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2003 Explorer

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 4.0

Reviewed by 34 users

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Reviews written: 22
View all reviews by porcupine1




My semi-retirement toy


by porcupine1:      Feb 6, 2005 - Updated Nov 18, 2006


Product Rating: 5.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: Too many pro's. just a fun ride
Cons: The 4.6 V8 is really bad on gas, very poor fuel economy.
The Bottom Line: So far I would buy this vehicle again. EXTREME tight turning radius. Rides great, Looks great. BUT Is REALLY BAD ON GAS. That's the V8. The V6 might be better.


I've only had my Explorer for about a week. I find it an absolutely awesome vehicle. It's roomy for the two of us. Kids are all grown up and have they're own families. Now we're able to travel and enjoy a few things. I had my eye on the Explorer for some time as any guy would as his foreseeable 'toy'. Something that a person would really aim for.

The Explorer has NOT disappointed me what so ever. Comfortable seating. Easy to get in and out of. Our daughter just bought the new Escape and my wife had a heck of a time entering an exiting the Escape. We tried the Explorer and it fit us like a glove for every item we could think of. I'm still teasing the kids with the boom-boom of the stereo (with their music).

Everything on the dash is accesable and readable. The only searching I do is for new stuff that I'm still learning. No ash tray? What a coincidence, since I quit smoking 5 weeks previous? My reward with a statement? :)

Haven't had much opportunity to try the 4x4 since we just encountered a thaw but I'm sure it will be just fine. I have an AWD on the company Safari and if that's any indication, then the 4x4 will be awesome. It's a combination AWD/4x4 and it's my first 4x4 (to own).

The power from the 4.6 V8 is something else. Being used to the 3.0Liter Aerostar, walking could be faster. Mind you I found the 4.3 V6 of the Safari fairly quick. But this 4.6 V8 (I can't say the words here) but holy crap? Does that thing move when you want it to. WOW !!!

The ONLY downside with the whole vehicle is that it's a gas guzzler in a very big way. I have myself to blame since I made the sacrifice for wanting a toy. Being a baby-boomer I like V8s. However, I might only have this vehicle for a year or two since we do like to travel. I might downsize to a V6. I only want to buy gas not own shares.

The double tailgate hatch was a welcome surprise. Wife likes it for loading groceries. We have the seven passenger version but might remove third row to get more cubby-whole space for our 'stuff'
I like the full blown chassis and the ride it provides. The roll-over feature does not concern me, since I don't drive like a maniac. I probably drive more sensible than most and that might seem to contradict a previous sentence of liking V8s. I don't use the power, I just like the sound of the rumble and it's nice to know if I DO need it that it's there.

One more very slight negative I prefer the gas door on the driver's side, but I'll get over it being on the passenger side, just one of those things of being used to.

It's roomy (for the two of us)
It rides great (for the size)
It looks great
It's practicle
Awesome creature comforts
Tons of power when you need it.

It's pathetic on fuel even when cruising at 60MPH with cruise on, I literally watched the gas guage drop.

Would I buy it again? Yes, I would buy the same vehicle again in flash, but with a V6 not a V8. While I like the V8 as a fun machine, my fuel economy is more important.

BTW, I did notice a noise during very low labor upon acceloration. dealer said it was nothing. I'm sure it's a loose baffle either in muffler or cat. I'll fix it soon as it's annoying.

==============UPDATE============
Well it's shy 2 years later.
This truck seems to get better with age. The fuel consumption seems to have tamed down, 25.5MPG Canadian.
I've had zero problems with it. That noise previously mentioned was a defective torque converter that the dealer did under warranty. I think they knew about the problem prior and I'm always leary of dealers anyway. I did have a cracked rear spring that was discovred during a brake job. If you do one spring, you do two. Not sure the cause but my Aerostar went through springs as well.

Nothing has changed with respect to performance. The Explorer is still number one with me. If I was to change anything on this vehicle, it would be the color. Black has got to be the hardest color to keep clean. One bird poop or one grain of dust can ruin your day. I do a lot of detailing and the truck is always in pristine condition AND always looks new when sitting in the driveway or at the mall.

About 6 months after I bought the truck I also bought a single MagnaFlow muffler. That gave it that 'sweet' throaty, rumble sound I was looking for (it's a personal thing) It added a slight amount of power and better breathing. My wife hates the muffler LOL

Just last week my wife told me, point blank, that there's no way she'd go into anything smaller. We both love the Explorer and more so as time moves forward.

Two weeks ago 5 of us guys went up north to trim trees and prepare the boats for the winter. Yes, 5 guys in the Explorer plus all our gear. Yes, it was a little cramped. The only person complaining was the very rear passenger seat in the middle. We came across a freak snow blizzard. With the contiuous AWD, I didn't even need the 4x4.

One suggestion: when it comes time to replace your tires, MAKE SURE you get the right tires for the Explorer. Do you research. Your traction and your sticking to the road is only as good as your tire, even a 4x4.

Amount Paid (US$): 20,000
Condition: Used
Model Year: 2003
Model and Options: XLT 4x4
Product Rating: 5.0
Recommended: Yes 
Reliability:  
Build Quality  
Roominess:  
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