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Avg. Price Paid:$10,730 - $14,771
Original MSRP: $26,495 - $36,690
MPG: 14 City / 20 Hwy
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2008 Ford Explorer Interior

This interior review was written when the 2008 Ford Explorer was new.

Reviewers are generally pleased with the five-seat (seven-seat optional) Explorer's quiet, comfortable interior and ample cargo room. Comfort features and a quiet cabin have rendered the Explorer a "quite luxurious offering," according to Motor Week.

"The carefully selected materials and sophisticated design" also lead the Detroit Free Press to conclude, "The Explorer maintains its workhorse ability while raising the standard for comfort." U.S. News' Rick Newman observes, "A handsome dash, copious storage, and thoughtful touches like a third-row that folds completely horizontal to keep groceries and supplies from rolling around make the Explorer an appealing family get-about."

Several reviewers also comment on the almost eerily silent cabin. "Considering its vast interior volume and all the opportunities that exist for outside noise to creep inside, the 2008 Ford Explorer is impressively, refreshingly quiet," says Kelley Blue Book. New Car Test Drive similarly observes: "Ford has done an exemplary job of insulating occupants from noise and vibration. The air conditioner is relatively quiet, but it does its job. Conversations are easily heard, the music sounds good, and the mirrors, with their square corners defying intuitive logic, are mercifully quiet, as are the tires."

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Seating

The majority of reviewers are comfortable in the Explorer's cockpit. New Car Test Drive reports, "The seats are at once more supportive and more comfortable than in older Explorers, where we found them a bit hard."

Reviewers point out that passengers have plenty of space. Edmunds says, "Headroom abounds in the first two rows, and second-row legroom is surprisingly generous, even in the three-row configurations." AutoMedia.com points out that the third row "is actually habitable by full-grown adults." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, however, asserts that the interior "handles up to seven adults, but not all of them would be comfortable during long trips," suggesting, "Put the kiddies in the way back."

MSN is among the few reviewers that address visibility, pointing out that "second- and third-row headrests fold forward so they don't partly block rear vision, but thick roof posts hinder outward visibility."

Interior Features

For 2008, the Explorer gets Ford's new Sync system, says Edmunds: "This technology, co-developed by Microsoft, allows drivers to control communication and entertainment devices like cell phones, PDAs, iPods and other MP3 players via voice commands. It is a potentially revolutionary technology and a considerable selling point for the aging Explorer."

The Explorer comes standard with air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows and a message center with temperature display. The Philadelphia Inquirer points out that despite the "SUV character" of the base model, "the Explorer is easy to dress up."

Though most like the interior, one recurring complain is the placement of the door handles. New Car Test Drive explains: "Ford designed the interior door panels so the armrests and door pulls would supplement the impact protection hardware built into the door's innards. Thus, the armrests and door pulls were separated, with the pulls positioned below the armrests. This poor ergonomic positioning makes it a bear to grab hold of the pulls, and they offer too little leverage to make closing the doors easy."

Additional Features

Many reviewers recommend the power fold-flat third-row seat, which is an individual option that is reasonably priced. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains, "Hit a button and you're done. No muss, no fuss, no hassle. If you're 'no bigger than a minute,' as my Grandma always said about me, you'll appreciate not having to climb into the car to get the seat to follow your bidding."

Other individual options include a reverse sensing system, a glass sunroof, and leather seats (optional on the XLT, but standard on the Eddie Bauer and Limited). "The leather looked good," says Edmunds. "Felt good, too."

A Convenience Group package (XLT and Eddie Bauer models only) includes automatic lamps, keyless entry, an electrochromatic mirror, and a message-center compass. An Ultimate Convenience Group package is available on the Eddie Bauer and Limited models, and includes power adjustable pedals with memory and a universal garage door opener. The Ironman Package provides rubber floor mats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a unique 10-way-adjustable driver's seat, a four-way-adjustable passenger seat, leather-trimmed and heated first- and second-row seats, and Ironman logos throughout the cabin.

Cargo

The Family Car states, "An SUV is all about carrying stuff along with people," and deems the Explorer "up to the task." Most reviewers agree. As Motor Week puts it, "Explorer cargo room, always a high point, remains generous." Reviewers like that the seats fold to create a flat cargo floor. The Sacramento Bee writes, "Rear seats easily folded flat to make room for bulky cargo." New Car Test Drive provides details, writing, "The cargo floor is completely flat when all the seats are folded, with almost no forward rise (two degrees as opposed to ten in older models)."

Review Last Updated: 2/18/09

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