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2012 Limited Ecoboost Owner Detailed Review

thinkthis

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FORD 2012 LIMITED ECOBOOST REVIEW

I've leased a fully loaded 2012 Limited Ecoboost for about two months and put about 1800 miles on it. I live in West LA, which has some of the worst city traffic in the US. In terms of mileage it just torture. There are hills everywhere (I live on a pretty steep one) and you never make it more than one green light before having to wait at the next one. Here is my review of my experience so far, with a focus on the Ecoboost engine.

CITY MILEAGE OVERVIEW

Despite the terrible conditions I still get about 15-16 in the city, which is higher than I was expecting (for comparison my Camry Hybrid got about 22-23MPG doing the same sort of driving). When I've driven late at night with low traffic and have actually hit two green lights in a row I have gotten around 20MPG in the city, so I know it is possible, but you will likely get less if you find yourself stopping often. Still, I am amazed that just a few years ago
a vehicle this heavy would be lucky to get this kind of mileage going in a straight line at 55mph.

DRIVING THE ECOBOOST AROUND TOWN

I'm not going to lie and say that the Ecoboost is tremendously fun to drive at low speeds around the city, but it isn't a problem either. I guess I would describe the whole thing as a bit hesitant when it comes to moving forward. I have absolutely no problems with power or merging onto the freeway, even with my wife and two kids with luggage, but going from 15 to 25MPH when I want to pass someone definitely isn't as smooth as I'm used to. Power isn't a problem in the city though and I'm going 60 by the time the freeway on-ramp is done without any complaints from the engine.

This kind of looks like a negative review of city driving, but my wife and I have both commented at times how much more we enjoy driving our Explorer, even in the city, than we did our absolutely numb Camry Hybrid. That car isn't the benchmark for fun driving, but it isn't the worst and should give you some idea of where we are coming from. The ecoboost is by no means at the bottom of the pack when it comes to driving around town.

FREEWAY OVERVIEW

As you can see I don't put that many miles on the explorer (around 900 a month). Most of the mileage from our cars typically come from road trips, which I'm expecting to rack up on the Explorer this holiday season. It is an 800 mile trip (one way) to see my siblings or my wife's family (who of course live in different states from each other in opposite directions. The few 100 mile trips I've taken with the family in this baby have been superb, so I'm expecting things to go well. The drive on the freeway is smooth and quiet, I have no problems passing, and even with a full car we get around 26-27MPG pretty consistently. The EPA was not stretching on the freeway mileage because I can get a steady 28 by setting cruise control at 65 without any problems (of course I drive a bit faster than that).

I do a 100 mile drive from LA to Bakersfield occasionally and there are some steep grades in between here and there (we live around sea level and it climbs to around 4400 feet at Tejon Pass). I don't feel like there is a whole lot of *extra* power on tap when climbing, but just for kicks I've tried accelerating while going up some of the steeper grades and even with a car with two adults and two children the transmission just downshifts and the Explorer picks up speed without any complaints. Again, it is clear I'm not in a BMW M5, but I've concluded after the last two months of driving that the engineers at Ford knew what they were doing. Sure I wish I was driving a V6 Ecoboost (what man wouldn't), but this thing has plenty of power (not extra, but plenty).

EXTRAS

One of the reason we chose a new Explorer over other models was the extra features. Getting a limited and adding the more expensive option package quickly increase the price of the vehicle from the reasonable base model, but we've really considered most of them indispensable. The Xenon lights and auto wipers are fun, but probably not that important. I could even do without the moon roof, although it is a nice one. Some things I have really, really enjoyed, even in my short two months:

Auto Cruise Control

This is one of those things you can't believe you have lived without once you get it. It just works. Even if the car in front of you slams on their brakes the Explorer will slam on its brakes without any input from you. It will go all the way down to 15 MPH before turning off. Driving on the 405 without this feature makes cruise control pointless, given the constant sudden slowdowns.

Heads Up Display Distance Warning
On this same note, the heads display alarm that goes off when the car thinks you need to brake is also great. I've had it activate twice on me and both times I was grateful for the warning and braking assistance. No human can be focused at 100% all of the time and the alarm is just another nice little boost to my sense of safety.

BLIS

More and more cars are getting this feature (you can get it on the 2012 Camry for example) and I really, really love it. Especially in a big car like the Explorer, the blind spot indicator is another thing that just works. I look over my shoulder when changing lanes and those little lights have definitely kept me from changing lanes when someone was in my blind spot. This feature should be in every car in America.

Seats

Apart from the niceties of sitting on air conditioned or heated perforated leather, these are the most comfortable car seats I have ever sat my tush on. They are the perfect blend of soft and supportive. My wife has back problems and the first thing she noticed about the Explorer when we test drove it (and it remains true to this day) is how truly awesome the seats are. As far as I'm concerned they need to give everyone who helped design those seats a bonus and then fire them, because further tweaking would only diminish their awesomeness. This is not in your face comfortable that feels good at first but starts to hurt after a while. This is just plain comfortable.


CONCLUSION

All in all we've really been happy with our Explorer. I haven't talked about the auto fold seats or any number of things everyone on these forums already knows about. I've had two MFT resets while driving, both of which sorted themselves out in about 2 minutes, but that's about it. If MFT is twice as fast after the next update like they claim it will be that will address my main problem with it. Everything else has worked flawlessly. Considering how complicated vehicles are these days and how many things can go wrong that's saying a lot.

Would I lease it again over some other, very tempting options? I would. Would I get the ecoboost again? Really the difference in power and mileage between the V6 and Ecoboost isn't really that tremendous, but I probably would. It means we can go that much farther in the too small tank than we could in the V6 and in the end, that was the final push into this model for both me and my wife. If they had exactly what we wanted (color and options) in a V6 but not the Ecoboost we would likely have gone that route, but we aren't disappointed with our choice (we don't plan on towing anything so that wasn't a consideration).

In case you hate reading and skipped to the end of this review, here is a short list of a few things we really enjoy about our Explorer and some things Ford could improve:

Cons:
  • Driver footwell is too small
  • MFT needs to be much faster and responsive (hopefully the next update speeds things up like they claim it will)
  • Gas tank needs to be larger (In my opinion, 17 gallons is not enough for a vehicle that gets less than 30 freeway)
  • They need to fix the sound problems with the microphone at freeway speeds. Voice commands are useless past around 40MPH for us. I'm generally not using voice commands on the freeway, but this problem is ridiculous.

Pros:
  • Safety features work great - BLIS, Auto Cruise Control, Brake Assist
  • THE SEATS
  • Quiet on the freeway
  • Smooth and polished ride
  • Freeway mileage
 


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thinkthis

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I should also add that since we have a warranty that matches the three year term I leased the explorer for, reliability of the turbochargers just wasn't a concern. We don't really drive the car that hard so I'm really not that worried about it. That being said. I won't be that worried about it if we decide to buy at the end of the lease.

People have bad things to say about turbocharger reliability, but there is a reason they have never been sold on the scale they are penetrating the market today and that is because the technology has improved significantly in the last few years and they are finally ready for prime time. This is not an exotic and complicated add on that it used to be. Car companies would not be putting these engines in bread and butter cars like the Focus and Sonata if it was anything but brain dead stupid to operate and maintain. Just like disel engines, turbochargers have come a long way from their troubled past.
 




maerlim

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Nice review, thinkthis! The seats were a big selling point to my Wife and I also. One thing though, I personally found the "standard" leather seats to be slightly more comfortable than the perforated leather. Did you try both by chance?
 




thinkthis

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I sat in the standard chairs for a few minutes, but not long enough to really notice much of a difference.
 




Riverfords

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Question---

Do you feel the ecoboost motor is "loud" especially at idle? I thought mpg would be higher?? Any thoughts...
 




sdmcwilliams

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Great review. I have the XLT EcoBoost so I don't have all of the fancy tech gizmos but I love it anyways. I adjust my mirrors the correct way so I can't see the vehicle in the side mirrors. There is a seamless transition from when cars are in my rear view mirror to when they are in my side mirrors. This results in no blind spots. When other people drive my vehicles they tell me my mirrors are messed up. I just tell them that they have had their mirrors adjusted incorrectly their whole life.

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/how-to-adjust-your-mirrors-to-avoid-blind-spots

I have noticed the same thing at lower speeds in the City but it really moves when you punch it to get on the interstate.

I have not noticed that it is loud at idle at all.

I drive almost all City near Orlando (80% City/20% Hwy) and I am averaging 20-21 mpg.
 




FordService

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...Cons:
  • They need to fix the sound problems with the microphone at freeway speeds. Voice commands are useless past around 40MPH for us. I'm generally not using voice commands on the freeway, but this problem is ridiculous...
Thanks for taking the time to post this review, thinkthis; great write-up! :D

I want to offer my help with the microphone concern you mentioned by sending the details to the Customer Service Manager in your region. So I can do this, please send a PM with your contact information, VIN, dealer name/state, and approximate mileage.

Cory
 




thinkthis

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Question---

Do you feel the ecoboost motor is "loud" especially at idle? I thought mpg would be higher?? Any thoughts...

What you are hearing is the "clackity clack" of the direct injection 2.0 engine. That's perfectly normal. After getting used to having my hybrid turn off when I pulled up to stop sign or first turned it "on," it was a little weird, but I'm used to it now.

The EPA rated MPG is not that different, only 3MPG higher city/highway. My guess is most people will get the 3 highway, but average about 1.5MPG higher in the city. The fact is that this car weighs a lot and there is not a lot of "wasted" power in the V6. The bigger engine is finely tuned and their is only so much gain that could be obtained by moving to a smaller displacement.

Still, a 10-15% improvement is fine by me and while I had hoped it was more, knowing we are getting the best MPG possible was enough for me. Because we are leasing the cost difference between ecoboost and V6 was almost nonexistent.
 




thinkthis

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Great review. I have the XLT EcoBoost so I don't have all of the fancy tech gizmos but I love it anyways. I adjust my mirrors the correct way so I can't see the vehicle in the side mirrors. There is a seamless transition from when cars are in my rear view mirror to when they are in my side mirrors. This results in no blind spots. When other people drive my vehicles they tell me my mirrors are messed up. I just tell them that they have had their mirrors adjusted incorrectly their whole life.

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/how-to-adjust-your-mirrors-to-avoid-blind-spots

.

Thanks. I've never read that about the mirrors, that's very interesting.

Also, I'm a sucker for tech, what can I say.
 




EX-SV

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Excellent review, very helpful.

thinkthis - What's your opinion of the engine refinement and smoothness when reving under load in the 4000plus rpm range?

btw, this engine is the one and only in new Range Rover Evogue, so it should be reasonably good.
 




beach

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Excellent review, very helpful.

thinkthis - What's your opinion of the engine refinement and smoothness when reving under load in the 4000plus rpm range?

btw, this engine is the one and only in new Range Rover Evogue, so it should be reasonably good.
The engine is good, just not with the weight of the Ex imo. The Evoque and Edge both weigh a lot less, the Evoque is just under 4k lb's. Hence why it's so quick with the engine.
 




EX-SV

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The engine is good, just not with the weight of the Ex imo. The Evoque and Edge both weigh a lot less, the Evoque is just under 4k lb's. Hence why it's so quick with the engine.

Yes, the RR Evoque is 500 or 600 pounds lighter thank Explorer.

I question if the level of refinement (smoothness/NVH especially when running at higher revs) of the turbo4 is suitable for any premium SUV.
 




VinceL

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Great review. I have the XLT EcoBoost so I don't have all of the fancy tech gizmos but I love it anyways. I adjust my mirrors the correct way so I can't see the vehicle in the side mirrors. There is a seamless transition from when cars are in my rear view mirror to when they are in my side mirrors. This results in no blind spots. When other people drive my vehicles they tell me my mirrors are messed up. I just tell them that they have had their mirrors adjusted incorrectly their whole life.

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/how-to-adjust-your-mirrors-to-avoid-blind-spots

I have noticed the same thing at lower speeds in the City but it really moves when you punch it to get on the interstate.

I have not noticed that it is loud at idle at all.

I drive almost all City near Orlando (80% City/20% Hwy) and I am averaging 20-21 mpg.

Thanks for posting that link. People always tell me my mirrors are screwy and I try to explain it to them and it is like staring into the eye of a chicken.

I will now point them to that link!
 




1st explorer

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let me ask you.can you raise you new explorer,can you put performance mods on.can you go to grandmas house over the river and through the woods in the new explorer.just give me old faithful on my 2000 explorer,will beat you there.almost 150k on him.shame on you ford,to take a truck like that and make into a ............
 




Kerrsy

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:rolleyes:A lot has happened in the last decade, since 2000 gas prices have doubled. And most people soon figured out that the one trip they took to Grandma's house every year did not make up for the 99% of the total driving they do to the malls and places they frequent most often. Kudos to Ford for resurrecting the Explorer! I would have never purchased the X without the refinement it has received. BTW, I take my 2008 F350 Superduty to Gma's now, and pull a 40 ft 5th wheel while doing so!:thumbsup:
 




thinkthis

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Excellent review, very helpful.

thinkthis - What's your opinion of the engine refinement and smoothness when reving under load in the 4000plus rpm range?

btw, this engine is the one and only in new Range Rover Evogue, so it should be reasonably good.

I think the engine is at its worst in lower bands. Even with a relatively full car I find that the engine is more than adequately refined under higher RPMs.
 




EX-SV

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I think the engine is at its worst in lower bands. Even with a relatively full car I find that the engine is more than adequately refined under higher RPMs.

Good feedback, thanks. No wonder Range Rover decided to use this in the $40K+ new Evoque.
 




1st explorer

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kudos,am a old school guy'sometimes life passes you buy.look at the space from bronco to explorer.best of luck with your explorer,all my best mike
 




Spengracin

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Great review
 


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