2012 Ford Explorer Limited 2WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V6 Overview
2012 Ford Explorer Overview
You can’t just go to a Ford dealer and decide you’re going to buy an SUV. Ford, a worldwide leader in truck design, has about as wide a range of crossovers and SUVs as you can imagine, from the compact Ford Escape to the massive Ford Expedition. Closer to the truck side of the range, but not as big as the Expedition, is the Ford Explorer. If Goldilocks were trying out Ford SUVs in the Three Bears garage, the Ford Explorer is probably the one she’d be driving away.
While the Ford Expedition may be a little too truck-like for some, the Explorer has all the features you look for in a bigger SUV while still retaining an appealing car-like quality, thanks in part to its unibody chassis and more compact design. The result is an SUV that drives and handles more like a car.
The downside, of course, is that you don’t get quite as much room on the inside. There’s a third row, and you can fit seven passengers, but not with quite as much stretching room as some of the others. Similarly, you can fit a fair amount of cargo in the Explorer, but a big family with multiple bags could push it to the limit. The Explorer comes in three models; the base model, the XLT and the Limited edition.
New for 2012
The Ford Explorer mostly carries over from 2011 in this model, but you will notice a new EcoBoost turbocharged engine option.
Although the Ford Explorer is a full-size SUV, it has a compact, appealing shape that makes it look something like a tall car, with a slightly softer version of the classic Ford grille. On the Base model, you’ll find 17-inch steel wheels with all-season tires, a rear spoiler, a roof rack, tinted glass, a fixed liftgate window, and a rear liftgate door. Upgrading to the XLT gets you 18-inch painted alloy wheels, while the Limited edition has 20-inch painted alloy wheels. Options include roof rail crossbars, a dual panel moonroof and a power liftgate.
Interior & Cargo
While the 2012 Ford Explorer isn’t the biggest SUV around, it’s big enough to seat seven, with plenty of room and comfort in the front and second rows, although the third row is probably best reserved for kids or short trips. Reclining rear seats adds to the comfort level.
As for cargo space, there should be more than enough for most Ford Explorer owners’ needs, with 20 cubic feet of space normally and as much as 80.7 cubic feet available with all the rear seats out of the way. When necessary, the 2012 Ford Explorer can tow as much as 5000 lbs.
The interior of the Ford Explorer is attractive and comfortable, and offers features such as a six-way power driver seat, cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and six-speaker stereo with CD player. Upgrading to the XLT gets you leather on the steering wheel and shift knob, the Sync electronics interface and satellite radio. Interior upgrade options include MyFord Touch for electronics control, with two display screens, dual zone climate control, eight-speaker sound, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats with power lumbar support, and power-folding third row.
The 2012 Ford Explorer has the innovative second row seatbelt airbags, which can give families a bit of extra piece of mind. Integrated blind spot mirrors are another comforting safety feature not found on all SUVs. There is also an optional blind spot warning system with cross-traffic alert.
Other safety features on the 2012 Ford Explorer: Front and rear ventilated disc brakes, stability and traction control, dual front side-mounted airbags and front, second row and third row airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, child seat anchors, and rear child safety locks.
The 2012 Ford Explorer’s car-like body gives you a lot more control and flexibility than you might expect from an SUV. This vehicle is as at home flying down the freeway as it is coming around the corner onto a neglected back road. The electronic power steering works great and gives you terrific feel when you’re behind the wheel.
The engine featured in the 2012 Ford Explorer is a 3.5-liter V-6 that generates 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. This engine is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission, and with front-wheel drive, you get an estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway. All-wheel drive is optional on all models, but drops you to 17/23 mpg.
You can also opt for the EcoBoost engine, designed to give you six-cylinder power with four-cylinder fuel economy. This turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine gets you a respectable 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, while offering a boosted estimated gas mileage of 20/28 mpg city/highway.
Key Competitors of the 2012 Ford Explorer
- Dodge Durango
- Mazda CX-9
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
Ford has made some changes to the Explorer for 2012 that are most definitely worth noting. Central to the changes is the fact that the 2012 Ford Explorer now uses a car like chassis as opposed to a truck like chassis. This new concept is thought to give the SUV a more comfortable and stable ride. On top of all that, the Explorer also has a stylish interior that can fit seven passengers with many electronic features. The three trim levels are still the Base, XLT and Limited. If you are serious about buying a 2012 Ford Explorer you should be able to get your hands on one for between $28,000 and $38,000.