel further cheapen the Explorer's look. On the outside, the Explorer has evolved with a more contemporary look, but the keypad on the driver's door is a bit of an eyesore.
Who should consider this vehicle
Outdoor-oriented families who need high towing capacity, off-road capability and plenty of cargo space.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2008 Ford Explorer listings and inventory: Shop Edmunds' used car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million pre-owned vehicles to find a cheap used and certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Ford Explorers for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1,303 used and CPO 2008 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 3,522 and mileage as low as 63,487. Simply research the type of used car, SUV, or truck you're interested in and then select a vehicle from our massive database to find cheap pre-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 2008 Ford Explorer. Then select Edmunds' special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 300 on a used or CPO 2008 Explorer available from one of 2,631 dealerships in your area.
What's a good price on a used 2008 Ford Explorer ?
Save up to $300 on one of 29 used 2008 Ford Explorers for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $3522 as of Apr 25, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 18 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 4 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2008 Ford Explorer trim styles:
The used 2008 Ford Explorer XLT is priced around $7609 with average odometer reading of 106714 miles.
The used 2008 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer is priced around $9002 with average odometer reading of 108084 miles.
The used 2008 Ford Explorer Limited is priced around $5997 with average odometer reading of 161638 miles.
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What options are available on the 2008 Ford Explorer?
Available Ford Explorer 2008 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Ford Explorer 2008 Trims: Sport, Base, Platinum, XLS, Eddie Bauer, XLT, Limited, NBX, XLT Sport, Expedition, XL, XLS Sport
Exterior Colors: Shadow Black, Magnetic Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, Blue Metallic, Tuxedo Black Metallic, White Platinum Metallic Tri-coat, Oxford White, Platinum Dune Metallic Tri-Coat, Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Oxford White Clearcoat, Blue Jeans Metallic, Caribou Metallic, Sterling Gray Metallic, Cinnamon Glaze Metallic, Deep Impact Blue Metallic, Dark Side Metallic, Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Sterling Grey Metallic, White Suede, Smoked Quartz Tinted Clearcoat Metallic, Black, Canyon Ridge Metallic, Silver Birch Clearcoat Metallic, Guard Metallic, Black Clearcoat, Red Candy Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Pueblo Gold Clearcoat Metallic, Brilliant Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Green Gem Metallic, Kodiak Brown Metallic, White Gold Metallic, Aspen Green Clearcoat Metallic, Kona Blue Metallic, Ceramic White Tri-Coat Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl Metallic, Mineral Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Red Fire Clearcoat Metallic, Sangria Red Clearcoat Metallic, Sunset Metallic, True Blue Clearcoat Metallic, White Suede Clearcoat, Blue Flame Metallic, Bordeaux Reserve Red Metallic, Dark Cherry Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Copper Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Stone Clearcoat Metallic, Golden Bronze Metallic, Harvest Gold Clearcoat Metallic, Medium Wedgewood Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Sport Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Toreador Red Clearcoat Metallic, White Sand Tri-Coat, Cinnamon Metallic, Deep Jewel Green Pearl Metallic, Estate Green Clearcoat Metallic, Ginger Ale Metallic, Mineral Gray Clearcoat Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat (Fleet), Torch Red, White Pearl
Interior Colors: Ebony Black leather, Charcoal Black leather, Ebony Black w/Red Accent Stitching leather, Medium Stone leather, Medium Light Stone leather, Medium Stone cloth, Ebony Black premium leather, Medium Soft Ceramic premium leather, Medium Light Stone cloth, Medium Light Camel cloth, Charcoal Black premium cloth, Ebony Black premium cloth, Medium Light Camel leather, Charcoal Black premium leather, Medium Parchment, Medium Light Stone premium cloth, Medium Light Stone premium leather, Pecan premium leather, Charcoal Black w/Sienna Insert leather, Medium Light Camel premium cloth, Graphite, Camel leather, Charcoal Black w/Sienna Insert premium leather, Midnight Grey, Black/Camel (Late Availability) leather, Dark Earth w/Ebony Black leather/sueded microfiber, Black cloth, Black leather, Camel cloth, Stone leather
Popular Features: Post-collision safety system, Alarm, Back-up camera, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Headlights, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Mobile Internet, Navigation, Remote Start, Cooled Seats, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Sunroof/Moonroof, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-collision safety system, Upgraded Engine, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Upgraded Stereo, AWD/4WD, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Towing Hitch, Trip Computer, 5000lb Towing Capacity, Bluetooth, Leather Seats, USB Inputs, 6000lb Towing Capacity, Auto Climate Control, Heated seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Parking sensors, Rear Entertainment System, Third-row seating
Drivetrains: all wheel drive, front wheel drive, four wheel drive, rear wheel drive
Used 2008 Ford Explorer Overview
The used 2008 Ford Explorer is offered in the following submodels: SUV. Available styles include XLT 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and XLT 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Explorer models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2008 Explorer comes with four wheel drive or rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic.