Have owned several 4WD vehicles. The Explorer is by far the most civilized, and the independant rear suspension plays a large part of the ride smoothness, cargo capacity, and the ability of the 3rd row seats to fold into the floor. Also the floor is much lower at the rear of the car, compared to those vehicles with a solid axle, so allows easy loading into the cargo area. Highly recommend!
This SUV is one of the best looking on the highway. Clean lines, no blind spots and loads of room. Doesn't look like a Japanese Transformer on steroids!
Have the 4.6 Liter V-8 with 6 speed automatic transmission. Car is peppy and transmission is smooth, with the exception of shift from 1st to 2nd gear from a dead stop. That shift is a little jerky, but all other shifts are smooth. Car has good power and acceleration and 4WD is eary to operate. Highway cruising is excellent with no engine noise and it gets 20 MPG, which is good for any big 4WD vehicle.
Flip down the 3rd row seat and the 2nd row seat and you have loads of space. More than enough for almost any trip. Also has the roof rack, so extra gear can be placed on the roof if needed.
Front seat support & comfort
Have driven from Maryland to Florida and back a couple of times, as well as 3-4 hours trips routinely. Seats are comfortable with no backache and don't have to stop every couple of hours due to fatigue. Could drive and be comfortable all day long.
Warranty, maintenance cost
As I bought this used at CarMax (had 32,000 miles), I bought an extended warrenty for 3 years / 36,000 miles. Did had trouble with the electric third row seats. Both left and right motors failed and had to be fixed. Under warranty was OK, but real cost was about $600.00 each. Avoid the automatic 3rd row seats. Also had the shifter lock up in Park and could not get it to move into gear. First car that ever happened to, and also repaired under warranty. Maintenance is low, with just oil changes and routine items. Highly recommend due to low maintenance schedule and cost.
Seems to wear tires quickly. Have about 78,000 miles and about 1/2 worn out tire set #3. All have been the original recommended tires (BF Goodrich Rugged Trail), so perhaps next time will try another brand. Cannot complain about the ride, noise, grip or handling of the tires though.
Materials & workmanship
Vehicle is well put together. No rattles, squeeks, groans etc. Some of the interior plastics are hard and a little cheap looking, but have worn well and are not scuffed or look bad.