2010 Ford Explorer Review

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy and quiet interior, healthy tow rating, respectable ride and handling characteristics for a truck-based SUV.
  • Weak and thirsty V6 engine, some low-grade interior materials, dated interior design.
List Price Range
$6,700 - $13,998

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2010 Ford Explorer deserves consideration if you need a traditional midsize SUV with substantial towing and off-roading capabilities. Shoppers looking primarily for a family vehicle with plenty of passenger and cargo space, however, might be better off with a more modern seven-passenger crossover.

Vehicle overview

The Ford Explorer may not have been the world's first sport-utility vehicle, but it's certainly among the most popular, with more than 5 million sold since its 1991 debut. Skyrocketing gas prices and increased competition from new car-based crossover models have caused Explorer sales to plummet in recent years, but many of the qualities that made this old-school SUV so popular -- including its roomy interior and quiet, comfortable ride quality -- lead us to conclude it still has much to offer a select group of buyers.

Perhaps the 2010 Ford Explorer's biggest advantage over newer midsize crossovers is that its rugged truck-based body-on-frame design gives it a distinct edge in situations like trailer towing and off-roading. Towing capacity is above average and the trailer sway control, part of the standard electronic stability control system, helps minimize white-knuckle moments when towing in gusty crosswinds or making sudden lane changes. Off-road, the availability of a true four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case allows the Explorer to go places where its all-wheel-drive crossover competitors would rightly fear to tread (although competitors like the Jeep Grand Cherokee are preferred for dedicated off-roaders). On pavement, the Explorer remains one of the best handling of all truck-based sport-utility vehicles. A smooth ride and the availability of optional bells and whistles like Ford's Sync system and a cutting-edge navigation system with Sirius Travel Link satellite data service further the Explorer's appeal.

Those strong points aside, the 2010 Ford Explorer gives ground to the crossover competition in several key areas. For example, the standard V6 engine's 210 horsepower feels rather anemic compared to the 262-hp V6 in the Ford Flex crossover. The Explorer's V6 also comes up short in terms of fuel economy at 14 mpg city and 20 highway, versus the front-wheel-drive Flex's 17/24 mpg rating. The Explorer's available 292-hp V8 provides slightly better acceleration and fuel economy than the V6, though its overall performance is still rather unremarkable.

Ultimately, the 2010 Ford Explorer may not be the quickest or most fuel-efficient SUV on the block, but it's still an impressive package. It's civilized enough to schlep the kids and their friends around town, and yet burly enough to pull a 7,000-pound boat trailer down the rough dirt track that leads to your secluded mountain hideaway. Note that these last two points are key because, while they make the Explorer a good choice for buyers in need of those attributes, families who are just looking for generous passenger and cargo room are likely to find that a crossover SUV is a better fit.

2010 Ford Explorer models

The 2010 Ford Explorer is a four-door midsize SUV available in XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited trim levels. Seating capacity jumps from five to seven passengers when it's equipped with the available third-row seat.

Entry-level XLT models seat five and come with 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning, power windows and door locks, and a CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. The XLT with the Sport Package adds black exterior accents (including the wheel arches, side-step bars and front fascia) along with 20-inch alloy wheels and white-faced instruments. Compared to the regular XLT, Eddie Bauer models add two-tone paint, 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, heated front seats, a manual third-row seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, the Sync electronics interface and satellite radio.

The top-of-the-line Explorer Limited features monochromatic paint, 18-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control (with a separate rear air-conditioner), perforated leather upholstery, a power front passenger seat, driver memory functions, power-adjustable pedals and a power-folding third-row seat. Also included with the Limited is an upgraded audio system with an in-dash CD changer and steering-wheel-mounted controls.

Many of the upper trim's features can be had as options on lower trim levels, including rear-seat climate control and the upgraded stereo. Other options include power running boards, second-row captain's chairs, the Sync hands-free communication and entertainment integration system, a voice-activated navigation system with Sirius Travel Link data service and digital music storage capability, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a sunroof, 20-inch wheels and a Class III/IV towing package.

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2010 Highlights

For the 2010 Ford Explorer, the 4.6-liter V8 engine is available only in Eddie Bauer and Limited models.

Performance & mpg

The Ford Explorer's base engine is a 4.0-liter V6 that puts out 210 hp and 254 pound-feet of torque. For 2010, the optional 4.6-liter V8 engine with 292 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque is only offered on Eddie Bauer and Limited models. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V6 engine, while the V8 comes mated to a six-speed automatic. Both engines come with standard rear-wheel drive or an optional 4WD system that includes a push-button low-range transfer case designed for negotiating slippery or uneven surfaces on or off road. Also optional is a full-time all-wheel-drive system, but it requires the optional 20-inch wheels. Properly equipped, a V8 2WD Explorer can tow nearly 7,300 pounds.

Performance with either engine is adequate, though the Explorer lags behind most rivals. We timed a V8-equipped 4WD Explorer at 9 seconds for the 0-60 dash. By comparison, the Ford Flex does the same run in 8.7 seconds, while a V8-equipped Nissan Pathfinder does it in 7 flat. EPA fuel mileage estimates don't vary much between trim levels: The V6 with 2WD rates 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined, while either engine with 4WD rates 1 mpg less across the board.


All major safety equipment is standard on the 2010 Ford Explorer, including antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and first- and second-row side curtain airbags. The stability control system includes rollover sensing and trailer sway control.

In government crash testing, the Explorer earned a perfect five stars in all frontal- and side-impact crash tests. It also received the top rating of "Good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) frontal-offset crash tests, but only scored an "Acceptable" in IIHS side-impact tests.


Relative to other truck-based SUVs like the Dodge Durango, the 2010 Ford Explorer is pleasing to drive. Much of the credit goes to the independent rear suspension, which both smoothes the ride and helps keep the wheels planted when traversing rough pavement. For a vehicle this size, the steering feels surprisingly responsive. Power from both the V6 and V8 engines can best be described as adequate, though most buyers will likely prefer the V8 for its greater refinement and added low-end torque.


Despite incremental improvements over the years, the Explorer's materials quality remains mediocre and its design rudimentary. Most of the climate and audio controls are comprised of lots of similar-looking black buttons, and the regular audio head unit still displays its info in Ford's old-school, '80s-look green font. The sharp two-tone color schemes make this workaday SUV feel a little more upscale, though, and the optional Sync phone/MP3 voice activation and hard-drive-based navigation systems are both effective and modern.

It's feasible to carry two adults in the third-row seats, but choosing the third-row option slightly reduces the available cargo space and results in a not-quite-flat load floor. Seven-passenger Ford Explorers max out at 83.7 cubic feet of cargo space, while five-passenger versions offer 85.8 cubic feet. Notably, the back of the second row's split bench seat reclines only if your Explorer has a third-row seat. The "quad seating" option on Limited models places reclining captain's chairs in the second row with a storage console between them, but drops passenger capacity to six.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2010 Ford Explorer.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Trying Again With a Newer Model
Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I bought this model used in Aug 2012 after finding it on the lot before it was advertised for sale. I wanted to trade in my '04 Explorer XLT after a mechanic told me the rear differential would fail 'soon'. The '04 was a money pit and I wasn't going to spend another cent on it, despite putting a rebuilt tranny into it at 67k miles. I'd read the '10 Explorer's reliability was much better (more like my '97 Explorer), and this vehicle, with only 23.5k on it, seemed like a steal. I've been very happy with it so far after 3 years, because... When I complained in a customer reply survey that the cheap wheel bearings used on this (needed replacement at 34.4k) and my '04 was outrageous and pushed me to look at non-Ford products, Ford reimbursed my expenses for the repair - even though it wasn't done at a Ford dealer! I've never formally complained to Ford before, but it paid off here. As another reviewer noted, the Goodyear OEM tires have no lifespan - almost shot after only 34.4k miles. I get around 15 MPG on my winter commuting loop, though this past winter with record cold resulted in 12 MPG in February. Summer round trips average between 17-21 MPG. Favorite Features: Extremely smooth ride. Roomy interior. Love the heated seats and mirrors for cold upstate NY winters. Thank goodness for the backup sensors. Six-CD changer works/sounds great, and I really like the steering-mounted audio system controls. I really like the Sirius satellite radio, too. My wife loves the dual-zone A/C. Suggested Improvements: I don't even bother to use the SYNC package. I think I will no longer buy upper-end trim lines in vehicles because I'm sick of paying for options/features I don't want/need. Plugging my iPod into the sound system without SYNC works fine for me. The headrests, and the seating position they forced, took some time to get used to, and the blind spots they create are enormous. I learned that if I adjusted the side-view mirrors much wider than usual, it helped.
My suv
Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
They are very comfortable we have heated leather seats fuel mileage about 19.0 mpg we have 128,000 trouble free miles oil change every 7000 Spark plugs 1time since new very good auto will probably buy another later.
2010 Explorer long-term review!
XLT 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Update from 70k to now 80k -- Bought XLT used in 2012 w/16384 mi. turned ~80k~! No problems to speak of. Been great! The 2010 is the last model year of this style before the new/current style came out in 2011, so you'd think most every problem was worked out by 2010 :>) I bought a battery 1/16 to rpl orig. One set of tires around 45k is all. MPG rating of 14/20 is wrong - I consistently get 17.5 mpg around town [ in New England] and strictly hwy is 23+mpg...! All around excellent SUV; comfort, 7 passenger, rear AC, 4WD etc... The 200hp V6 is a very good engine. What it 'might' lack in [V8-like] power, it makes up for in mpg and all other areas. And you feel safe driving it! AnFeels like a nice, good sized solid SUV that rides like a car! What's your life worth, right :>) Problem areas [typical at 70k+ on most any vehicle]: 1.>- On the 2010 Expl - If you smell antifreeze or notice ever so slight 'wetness' on top of engine at BASE of rad hose housing, it's because housing for the thermostat is made of plastic and where bolts to manifold, gasket leaks. There's a metal therm housing for sale, though what I did was simply add a small bottle of Stop Leak [pellets] to the radiator, think is about 12-16 oz.(?). No more small leak there. Note-Make SURE you shake bottle well and ENSURE the PELLETS go into the rad too-first time I tried it, I poured in half the bottle thinking that would do it, what didn't realize is none of the pellets went in-pellets heavy and sink to bottle bottom, SO drain/syphon 12-16 oz coolant out of the radiator [not overflow tank] and try stop leak. Prior to this, my rad CAP was bad [yes, really;>)] <$5 solved that-new cap. 2.> Common: Rear diff seal drips very slightly, forget specific name for it, costs about <$80? to have mech replace. 3.> People complain of 5 spd auto trans 'clunking' on occasion. For me it's been simply the re-engaging of the trans after 'coasting'. Ex. You're in traffic [5-20mph] you move up then coast, THEN gas again-that's when it '''may''' clunk''' back into gear - is in my case anyway, maybe 4x/yr. No problem with mine here at 80k. Change trans fluid, oil, and diff 80w gear and transfer case fluids, and coolant flush when needed and you ''should'' be good to go. Good luck.
I looked for this model
XLT 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I have been a Ford person for most of my life...I last owned a 2012 Escape that was great except it could not tow my camper. We had to own two vehicles to accommodate the camper. I looked far and wide for something that would "do it all." The 2010 Ford Explorer fit the bill perfectly! I knew that the this was the last of the real SUV's and that the vehicle is mounted on a truck frame affording the support we would need for the camper (4500lbs). We looked high and low in July of 2017 and found our used, 2010 with 49,000 miles. The price was right and the dealer excellent. We drove 500 miles to view, drive and trade our Escape, We were so pleased with the ride back. Fuel economy, with the bigger 4.0 is surprisingly good at 22-23mpg at 70mph. The vehicle is a dream to drive and ride in even with my 6'4" frame. With the camper attached, the Explorer is more than powerful enough even up here in the Adirondacks with it's hills and valleys. We took the vehicle to a local Ford dealer, purchased the Extended Warranty, and was told that our Explorer was in excellent shape!


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 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
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2010 Ford Explorer

Used 2010 Ford Explorer Overview

The Used 2010 Ford Explorer is offered in the following submodels: Explorer SUV. Available styles include XLT 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Eddie Bauer 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), XLT 4dr SUV AWD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and Limited 4dr SUV AWD (4.0L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Ford Explorer models are available with a 4.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 210 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2010 Ford Explorer comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic. The Used 2010 Ford Explorer comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2010 Ford Explorer?

Price comparisons for Used 2010 Ford Explorer trim styles:

  • The Used 2010 Ford Explorer XLT is priced between $6,700 and$13,998 with odometer readings between 51213 and172821 miles.
  • The Used 2010 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer is priced between $8,995 and$8,995 with odometer readings between 113610 and113610 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 2010 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) 2010 Ford Explorer for sale near. There are currently 9 used and CPO 2010 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,700 and mileage as low as 51213 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 2010 Ford Explorer.

Can't find a used 2010 Ford Explorers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Explorer for sale - 12 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $10,317.

Find a used Ford for sale - 4 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $25,054.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Explorer for sale - 12 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $18,998.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 9 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $12,641.

Should I lease or buy a 2010 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