Used Car Review

2014 Ford Explorer: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions January 2016

The 2014 Ford Explorer continues with the new, lighter-car-based unit-body platform introduced on the 2011 model. Benefits include an improved ride and better fuel economy. The Explorer can carry up to seven passengers in three rows, tote up to 80.7 cu ft. of cargo with the rear seats folded down and tow up to 5,000 pounds with the standard 3.5-liter V6.

For 2014, the Explorer gets upgraded steering and brakes from the performance-oriented Explorer Sport, and automatic headlamps become standard equipment. The 2014 Ford Explorer is available with an updated, faster-responding MyFord Touch electronic infotainment system that replaces traditional knobs and buttons with steering-wheel controls and a large touchscreen. Also available is the Land-Rover-inspired Terrain Management System for 4-wheel-drive versions, plus technology such as inflatable rear seat belts, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision alert, parallel-parking assist, a blind spot monitoring system and a rear cross-traffic alert system.

The Ford Explorer remains one of the best-selling 7-passenger crossover SUVs, offering a popular mix of practicality and style.

What We Like

SYNC voice-activated infotainment controls; EcoBoost 4-cylinder fuel economy; slick-shifting automatic transmission; Terrain Management System on 4-wheel-drive models; blazing performance on Sport models

What We Don't

High step-in height; body roll in turns; cramped second-row seat; thick windshield pillars block visibility

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

A 3.5-liter V6 is the base engine in the Base, XLT and Limited trims. The 3.5-liter V6 generates 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel. It's teamed solely with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Equipped with front-wheel drive, the 3.5-liter V6 has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, while 4-wheel-drive versions are rated at 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.

An EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo is optional for the Base, XLT and Limited trims. The turbocharged 16-valve 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is rated at 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. On front-wheel-drive versions, the EcoBoost engine is EPA-rated at 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy. The EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo is not available with 4-wheel drive. Premium fuel is recommended.

The Explorer Sport comes with a 365-hp twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that develops 350 lb-ft of torque. Available only with 4-wheel drive and a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Sport's EcoBoost V6 is EPA-rated at 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy. Premium fuel is recommended.

Standard Features & Options

The 2014 Ford Explorer is available in Base, XLT, Limited and Sport trims.

Base standard equipment includes automatic headlamps, hill-start assist, front and rear air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with remote audio controls, remote keyless entry, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder, 17-inch steel wheels, stability and traction control, 3-row seating for seven passengers, cloth upholstery, a power driver's seat, split fold-down second- and third-row bench seats, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, dual front- and side-impact airbags, overhead airbags and power locks, windows and mirrors.

XLT models have a leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel, backup parking sensors, 18-in alloys, a sequential sport shifter, SiriusXM radio, a security system, an outside-temperature display, fog lamps, heated door mirrors and turn-signal mirrors. XLT options include a power lift gate, automatic air conditioning, a rear camera, MyFord Touch with an 8-in center touchscreen, navigation, 8-speaker premium audio, middle-row captain's chairs, a dual-panel power moonroof, leather seats, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, inflatable rear seat belts, a blind spot monitoring system and 20-in alloy wheels.

Choosing the Limited trim adds leather upholstery, a power passenger seat, heated front seats, a memory driver's seat, automatic air conditioning, a garage-door opener, a rear cargo net, adjustable pedals, 20-in alloy wheels, MyFord Touch touchscreen controls for audio and climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, SYNC voice-activated infotainment, electronic gauges, remote starting, a 12-speaker Sony premium audio system and a rear camera. Available options include a power lift gate, adaptive cruise control, heated second-row seats, rain-sensing wipers, middle-row captain's chairs, active park assist, a power-folding third-row seat and a security system.

The aptly named Sport trim features the 365-hp twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, 4-wheel drive, heated leather seats, a rear camera, a 12-speaker premium audio system, a sport suspension, a black grille and 20-in wheels. Optional is a rear center console and 2-tone leather seats.

Pricing

Ford's car-based 2014 Explorer continues to be a hit with families looking for a large 3-row crossover with carlike ride and handling. All-wheel drive is a popular option in cold-weather states, so expect to pay more for Explorers that are better equipped.

To get a good idea of the 2014 Explorer's price range, check out KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see which models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

At the time this report was conducted, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had issued no recalls for the 2014 Explorer.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA gave the 2014 Explorer a 5-star overall rating, with five stars in both frontal and side impacts and four stars for rollover performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2014 Explorer Good ratings for side and rear impacts, roof crush and moderate-overlap front impacts but only a Marginal rating for small-overlap front impacts.

Ford sold the 2014 Explorer with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, a 5-year/unlimited-distance corrosion-perforation warranty and 5 years/60,000 miles of roadside assistance.

Ford certified pre-owned vehicles can't be more than 5 years old or have more than 80,000 miles. Every certified pre-owned Explorer undergoes a 172-point inspection. Each receives a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and has powertrain coverage for 7 years or 100,000 miles -- whichever occurs first. Also included is a vehicle-history report and roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2014 Chevrolet Traverse -- Like the Explorer, Chevy's Traverse can seat seven. Its second-row seat slides fore and aft, and the third-row seats can accommodate adults. Cargo space tops the Explorer's. Safety gear includes optional lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems. The 288-hp 3.6-liter V6 is rated to tow up to 5,200 pounds.

2014 Toyota Highlander -- Toyota's largest crossover is roomier for 2014, with fresh styling, a sportier ride and room for up to eight passengers. It offers a fuel-saving 187-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder base model and a gas-electric hybrid version. Most buyers will opt for the peppy 3.5-liter V6 that packs 270 hp.

Autotrader's Advice

If you're into performance, by all means check out the 365-hp twin-turbo Explorer Sport. Otherwise, we'd advise choosing a reasonably well-equipped XLT that comes with the conventional audio and climate controls, although the newest version of the MyFord Touch infotainment system is less buggy. We'd stick with the naturally aspirated V6, as the EcoBoost 4-cylinder only generates good mileage if driven gently. If you opt for a Limited or other Explorer with the MyFord Touch infotainment system, make sure that it's had all the software updates. Look for lower-mileage vehicles when possible. Also, going with a Ford certified pre-owned vehicle is always a wise choice.

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Used 2014 Ford Explorer FWD XLT
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Used 2014 Ford Explorer 4WD Limited
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 Ford Explorer: Used Car Review - Autotrader