2012 Ford Explorer Review
Test drivers say that overall, the 2012 Ford Explorer is one of the best affordable midsize SUVs, but they dislike its new Ecoboost engine.
Revewers’ biggest complaints about the 2012 Ford Explorer involve its optional, new-for-2012 four-cylinder Ecoboost engine and its MyFord Touch entertainment interface. Many critics say the optional Ecoboost engine is underpowered, and since it also decreases towing capacity, critics say it isn’t worth the extra cash.
The automotive press is uncovering glitches in the finicky MyFord Touch system. Some mention that it won’t recognize simple voice commands, while others say its touch controls are overly sensitive. As a result, the 2012 Explorer isn’t quite the class leader it was the previous year.
Still, there are plenty of things that the Explorer keeps getting right. Reviewers say that a fully-loaded Explorer out-classes luxury brands like Lincoln with an upscale interior, high-tech features and smooth ride. Plus, they say its V6 engine is lively and capable, and that its four-wheel drive terrain-selector is an advanced system sure to please most light off-roaders.
Despite its quirks, the automotive press feels that the Ford Explorer is still a solid option for shoppers. Just skip the Ecoboost engine and watch out for the skyrocketing prices that come with its coolest features.
Other SUVs to Consider
If you’re in the market for an SUV that delivers true off-road capability along with family-hauling conveniences, you should also take a look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Reviewers say it’s a jack-of-all-trades that’s competent in most situations. Though the Grand Cherokee is more expensive than the Ford Explorer, it also includes more standard features, so shoppers already considering adding options to their base Explorer may find a better value in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Families who can sacrifice a bit of burly boulder-crawling abilities in favor of more comfort and space should check out the Chevrolet Traverse. It has significantly more cargo space than the Ford Explorer, and though it is more expensive than the base Explorer, reviewers say its third row is more comfortable for adults.
Details: Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer comes in base, XLT and Limited trims. It is a car-based crossover SUV and can carry up to seven people. For 2012, Ford added a turbocharged four-cylinder Ecoboost engine, which is optional on all trims. All-wheel drive is also available on all trims.
Because the 2012 Ford Explorer is very similar to the 2011 Explorer, we’ve included some reviewer opinions from previous years.
- "With solid on-road dynamics, decent fuel efficiency and an accommodating, high-class cabin, the 2012 Ford Explorer is a top pick for a large crossover SUV.” -- Edmunds
- "Explorer is a very nice 7-passenger crossover that, unfortunately, is in competition with a lot of other very nice 7-passenger crossovers. It's both competent on-road and more capable off-road than most in this class. … Overall, Explorer strikes a good balance between the rugged character of its predecessor and the car-like dynamics of a modern crossover. If that's what you're looking for in an SUV, Ford has you covered.” -- Consumer Guide
- "Our main reservation, and it’s one that applies to most new Fords, is that it gets pricey when optioned out. Now that this market segment is so crowded, it will be hard to see the Explorer recapturing the sales volumes of yore. But the combination of its all-around goodness, the latent equity in the Explorer name, and the current goodwill factor surrounding Ford will make this new SUV a solid player." -- Car and Driver
- "There you have it. Slow, clumsy, pricey, thirstier than we would have thought, and a packaging disaster, the new Ford Explorer EcoBoost is not a Motor Trend favorite.” -- Motor Trend