Why did I wait so long to trade in my 2003 Ford explorer for the new 2014 ford explorer limited! I test drove the limited, awd & 4 cyl. ecoboost; plus th xlt & sport. Of all of them, the limited offers the most comfort & advanced options I was looking for. This truck rides so much more car like than my last explorer. Additionally, I like the pickup from the regular 3.5L 6 cylinder engine on the limited vs. the ecoboost 2.0L 4 cylinder. I think a 4 cyl. is good for a car, but not an suv. I recently took a carload of teenagers in my limited and it handled beautifully with the "extra weight" in the car. I don't think the 4 cyl. could have handled that.
I traded in my 2011 charger r/t and 1500 silverado for the explorer sport and my wife couldn't be happier. The sport handles superbly in the horrible snow storms in the Rocky Mountain Region. The sport seems as if it is almost as quick as my charger r/t. The sport is really fun to drive and fits all sorts of stuff for my young family. The fuel economy is very misleading; on a road trip of approximately 1200 miles round trip, I averaged 18 mpg, which made me a little upset considering 22mpg is what is advertised. Overall it is a wonderful vehicle; it's fast enough for me, comfortable and safe for my family, and it fits all of my kids' stuff.
We like our Limited Explorer quite a bit. Good daily driver and good on trips. I would prefer the larger Expedition but the Explorer is all we need. Engine has to struggle to perform but it suffices. Unbelievable amount of torque steer!! I imagine the larger ecoboost performs better but it only comes in Sport model. We paid just over $43k for MSRP of $50k - so good value for what it is. It rides well and has lots of features - but there are downsides as well. The technology is not intuitive and it takes way too many touches to get done what you want. Very distracting. We now have 69k miles. It's been a good SUV but falls a little short in performance and technology compared to CUV's that cost a lot more.
Recently read the CR annual auto review and they gave the Explorer extremely low marks for gas mileage and the transmission. Having just put over 800 miles on a 2014 XLT/AWD, I'm wondering what exactly are they doing at CR these days to test cars. We were in Denver, Boulder and Estes Park with a 75/25 combination of in town, mtn roads and steep inclines/highway and over three tank refills, I measured 22.4, 20.1 and 21.4 mpg for an average of over 21. (The trip computer measured 20.8 over the 800+ miles.) CR reports 18 mpg over their test cycle of combined driving. That is over 3 mpg difference and I can assure you, their test drive is nothing like the roads we were on.
This 2014 Explorer Limited is my second in a row. Company cars. I have around 60k miles on her and she has been a workhorse at over 30k miles per year. When you drive this much and spend so much time in the car you learn what you like and do not like about a car quickly for everyday use. Pros: Comfy seating, heated seats in front and back, cooled front seats, HEATED STEERING WHEEL (not an option in any Subaru and many other winter-built cars which blows my mind), large capacity rear storage and very functional, push-button rear seat/storage configurations, adequate acceleration, adequate GPS. Great back-up camera and love the audio back-up notification if something is in the way. Confy ride on the road. Has given me no mechanical trouble since day 1, which may be my favorite thing about it. Cons: The infotainment system is a total fail--complicated interface, controls stink and voice recognition is infuriatingly horrible. Those designers need to be reassigned to shipping and receiving. Randomly freezes and re-boots. Second row of seats has poor leg room for an SUV this size. AWD system selection that adjusts torque/gear ratios based on selection is not my favorite. Had to get snow tires for decent snow traction, and ground clearance could be better--I have been stuck in 6-8 inches of snow. Nit-picky things: The front console storage is poorly designed in my opinion: just a huge cavity--how can this be practical? Anything that goes in on the bottom is necessarily inaccessible if you put anything else in there. Also, the storage under the touch screen is just as bad--had to access the USB ports and it is just a cavern where things are jumbled together.