Farther back in the driveline came a new independent rear suspension, the benefits of which included improved ride quality and much more compact packaging. This move allowed the rear floor to be dropped 7 inches, making a third row of seats possible. Rear drive was standard, and Control Trac four-wheel drive (with low-range gearing) was optional. By 2003, an automatic all-wheel-drive system was added to the options list.
In general, the Explorer has been reliable. Both engines are mature and durable. But a significant number of reports cite transmission problems, particularly with the 2002 model. As reported, these are not minor problems, but major transmission blowups, some with as few as 44,000 user-reported miles. One symptom is that the Overdrive light flashes while the vehicle is driven. There are dramatically fewer reports of this problem with 2003 Explorers.
Another common problem is a cracked trim piece below the rear window; reports of this issue, said to cost $1000 to repair, are widespread.
As with any used vehicle, a close check of the service records is warranted, and a thorough test drive should be considered mandatory. If you're eyeing a 2002 model, it would be a good idea to look for transmission problems in particular.
|2002-2005 Ford Explorer|
|Body type ||4-door SUV|
|Drivetrain|| Front engine, RWD/4WD|
|Airbags|| Driver, passenger|
|Engines ||4.0L/210-hp SOHC V-6; 4.6L/239-hp SOHC V-8) |
|Brakes, f/r ||Disc/disc, ABS |
whilesale/retail (est)|| $4150/$8610 (2002 RWD XLT); $12,775/$19,365 (2005 4WD Limited)|
|Recalls|| Too many to list; see
|NHTSA frontal impact rating, driver/pass|| Five stars/five stars|