2012 Toyota Camry and 2012 Ford Explorer: Road Trip Comparison
April 10, 2012
I did a road trip over the weekend with my family. Actually, the one-way trips were split between two vehicles, the Explorer and the Camry. Those aren't two vehicles you would normally compare, but it was interesting to me nonetheless to notice the differences.
I was a little worried at first since I had the Explorer to start out. As I have two small children, there's no such thing as a small load for a road trip. After packing up, the Explorer's cargo area wasn't at capacity, but it was pretty close to being at my comfort level (not putting stuff higher than the top of the second-row seats). Would it all fit in the Camry?
The Explorer rides really well on the freeway. And the front seats are pretty comfortable. But because of the rear-facing child seat issue, my wife had to move her front passenger seat up a few inches, which she wasn't thrilled with. I'm not exactly sure what kind of fuel economy I got, but based on the in-car trip computer I'd estimate the low 20s.
The Camry, in contrast, had no issues taking on the rear-facing child seat. There was still plenty of room for my wife to stretch out. And I'll be honest -- after having driven our Explorer for about two weeks prior to the switch, it was a very nice change to get into a normal family sedan. Wow, you can actually see out of the thing! Hey, some semblance of road feel and handling! Oh, and look -- simple, normal controls for the radio and climate!
Plus, I was able to fit everything I brought in the Explorer into the Camry. No doubt, the Camry was packed tighter. And the Explorer still offers more theoretical capacity. But for a three-day holiday trip, the Camry was all I needed and much preferred. Topping it all off was fuel economy -- figure it got around the low 30s, or a 10 mpg improvement.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,118 miles