2012 Explorer Review - The Car | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

2012 Explorer Review - The Car


Active Member
June 7, 2011
Reaction score
Year, Model & Trim Level
2012 XLT 4WD
I have had my 2012 Explorer for a whole week today. This past weekend we went on a 400 mile round trip. This is my review of the car,
I will post another review of the in vehicle technology (IVT).

For the record I have a 2012 XLT Explorer with 205A rapid spec. Added NAV, TOW, and BLIS

I skipped the sunroof, it was expensive and I never use one anyway.
I skipped the powerlift gate, manual seems faster to me
I skipped the power 3rd row, manual is faster and simple and one less thing to break

Most of our driving during the week has been local stop and go type travel, this was the first long distance travel since we got the
Explorer. The ride was fantastic. Very smooth ride and quiet. We had 4 people in the car and everyone was more then comfortable
within the roomy cabin. Car handled very nice. I have to get used to being up higher, we are coming from a sedan car and you feel much
higher, which we love. I tried out the cruise control and worked well. I did not get the adaptive cruise control, that is too much automation
for my taste. Air conditioning worked very well. After leaving the A/C on max for a little while we had to back it off as it was too cold. The BLIS and
cross traffic alert systems are wonderful and were very useful on this trip, especially the BLIS. I think the cross traffic alert system is extremely
sensitive as I was backing out of the garage it notified my of an obstruction coming from the right...made sense since my other car was parked there.
Absolutely love the large rear view camera, best I have seen/used. Every time we parked, I backed into the spot and parked perfect every time, the rear view camera is a must have option, IMHO. I had the opportunity to do some very light 4 wheel driving on a hilly/bumpy wet grassy terrain, no problem I put the car in grass/gravel/snow mode and no issues. It was not challenging terrain and I am sure the 2WD/normal mode would have handled it, but I got the feature and Im going to use it.
I also had a chance to test out the hill descent and it definitely worked, the engine helped slow the car down.

There is one feature on the car I do not like the way it is implemented. I do not like the auto unlock feature, it kinda sucks. At first I thought it was broken, but after looking in the manual it was working as stated. In order for the doors to auto unlock you need to have been driving 12mph or more, come to a stop, place the car in park, then turn off the ignition and remove the key(or place in accessory mode) AND open the drivers door! This works if you get to your destination and everyone gets out,but if you want to
stop and unload...the doors will not unlock. I did this several times at the hotel where I would stop the car then get out with car running to unload bags only to have the tailgate locked. I had to walk back the drivers seat and hit the unlock button. I think the doors should unlock when that car is placed in park and that's it. At a minimum the auto unlock should be
configurable so I can set it the way I want. Its a minor issue, but I dont like it.

Other then that the car works well and I am very happy with it, we love it. Functionally I could not find anything wrong with the car. I tried hard accelerations, quick stopping, brisk turning, rough terrain, and generally anything I could try I did and the car works fine. I found no functional issues, at least on this trip. This is my first Ford car ever and I am very satisfied at this point.

There was a post by another user regarding a list of items that other folks have brought up for the 2011MY so I will try to touch on all of these:
Note: I tried to look at all of these issues on my 2012MY, some will be next to impossible to replicate, so my comments are definitely not a comprehensive review of these issues. Just a perspective of one
2012MY owner.

A) Transmission Problems: No problems for me so far.
B) Rain Noise: We had some light rain on the return trip. There was no indication of unusual noise associated with rain.
C) Vibration in accelerator pedal, steering wheel: None for me in either the pedal or the steering wheel.
D) Overheating: No, watched temp during ride, not even close to overheating.
E) Burnt oil smell during hard acceleration: No smell, except that new car smell. Tried hard acceleration several times.
F) A Pillar Issues (whistling, rattle, peeling trim, etc): None, no noise, checked the A Pillar when I got home, not even loose.
G) Windshield Wind Noise: None, nothing unusual.
H) Power Steering Issue: No, but the issue is concerning.
I) Brake Squeal: None
J) Popping noises when turning: None
K) Glove box rattle: None
L) Heat setting off 4 way flashers: No, hottest day was 90 and humid, not sure this is hot enough. This is impossible to test.
M) Streaky windows: No streaks, played with all 4 windows through out the trip.
N) Liftgate Fit and Finish: No problems, looks correct. I would not accept delivery if there was an issue, would be obvious.
O) Torque Steer: No issues
P) Antenna (Satellite Nav Issues & AM/FM Reception): Satellite(radio and nav)/AM/FM reception was fine, no issues for me.
Q) Microphone "Wind Tunnel" Noise: No.
P) Inability to turn off rear hatch light, when hatch is open: TBD, did not try or test this.

I am happy with the car so far. I would buy it again and would recommend it to anyone. Oh, and when we got home waiting for me was a full set of husky liners (1st/2nd/3rd rows, behind 3rd row and cargo liner). Wish I had them for the trip, but missed it by a day.

As I said earlier I will post a separate review of the IVT, hopefully tonight...

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Very nice, well written review. Glad you like your Ex! :thumbsup:

Very well written and I'm looking forward to the tech write-up. I'd like to know how you like your Husky mats as I prefer the weather tech brand but they don't offer a matt for behind the third row.

Thanks for the writeup and we'll keep our fingers crossed for when our 2012 LMT arrives. But seeing all the 2011 issues still makes us very nervous, especially w/ MFT 2.11 still having issues.

Again...thx for taking the time to share your experiences so far :-)) And good luck!

Great review, very informative, I hope all others as you get you 2012my ex's do the same, I know I will, you lean so much from everyone, can't wait to get the new ltd, maybe by hte ned of the month. Thanks Again

...I am happy with the car so far. I would buy it again and would recommend it to anyone. Oh, and when we got home waiting for me was a full set of husky liners (1st/2nd/3rd rows, behind 3rd row and cargo liner). Wish I had them for the trip, but missed it by a day.

As I said earlier I will post a separate review of the IVT, hopefully tonight...
What a great write-up! I’m glad you’re loving your new Explorer. :)


Border Explorer - with respect to rain noise, any chance you can check like this guy did, by just tapping as shown:

Sound before he fixed - for light finger tapping it is pretty loud:


Okay, I tried this and I suppose it sounds the same. Not sure if I notice much of a difference pre-fix and post-fix. We have some real rain now, so I took my explorer out to give it a real test. Guess what? I can hear rain noise. But let me qualify that but saying I was focused and specifically listening for this. I dont think I ever tried to focus on rain noise. Yeah, I can hear rain noise, sounds more pronounced when stopped as opposed to driving and it sounded louder from the rear as opposed to above the windshield which is what I believe the problem area was. But to be honest with you it really is not all that distracting. Its definitely not remotely noticeable with the radio on low volume or talking to someone. I dont think the cabin is designed to be sound proof. If I mute my TV right now and focus...I can hear rain noise on the roof of my house. I dont see what all the fuss is about. I would not consider this a "real" problem in my opinion.

That sounds like its been fixed then .... or at worst it is a random occurrence.

Some people were asking what all the fuss was about until they actually heard it.

Thank you for the update!!