Lots of available safety features; high-quality interior; spacious interior; solid performance and road manners.
Be careful with options because it can get pricey; rough engine at high revs.
The 2011 Ford Explorer Limited 4WD is nothing less than a reinvention of one of the Blue Oval's best-known brands. Now a car-based crossover utility vehicle rather than a converted pickup truck, the Explorer goes down the road like a tall, heavy car. It has reassuring brakes, decent acceleration, a chassis that rides well over bumpy roads yet encourages you to load up the tires in corners, and is quiet and refined.
Also the new Explorer has a sophisticated man/machine interface, some new safety technologies and is supremely practical. Every example has standard third-row seating and can accommodate six or seven passengers and plenty of luggage. And if you choose an all-wheel-drive model, the Explorer has surprisingly good off-road suds to go with its on-road skills.
The Ford Explorer invented the sport-utility market as we know it in the United States. And now that same market — so much larger, so much more mature and so dominated by car-based crossovers and not trucks — has reinvented the 2011 Ford Explorer.
The 2011 Ford Explorer Limited 4WD shares its underpinnings with other crossover-type vehicles in the Dearborn lineup such as the Ford Flex and Taurus and the Lincoln MKT. It's a front-wheel-drive vehicle in base form, while a four-wheel-drive system is a $2,000 option across the model range. It is the first Explorer to use carlike unitary construction rather than a separate, truck-style chassis. The new Explorer is also bigger than the vehicle it replaces in some key dimensions. At 197.1 inches overall, it's 3.7 inches longer, while it's 78.9 inches across, some 5.2 inches wider. It's still heavy at 4,872 pounds, but Ford claims that the new Explorer is actually lighter than the old one, though it's difficult to pin down by how much.
Under its hood, the Limited model has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque compared with the old Explorer's 4.6-liter V8 that made 292 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. As a result of the smaller engine, better aerodynamics and lighter weight, the EPA gas mileage has improved from 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway to 17 and 23 mpg, respectively.
At the test track, the new 2011 Ford Explorer is certainly faster than the old one, recording a 0-60-mph time of 8.3 seconds with the traction control engaged, about a half-second quicker than the last V8 model we tested. The standing quarter-mile takes 16.3 seconds with a trap speed of 86.6 mph with the stability control engaged, which is certainly competitive with most of its rivals among three-row crossovers. The engine does a good job but becomes a bit thrashy at the top end, as our test-driver notes.
In every other regard, the Explorer performs solidly. It takes 122 feet to stop from 60 mph to zero, with no drama or anomalies and then pulls 0.77g on the skid pad. It breezes through the Edmunds slalom at 58.5 mph, and it feels exceptionally composed and confident during this maneuver, although its ultimate speed is regulated by an intrusive stability control system.
The only area that the old Explorer outperforms the new is in towing. The old vehicle could haul 7,115 pounds properly outfitted, but the new Explorer Limited will tow a maximum of 5,000 pounds.
When it comes to driving in the real world, the 2011 Ford Explorer is a vast improvement on the outgoing model. Whether it's equipped with optional second-row bucket seats or a bench, there is more leg- and headroom in the first two rows. It has similar interior space to the Honda Pilot, one of its chief rivals, but teenagers on their way to a soccer game will be happier (or less annoyed) with the third row in the Ford.
The Explorer's highway ride is particularly impressive. It's supple yet there's no float, and tire impacts are muted over all but the harshest of bumps. For a crossover, the Explorer is exceptionally quiet, recording just 65 decibels at 70 mph, a figure that shames some very expensive luxury cars.
The Ford Explorer Limited comes well equipped, with leather seats, a 12-speaker stereo, a rear back-up camera, power-adjustable pedals and 20-inch wheels and tires as standard. Pony up $4,000 for the "Rapid Spec package 302A," and a whole array of technological and entertainment features is added, including: Ford's excellent touchscreen navigation system; heated and cooled front seats; a power-folding third-row seat; adaptive cruise control with collision warning; rain-sensing wipers; a blind-spot warning system; and active parking assist. Be forewarned, though, because it's possible to beat the $50,000 mark at the Explorer's bottom line if you opt for items like a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a dual-panel sunroof.
The 2011 Ford Explorer is very easy to live with and operate. The instrument panel is configurable, allowing you to add information about the four-wheel-drive system, a tachometer, or a fuel gauge alongside the large central speedometer in the instrument cluster. There's plenty of luggage room inside the Explorer, with a total of 81 cubic feet behind the front seats and 44 cubic feet behind the second row.
Our tester was equipped with the optional four-wheel-drive system that incorporates a four-position "Terrain Management System" and a hill descent feature. The Terrain Management System uses different throttle, transmission and traction control strategies to tackle slippery surfaces, and can be optimized for normal highway use, mud and ruts, snow and sand. The system isn't designed for long drives into the wilderness, but will ensure that owners will easily get to their lakeside cabins or their favorite ski resorts in adverse conditions.
Overall, it's apparent that Ford is high on safety with its SUVs, a byproduct of the Explorer/Firestone fiasco in the early 2000s. The Explorer comes with front and side airbags for the front-seat passengers and curtain airbags for all rows. Innovative second-row seatbelts with integrated airbags — to spread the load in the event of an accident — are a $195 option. The Explorer also has what Ford calls "Curve Control," a more advanced stability system that applies the brakes if the electronics predict that it's straying off the blacktop while cornering.
Design/Fit and Finish
The Ford Explorer Limited looks terrific, inside and out. Thanks to its lower roof line and wider stance, it looks much sleeker than the outgoing Explorer and has a lot more curb appeal than either the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander. The interior has far more soft-touch materials than its Japanese rivals, and mixes aluminum, wood and leather finishes in a very stylish way.
Who should consider this vehicle
The 2011 Ford Explorer Limited 4WD is an excellent choice for a family vehicle, with one caveat: It's more expensive than vehicles such as the Chevrolet Traverse, the Honda Pilot Touring and the Toyota Highlander. Loaded with options, an Explorer Limited can cost more than $50,000, moving it into competition with luxury crossovers such as the BMW X5. Go easy on the options, however, and it makes a fine case for itself.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2011 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) 2011 Ford Explorers for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1,523 used and CPO 2011 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 9,997 and mileage as low as 40,586. 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 2011 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 2011 Explorer available from one of 2,641 dealerships in your area.
What's a good price on a used 2011 Ford Explorer ?
Save up to $300 on one of 46 used 2011 Ford Explorers for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $11500 as of Mar 24, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 41 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2011 Ford Explorer trim styles:
The used 2011 Ford Explorer Base is priced around $13992 with average odometer reading of 81621 miles.
The used 2011 Ford Explorer Limited is priced around $18197 with average odometer reading of 79507 miles.
The used 2011 Ford Explorer XLT is priced around $15960 with average odometer reading of 82067 miles.
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What options are available on the 2011 Ford Explorer?
Available Ford Explorer 2011 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Ford Explorer 2011 Trims: Sport, Platinum, Eddie Bauer, XLT, XLS, Limited, NBX, Base, XLT Sport, Expedition, XL, XLS Sport
Exterior Colors: Shadow Black, Magnetic Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Blue Metallic, Oxford White, Platinum Dune Metallic Tri-Coat, Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Oxford White Clearcoat, Blue Jeans Metallic, Sterling Gray Metallic, Caribou Metallic, Black Clearcoat, Deep Impact Blue Metallic, Cinnamon Glaze Metallic, Dark Side Metallic, Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Red Fire Clearcoat Metallic, Silver Birch Clearcoat Metallic, Smoked Quartz Tinted Clearcoat Metallic, Guard Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl Clearcoat Metallic, White Gold Metallic, Canyon Ridge Metallic, Kodiak Brown Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat (Fleet), Sterling Grey Metallic, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, White Platinum Metallic Tri-coat, Medium Wedgewood Blue Clearcoat Metallic, White Suede Clearcoat, White Suede, Black, Brilliant Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Green Gem Metallic, Kona Blue Metallic, Mineral Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Pueblo Gold Clearcoat Metallic, Aspen Green Clearcoat Metallic, Bordeaux Reserve Red Metallic, Dark Cherry Clearcoat Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic, Red Candy Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Torch Red, Tropic Green Clearcoat Metallic, True Blue Clearcoat Metallic, White Sand Tri-Coat, Ceramic White Tri-Coat Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl Metallic, Dark Copper Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Stone Clearcoat Metallic, Mineral Gray Clearcoat Metallic, Tuxedo Black Metallic, Black Pearl Slate Metallic, Bright Red Clearcoat, Cinnamon Metallic, Colorado Red Clearcoat, Ginger Ale Metallic, Gold Leaf Metallic, Golden Bronze Metallic, Ivory Parchment Tri-Coat Clearcoat Metallic, Orange Frost Clearcoat Metallic, Sangria Red Clearcoat Metallic, Sunset Metallic, Toreador Red Clearcoat Metallic
Interior Colors: Ebony Black leather, Ebony Black w/Red Accent Stitching leather, Medium Stone leather, Ebony Black premium leather, Medium Stone cloth, Medium Soft Ceramic premium leather, Medium Light Camel cloth, Medium Light Camel leather, Charcoal Black premium cloth, Ebony Black premium cloth, Charcoal Black leather, Camel leather, Medium Parchment, Medium Light Camel premium cloth, Charcoal Black w/Sienna Insert leather, Black leather, Pecan premium leather, Medium Light Stone premium leather, Medium Light Stone leather, Midnight Grey, Black/Camel (Late Availability) leather, Charcoal Black premium leather, Dark Earth w/Ebony Black leather/sueded microfiber, Graphite, Medium Light Stone cloth, Medium Light Stone premium cloth, Stone leather, Black cloth, Camel cloth, Camel leather/suede, Medium Graphite, Medium Prairie Tan, Medium Stone premium cloth
Popular Features: Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Headlights, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Mobile Internet, Navigation, Cooled Seats, 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, 6000lb Towing Capacity, Upgraded Stereo, 5000lb Towing Capacity, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Post-collision safety system, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Third-row seating, Tire Pressure Warning, Towing Hitch, Trip Computer, Alarm, Parking sensors, AWD/4WD, Auto Climate Control, Back-up camera, Bluetooth, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Remote Start, USB Inputs, Rear Entertainment System
Drivetrains: four wheel drive, all wheel drive, rear wheel drive, front wheel drive
used 2011 Ford Explorer Overview
The used 2011 Ford Explorer is offered in the following submodels: SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A). Pre-owned Explorer models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2011 Explorer comes with all wheel drive or front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed automatic, 6-speed shiftable automatic.