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.
2011 Ford Explorer Overview
The 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). Explorer models are available with a 3.5 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 290 hp, depending on engine type. The 2011 Explorer comes with all wheel drive or front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed automatic, 6-speed shiftable automatic. The 2011 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 2011 Ford Explorer?
Save up to $339.2 on one of 66 used 2011 Ford Explorers for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $11477 as of Dec 15, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 122 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 2 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2011 Ford Explorer trim styles:
The 2011 Ford Explorer XLT is priced around $14896 with average odometer reading of 101807 miles.
The 2011 Ford Explorer Limited is priced around $17239 with average odometer reading of 96321 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. 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.
Is the 2011 Ford Explorer a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2011 Ford Explorer and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2011 Explorer featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2011 Ford Explorer? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2011 Ford Explorer and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2011 Explorer 3.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2011 Explorer.
Review We picked up our 2011 Ford Explorer Limited about 3 months ago. I have never owned a vehicle with this many problems. It is in the dealer service department more often then it is at home. It is in my opinion a nice looking vehicle but that is the only thing it has going for it. We have had issues with the sync system, most of the features will quit working at some time. The radio will come on and off, the rain sensing wipers will turn on and off for no reason. The cruise control speeds up and slows down. The windshield has been replaced and the side mouldings twice now because of a whistling noise and the problem persists. The front axle seals have been replaced because they leaked.
2011 Ford Explorer inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Ford Explorer for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1442 new and 1874 used and CPO 2011 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 11477 and mileage as low as 34369. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a 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 2011 Ford Explorer. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 339 on a new, used, or CPO 2011 Explorer available from one of 2806 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
2011 ford explorer 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed automatic, regular unleaded 19 combined MPG 17 city MPG/23 highway MPG
2011 ford explorer XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, regular unleaded 19 combined MPG 17 city MPG/23 highway MPG
2011 ford explorer 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed automatic, regular unleaded 20 combined MPG 17 city MPG/25 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2011 Ford Explorer?
Available Ford Explorer 2011 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: Sport, Platinum, Eddie Bauer, XLT, Limited, XLS, XLT Sport, NBX, XL, Base
Exterior Colors: Shadow Black, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Magnetic Metallic, Oxford White, Blue Jeans Metallic, Blue Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat, Sterling Gray Metallic, Black Clearcoat, Smoked Quartz Tinted Clearcoat Metallic, Platinum Dune Metallic Tri-Coat, Deep Impact Blue Metallic, White Gold Metallic, Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Silver Birch Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Side Metallic, Red Fire Clearcoat Metallic, Caribou Metallic, Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Dark Blue Pearl Clearcoat Metallic, Cinnamon Glaze Metallic, Canyon Ridge Metallic, Black, Guard Metallic, Kodiak Brown Metallic, White Suede Clearcoat, Sunset Metallic, Sterling Grey Metallic, Dark Stone Clearcoat Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic, Pueblo Gold Clearcoat Metallic, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, White Platinum Metallic Tri-coat, Green Gem Metallic, Sangria Red Clearcoat Metallic, True Blue Clearcoat Metallic, White Suede, Dark Copper Clearcoat Metallic, Kona Blue Metallic, Medium Wedgewood Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Torch Red, Aspen Green Clearcoat Metallic, Blue Flame Metallic, Brilliant Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Cherry Clearcoat Metallic, Vapor Silver Clearcoat Metallic, White Sand Tri-Coat, Oxford White Clearcoat (Fleet), Bordeaux Reserve Red Metallic, Cinnamon Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl Metallic, Ginger Ale Metallic, Mineral Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Red Candy Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Cashmere Clearcoat Tri-Coat Clearcoat Metallic, Golden Bronze Metallic, Stone Green Clearcoat Metallic, Tropic Green Clearcoat Metallic, Tuxedo Black Metallic, Carbon Clearcoat Metallic, Ceramic White Tri-Coat Clearcoat Metallic, Deep Jewel Green Pearl Metallic, Estate Green Clearcoat Metallic, Gold Leaf Metallic, Mineral Gray Clearcoat Metallic, Sport Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Toreador Red Clearcoat Metallic, White Pearl
Interior Colors: Ebony Black leather, Ebony Black w/Red Accent Stitching leather, Medium Light Camel cloth, Medium Light Camel leather, Medium Stone leather, Ebony Black premium leather, Ebony Black premium cloth, Medium Parchment, Medium Soft Ceramic premium leather, Black leather, Camel leather, Charcoal Black leather, Midnight Grey, Medium Light Stone leather, Charcoal Black premium leather, Medium Light Camel premium cloth, Charcoal Black w/Sienna Insert leather, Charcoal Black w/Sienna Insert premium leather, Pecan premium leather, Camel leather/suede, Black cloth, Charcoal Black premium cloth, Graphite, Camel cloth, Medium Light Stone premium leather, Stone leather, Medium Light Stone premium cloth, Medium Prairie Tan, Black/Camel (Late Availability) leather, Black/Stone leather, Dark Earth w/Ebony Black leather/sueded microfiber, Medium Graphite, Medium Light Stone cloth, Stone cloth
Popular Features: Keyless Entry/Start, Mobile Internet, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Navigation, Cooled Seats, Upgraded Headlights, Blind Spot Monitoring, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Upgraded Engine, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, 6000lb Towing Capacity, Pre-collision safety system, 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, Upgraded Stereo, 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, Heads up display, Sunroof/Moonroof