If not the Explorer, then what? | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

If not the Explorer, then what?




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!
.





My Ex, JGC, Durango comparison

Hello all,

My wife and I just finished taking some sit, touch, poke and fiddle time in the Explorer, Grand Cherokee, and Durango. I thought I would add my input seeing as we were able to sit in all 3 one right after the other.

We just sat in the cars on the lot, none were turned on beyond basic functionality, so this excursion was more to get impressions based on interior comfort and roominess, fit and finish, and overall impression. We ultimately will buy a 3 row vehicle for the few times we will be hauling more people, so the JGC is thrown in more for interior quality evaluation. All vehicles had leather interiors.

We sat in the Durango (Citadel), JGC, and Explorer (XLT) in that order. My wife is about 5'5" and I am 5'11" for reference. Keep in mind that these are just opinions of course and highly subjective.

Comfort and Roominess:

The Durango was pleasantly roomy inside. There was a good amount of room in the second row and the third row was more spacious than I thought, with my wife able to recline her second row seat and still leaving me a spot of knee room. I also liked the fact that the 3rd row gets outboard arm rests. My wife got the distinct impression of sitting in a large vehicle, but that the interior felt smaller to her. Both of us found the seats somewhat less comfortable than we would like (overly firm, which is odd because I prefer firmer seating). One thing I did like is the side bolstering in the front seats. Everything was in easy reach for the both of us. Arm rests were in the proper positions and comfortable, though I would have liked the front center armrest to be a little bit longer, or at least adjustable by 1 or 2 inches forward for maximum comfort.

The JGC was much the same as the Durango, as would be expected. Again, the seats were a bit firm for us.

The Explorer felt roomier inside to us, and less claustrophobic. The third row felt ever so slightly smaller, with the second row touching my knees when my wife reclined the seat, but she also said that she didn't feel the need to recline the seat in the first place to be comfortable (I had asked her to recline it to compare the the Durango). I do not like the fact that the 3rd row does not have real armrests. The cup holders are nice, but the storage bin is not a comfortable place to rest ones elbow! We found the seating to be much more comfortable in the Ex. The seats themselves were softer and fit us better. Like the Durango, everything is in easy reach. The armrests were positioned well for us, though I would still like an adjustable one, because I like options. The armrests were also very soft and comfortable.

Fit and Finish:

The Durango and JGC had very nicely finished interiors. I would not have ever thought a Chrysler product could have a nice interior. I will give them credit for creating a welcoming and seemingly well crafted interior. Many surfaces were soft touch and nicely textured. The first two rows had a very nice ambiance. The 3rd row was a another story. The large panels in the back covering the C and D pillars, and the right and left sides of the seating area were hard, poorly finished (with flash around the edges), poorly fitted with irregular gaps all around, and loose. This was in stark contrast to the rest of the car. Seeing as we wouldn't use the 3rd row that much, it isn't such a big deal, but a letdown nevertheless. Most of the switch gear was of good quality, save the knob which I assumed controlled the volume of the stereo. It wobbled and felt like a piece of crap. It was definitely out of place. The rest had a good feel and simple, attractive design. Oh yeah, they are real buttons! Something MFT could really use. The leather in the cars we sat in was slippery and awful feeling, but that was more the fault of the dealership, as they had sprayed everything with Armour All as best we could tell. What a shame. The leather felt comparable to other vehicles we have sat in. Not especially soft to the touch, but not bad either. I didn't see or feel a difference in the Nappa leather.

The Ex also had a nicely finished interior. On average, I would say the Ex's interior showed a more consistent interior quality. The Durango and JGC had areas where they really shone, but while the Ex's interior didn't have those highs necessarily, it also didn't have the lows. The panel textures of the Ex were pleasant to the eye and a good number were nice and soft. Panel fit and finish was good, with nice even gaps and no flash or other unfinished edges. The dash did not seem to flow into the doors as well as it could, mostly due to slight alignment issues (as has been noted in other threads). The Durango and JGC did not seem to exhibit this trait. The buttons, what ones there were, had a nice feel, design and function. I tended to prefer the steering wheel design of the Durango, my wife preferred the Ex. The leather was of okay quality, comparable to the Durango and JGC.

Overall impression:

We walked away from the Durango and JGC impressed, so much more so due to our low expectations. We did not expect to find such fine interiors on the vehicles. Overall, they presented a richly appointed ****pit, with quality materials and craftsmanship (barring the atrocious 3rd row). Having said that, the interior also had a dated look, bordering on boring. It was minimalistic in a number of ways, avoiding the uber-futuristic space ship interior that some cars have these days, but it could have used a bit more excitement (lol, sounds like a brochure now!). While roomy in actuality, it didn't give the impression of being roomy. The cars just didn't seem to fit us very well.

The Ex strikes us as a more rounded vehicle. The interior had good fit and finish with good quality materials. This consistency was marred only by a few flaws. The interior had a more modern appearance without going overboard, but with all those LCD screens, it easily could have. The interior felt roomy, and was comfortable, even if it might be smaller than the Durango or JGC according to the ruler.

In conclusion:

For us, we concluded that the Explorer fit our needs better. We found the interior more attractive and the seats more comfortable. It had plenty of space for our needs, and felt more spacious inside. Also, the wife likes the exterior look of the Explorer better, and seeing as it will be her car, there you are! lol. I actually liked the look of the Durango R/T better, but I still like the look of the Ex too.

In addition, we like the technology content of the Explorer. I still would prefer real buttons and knobs, but hopefully Ford will work out the kinks in MFT. Too bad the Ex doesn't use Garmin nav tech like the Durango does.

Another consideration is fuel economy. We will be studying this closely in the future as my wife's 70 mile per day commute tends to use a lot of gas. For this reason, the ecoboost looks interesting, but the performance of the V6 is appealing. By the time we buy, a good sampling of data for all engines should be available for comparison.

We aren't looking to buy until summer 2012 (we like to start shopping early!) and will consider 2012 and 2013 model year vehicles. We will definitely drive both vehicles with all available engine options just to make sure of our choice. With any luck, waiting longer to buy will allow both manufacturers to improve their respective vehicles (mainly Ford to get MFT right!), something that we will benefit from either way.

Next time we will do a thorough walk around and evaluate the exteriors of the cars for fit, finish, and overall quality.

Happy Driving.
 






We have been struggling with this issue and every time we think we will choose a specific vehicle we find something that changes our mind. We started out totally unaware of the Ford Explorer, found it, liked it, read all the negatives and took it off our list. However, since everything else also has negatives we are now back to seriously considering the Explorer.

Let me start out by saying that we started out wanting a vehicle with modern safety features. We would not consider a vehicle without adaptive cruise control and wanted collision avoidance, preferably one that would brake and not just warn. Having a vehicle that would seat at least 6 was not an absolute necessity but preferable. We need at least one vehicle that will seat 6 although we only need this occasionally. We have a Nissan Quest that will seat 7 so that is covered. But it is 7 years old and will need to be replaced in a couple of years. So if we get a 5 person vehicle now then we will have to get a 6 or 7 seater next time.

We also need room to have at least 1 large dog crate in the back and preferably the ability to have 3 with the seats down. Prefer AWD but not necessarily required.

Oh - I've compromised on color the last 3 cars I've had and I won't do it this time. Must come in red.

What we looked at:

BMW X5 - Great looking and I have a friend with one so have often ridden in it and find it nice. However, we didn't want to spend more than mid-$50s. Has option for 7 person seating but back row seat is tiny and no storage behind it.

Acura MDX - Really seriously considered this one. Has the 3rd row of seats. Surprisingly room. Nice drive. With the advance package it was mid $50s so top of the range. However, its "red" is really a very dark color that I didn't love. Worse, it only comes with a light colored interior which I didn't like. The MDX is at the end of it product cycle and the interior seems dated in some ways. Still, it might have been a contender if there were any dark cherry pearls one to be had. The dealer said they wouldn't have the 2012 until January at the earliest. We considered waiting until next fall and seeing the next generation.

Lexus RX 350
- I really thought we would get this one. Only seats 5 but otherwise had a lot of safety features and I really liked the interior. Also, we had an RX 300 that was a great vehicle for us so have a lot of positive feelings about the Lexus. It was really at the top of our price range. Has a HUD, but no blind spot monitoring which was a negative. We were OK with that, but it turns out their pre-collision system does not warn at all. It simply tightens seat belts and gives brake support when you brake. The system does not warn you of a potential collision so that was a deal breaker for us.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland -- We really liked this. The interior is great looking and we enjoyed driving it. Seats were a little firm. A minor point but I liked that you could transfer music and pictures to a hard drive rather than have to play music off my iphone. It's collision warning system is only a warning system. Not only does it not brake for you, it does not even precharge the brakes. I was also worried about resale value and reliability.

Dodge Durango Citadel -- We liked the way it drove. But the interior was just not nice enough. Too much plastic, too plain. Also the cargo area seemed very narrow. Just didn't excite us.

Lincoln MKX -- We liked it a lot. However, we weren't sure it was worth the premium over the Edge. Also, most everything that made us take the Explorer off our list initially meant we took any Lincoln or Ford off the list.

Ford Edge - If we wanted a 5 person Ford product then this seems a better deal than the MKX. But if we are going to buy a Lincoln or Ford product then rather have the Explorer.

Lincoln MKT - Didn't love the exterior styling but has 3rd row. Supposedly red is late availability. Dealer was supposed to inquire how late is late but we never heard back from him. Anyway, like the Explorer more.

Toyota Sienna - Most minivans didn't have the safety features we wanted but the Sienna had adaptive cruise control and collision warning. I didn't really love it but it seemed to best meet our needs and I thought we would get it since it had the 3rd row seat and lots of storage space. Then I saw the crash test results for 2011 which gave 2 stars to the front passenger. That was just a deal breaker for us. One option we have is to wait and see if the 2012 does better but don't really want to have to wait for months and then have it not do any better and then still have to find something.

Volvo XC70 and Volvo XC60 - These are still in the hunt. They had all the safety features we were interested in plus others. I liked that you could also get lane departure warning and City Safety. A part of me really, really wants to order one of these. My husband prefers the XC70 while I prefer the XC60. The XC70 has wider cargo area but the XC60 is a little taller (good for dog crates). I also like the styling of the XC60 more. Availability is difficult. The XC70 comes in red but there aren't any 2012s to be had anywhere near here in any color, let alone red. The XC60 has a little bit better availability not not in red. To get red the only standard way to do it is to order R-Design which then leads to two tone seats that are ugly and cost several thousands more. You can get a non-R-design in red but you have to use overseas delivery and go to Sweden for the car (financially it works out OK but is sort of a pain) or you can get R-design with solid black seats but, again, have to go to Sweden. We are still on the fence. We love the safety features of the Volvos but would have to order and delivery times seem to mostly run 4 to 6 months which is a long time to wait. And it would mean giving up the third row of seating. The Volvo XC90 has 3 rows of seating but is dated and doesn't have all the safety features.

Explorer -- We initially were going to look at the Edge and decided to look at the Explorer. I didn't want anything too large or trucklike so was reluctant at first but really enjoyed it when I drove it. I thought it was strange that the dealer as a matter of policy didn't have the SD navigation cards in any vehicles so I couldn't see the navigation system. Later, I researched and found out about all the MyFord Touch issues. We were concerned about that hurting resale down the line. Also, saw negative reports about blind spots and that bothered us. So we started looking elsewhere.

At this point it is between a Ford Explorer, Volvo XC60 or Jeep Grand Cherokee. The big advantage of the Explorer is the 3rd row. The advantage of the Volvo is its safety features and no performance negatives. The advantage of the Grand Cherokee is immediate availability (there is one that is exactly what I want that is available), price and none of the controversy of the Explorer. However, the Grand Cherokee has no 3rd row, I am worried about resale value, and its safety features are not as good as the Explorer. Negative of the Volvo is no 3rd row and long time to wait to get it.

If I can find an Explorer immediately available we will probably go that way. If we have to order one....just not sure what we will do.
 






Hi Koshka,

The Ex does have the BLIS option and standard fisheye side mirror inserts to keep you covered on the blind spots. My experience in the car was that the blind spots weren't too bad, compared to some of the others I drove. I'm with you on the 3rd row. I don't need it, but if I'm getting a car this size, I want it. If I want a 5-seater, I'll go down a size. :)

The good thing about MFT is that Ford recognizes problems with it, they have representatives on this board who are very helpful getting problems escalated, and they're working on it. Whether they can fix everything reliably remains to be seen, so you'll have to decide for yourself if you think they can, but at least it seems they have resources on it and they're trying.

As far as finding one in red, the dealer closest to me in St. Louis has 3 red ones on the lot. Not sure how common they are in your area. It seems to be there are some colors that are more or less popular depending on your area. For instance, you can't find a Golden Bronze one within 50 miles of here.
 






Hi Koshka,

The Ex does have the BLIS option and standard fisheye side mirror inserts to keep you covered on the blind spots.
Not sure if I'm reading your post correctly maerlin, but the fisheye side mirror is not standard. I do not have them on my Limited. I added the small 2" convex stick-on mirrors myself. It is my understanding that only those mirrors that do not have the BLIS option have the fisheye inserts and those that have BLIS do not, since I believe they both occupy the same area of your side mirror.
 






Not sure if I'm reading your post correctly maerlin, but the fisheye side mirror is not standard. I do not have them on my Limited. I added the small 2" convex stick-on mirrors myself. It is my understanding that only those mirrors that do not have the BLIS option have the fisheye inserts and those that have BLIS do not, since I believe they both occupy the same area of your side mirror.


Peterk9

Where did you place the stick-on mirrors. We have now bought our Explorer limited and the BLIS option is indeed on the upper left corner (left mirror) and upper right corner (right mirror) which is where the fisheye inserts are usually placed.

I like the idea of also putting on the 2" stick on mirrors and wondered where people were putting them.
 






Peterk9

Where did you place the stick-on mirrors. We have now bought our Explorer limited and the BLIS option is indeed on the upper left corner (left mirror) and upper right corner (right mirror) which is where the fisheye inserts are usually placed.

I like the idea of also putting on the 2" stick on mirrors and wondered where people were putting them.
Bottom outside corners. Bottom left corner on driver's side and bottom right corner on passenger's side.
 






the fisheye side mirror is not standard. I do not have them on my Limited.

I guess Ford does some things with no ryhme or reason because I thought these were standard too, I have a 2012 Base model and have them on mines.
 






I guess Ford does some things with no ryhme or reason because I thought these were standard too, I have a 2012 Base model and have them on mines.

If you get BLIS, you don't have the fisheye mirror. Otherwise, you do have the fisheye mirror.
 






If you get BLIS, you don't have the fisheye mirror. Otherwise, you do have the fisheye mirror.
You are absolutely correct. As I mentioned in my post on the 21st, both the BLIS and 'fisheye' mirror are in the same area of the mirror. You can one or the other but not both.
 






Koshka,

Just wanted to let you know I was hesitant at first because of the size of the ex but I can honestly say that after about a week of driving it all the apprehension about driving such a large vehicle went away, I attribute it to how planted it feels and how well it stops, I was driving in the rain for over an hour yesterday and felt safe and sound. As far as blind spots if you get BLIS, I can tell tell you it works, it took some time for me to trust it and yes I still look anyway but it takes away that lane change fear. I'm biased but I have no problems steering you towards a new ex.
 






Let me start out by saying that we started out wanting a vehicle with modern safety features. We would not consider a vehicle without adaptive cruise control and wanted collision avoidance, preferably one that would brake and not just warn.

Very nice write up, but it almost sounds as if you need a drivers safety course instead, than relying on the car to do the work. Most of the new features are for distracted drivers that have a habit of not paying attention.
 






Very nice write up, but it almost sounds as if you need a drivers safety course instead, than relying on the car to do the work. Most of the new features are for distracted drivers that have a habit of not paying attention.

I'm afraid you misunderstand. I'm very safety cautious and haven't had an auto accident in over 30 years (well some years ago, I did scrape the side of a new car on a pole in a garage when I didn't gauge the width properly). I am not in the least distracted and do pay attention. However, I also know that people aren't perfect and anyone can err. Therefore, I like the new features that provide some amount of protection even in the event of error (collision warning system) or which make it less likely you will err (blind spot info).

Sloppy96 -- We did go ahead and buy the Explorer and so far I like driving it very much.
 






Back
Top