in Affordable Large SUVs

MSRP: $30,700 - $43,100
Invoice: $28,935 - $40,191
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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Ford Explorer Review

The 2015 Ford Explorer ranks 12 out of 13 Affordable Large SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Ford Explorer, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Ford Explorer is ranked:

While the 2015 Ford Explorer has a high-quality cabin, test drivers are let down by its confusing tech features and cramped rear seats.

The 2015 Ford Explorer comes with a V6 engine that critics say provides plenty of power for most driving situations. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is optional on front-wheel drive models, while the Explorer Sport comes with a turbocharged V6 that reviewers praise for its ample power. The EPA reports that the base 2015 Explorer gets 17/24 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class. Four-cylinder Explorer models get 20/28 mpg, which is very good for a three-row SUV. Many test drivers note that the Explorer feels larger and more cumbersome to drive than other SUVs in the class. However, they appreciate its comfortable ride and accurate steering.

Most auto writers say that the 2015 Ford Explorer’s cabin is built with first-rate materials, though some note that there are cheaper materials in the second and third row. The Explorer seats seven, or six when equipped with second-row captain’s chairs, and critics report that the second and third rows are fairly cramped. Some also write that wide door sills make entry and exit difficult, while others mention that rearward visibility is poor from the driver’s seat. The Explorer offers a bit less maximum cargo space than many competitors, though some auto writers say that there’s still a useful amount of room behind the third row. Test drivers report that the available MyFord Touch infotainment system has received updates that make it more intuitive, but they note that it can be distracting to use while driving, and that the systems found in most rival SUVs are still easier to use. The 2015 Ford Explorer is available with features like a rearview camera, Ford’s voice-activated Sync system (with Bluetooth and a USB port), the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, proximity key, push-button start, parallel park assist, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and a power liftgate.

  • "While no longer the rugged off-roader of its ancestry, the Ford Explorer remains an important player in the market, particularly against other crossover SUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse, Nissan Pathfinder, Dodge Durango, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Overall, we think the Edmunds.com ‘B’ rated 2015 Ford Explorer is a respectable choice that can provide you with the right kind of utility and some extra style, but it's worth looking around in this ever-expanding segment before you make up your mind." -- Edmunds 
  • "Relative to current rivals, the Explorer stands apart with its smooth ride, sleek design and high-quality interior with cutting-edge technology. The 7-passenger SUV might not be as roomy as a minivan or even some slightly larger competitors from GM. But there's no doubt the reinvented Explorer is one of the best of its breed." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Now in its fourth year, this generation of the Ford Explorer remains an attractive choice in the crowded and competitive three-row crossover segment." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)

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Other SUVs to Consider

Test drivers say the Dodge Durango has controlled handling and a powerful base engine, as well as an exceptionally strong V8 engine option. The Durango also impresses critics with an infotainment system that’s exceptionally easy to use.

The Chevrolet Traverse offers more overall cargo space than most SUVs in the class, and critics agree that it has a roomy third row. The Traverse also earns praise for its quiet, high-quality interior.

Compare the Explorer, Durango and Traverse »

Details: 2015 Ford Explorer

The 2015 Ford Explorer seats up to seven and comes with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. A 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. The Explorer comes in base, XLT, Limited and Sport trims, and hasn’t changed much for 2015. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 to 2015 model years.

See 2015 Ford Explorer specs »

Review Last Updated: 9/15/14

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