I bought this vehicle after previously owning a 1992 Explorer XLT 4WD V6.
I knew I wanted another Explorer, but didn't think I could afford a 1997. The saleslady was smart enough to head me towards a newer (1997) version than I thought I could afford.
Once I drove it I was hooked. I didn't need to drive anything else.
The plushness of the interior and the classic body lines and simple, yet elegant, trim package were like candy melting in my mouth. It has a smooth, posh ride and excellent suspension especially for how high it sits off the ground.
Although it had most of the features I wanted on it already, it's been fun to put on additional items to make it more customized. I've added running boards, a bug shield, outside window vent visors, a dash topper, custom wood-grain dash pieces and a 12-disc cd player (in the center console.)
My previous Explorer had a V6 and I couldn't believe the difference in power when I drove the 1997 V8. It is so powerful on takeoff that I had to learn how to use the gas pedal all over again on the 1997 Explorer.
The paint is a lovely shade of beige, which is metallic, and has a clear overcoat, which makes it look shimmering gold in certain lights. It's truly a lovely, classy looking vehicle.
Being AWD it can go anywhere, and although I don't do much offroading, I'm not afraid to cheat a little and take the unbeaten path, especially in traffic tie-ups.
The interior items are all easily within reach and the lighted power window buttons are an added extra.
I don't think I could live without the electric powered outside mirrors. No more climbing in and out of the vehicle or asking someone else to adjust the mirrors over and over again. You just flip the lever to the right or left side mirror and adjust your mirrors until they're just right for you to see everything.
The computerized door lock release comes in handy if you want to stop and get gas and just leave the keys in the ignition or the motor running. You're never really locked out!
The air conditioner is EXCELLENT! It will freeze you out within minutes, even in the hottest, humid weather. This "they certainly got right"!
I've already made two trips to Mexico and the ride is outstanding for such a long trip. If you need to stop for a short nap, the front seats adjust electrically and the front seat backs lower manually, to adjust to your desired position.
I didn't care for the choice of Firestone tires that came standard on this Explorer, and now after the big recall, it re-enforces this dislike even more. I've recently replaced all the Firestone tires with Coopers, while waiting for my recall notice.
I've had a lot more repairs and problems with this Explorer than with the previous one I had. I've had to have the transmission rebuilt, at 43,830 miles, even after doing the suggested maintenance. I've had lower ball joints, and all 4 shocks, replaced at 46,542 miles. There's also been a V-link and a 4-wheel drive shaft replaced. With 53,378 miles, I've had my second brake job, and replaced two rotors already, and the mechanics say I'll need another two rotors soon!?!
Geez, maybe I should be offroading!
The gas mileage could sure use some improvement. At 15-16, either road or city it is a bit of a gas hog.
Even with all the problems I would still eagerly buy another Explorer, but I'd make sure and buy the extended warranty. It would have paid for itself with the very first repair.