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REVIEW: I picked up new 2013 Ford Explorer this past Saturday (3/31/2012)

Asystole

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REVIEW: UPDATED 4/11I picked up new 2013 Ford Explorer this past Saturday (3/31/2012)

We are leasing this car after deciding that we needed a bigger vehicle with seven seats. We traded-in a Volvo XC-60 T6 AWD for the Explorer. The Explorer is the Limited 4x4 with the 302A package.

I'm going to provide mine and my wife's impressions compared to the car we have replaced because when we got the Volvo, the Swedish company was owned by Ford (we even got X-Plan pricing on it for the 2010 model we took delivery of in November, 2009), and Ford took safety tech from Volvo and began spreading it to other cars in the Ford line-up. As such, we were expecting that some of the safety features that we have come to love on the Volvo would have carried over in like kind to the Explorer and would be familiar.

Let''s begin...

Performance:
Essentially, there is none. We knew this going into it; the Volvo's 6 cylinder, 286hp, twin-turbo/inter-cooled engine with 0-60 times in the mid 6's is just a whole other animal than the Ex's 290hp V6 with 0-60 in the 8's. It's just a wistful reminder to my wife that now when she steps on the accelerator on the on-ramp, she's not going to be thrown into the seat like the Volvo. Those turbos bend the torque curve down so that almost all the horses are available at half the RPM of the Ex's engine. It's a huge difference, we don't like it, but, we knew it would be like that.

Handling:
The Ex is definitely bigger, which is what we wanted. It handles and feels like driving a truck, however. I compare this to the Volvo SUV, the XC90 V8 AWD(311 HP) we had back in 2008 on a lease, which despite its size (similar to the Ex), felt like a car and was easier to maneuver. Volvo stopped making the V8, and the 240HP model they have is simply underpowered.
The Ex feels solid on curves, and I was well aware of the curve control when I was getting on the turnpike via a 30MPH on-ramp while I was at about 45-50MPH -- the car began slowing itself down.
The Volvo had/has AWD, it's always on, can't be turned off, and is intelligent. It monitors each wheel some 30 (or 300...don't remember) per second for slips, deltas in rotational speeds, torque differentials, etc, and can independently increase/decrease power and/or braking to any one or combination of wheels as necessary to maintain control. As for the Ex, I have no idea what it does. Is four wheel drive always on? Is it on only when I select one of the terrain modes manually? It was raining on Saturday. Do I choose the snow mode? If I don't choose a mode, is the car not going to be in four wheel drive? The manual is quite ambiguous, and two different people at the dealership gave me two different answers.
There is a large puddle that forms on the right side of a two lane road near my house when it rains. In the Volvo, the right tires will be in the puddle when I hit it at 45mph. For a split second, I could feel the Volvo, just for a split second start to pull to the right, but then instantly is straight without any input from me. The Ex was pulled to the right and I had to pull left on the wheel to keep from hitting the curb. This was with the terrain mode set to 'Normal'. Not good.

Safety features:
BLIS works well and as expected, as does the backing out of a parking space thing; experienced it first hand and was impressed.
The Volvo's lane departure nanny, when enabled, stays enabled and works at all speeds. The Ex's has to be manually enabled every time the car is started by pressing a button on the end of the directional stalk; there is no option to make this setting always on. However, if you make one of the keys into a 'MyKey', you can default it to always on. Also, The Ex's lane departure nanny only works above 40MPH. The Volvo gives the audible and visible in the windshield warning every time a lane marker is crossed without the turn signal on.
The Ex, however, has some rules regarding the amount of pressure exerted by the driver's hands on the steering wheel (apparently there are sensors in the wheel), and the rules are again ambiguous in the manual. We finally got some kind of response from the Ex by being in the middle of the lane, both dotted lines on the lane icon were green, and giving the wheel just enough of a skew so that the car began heading towards the lane markings, I took my hands off the wheel. When the car was about to cross the line, it actually steered itself back into the middle of the lane. There was no audible or visual alerts, however, even though they are enabled in the settings.
The adaptive cruise control works as I expected, nothing else to say about it. The collision avoidance system, however, is mostly useless. Even when bearing down on a car ahead of us at a relatively uncomfortable rate of speed, the Ex let out no warning of any kind until a crash was all but impossible to avoid without slamming on the brakes. The Volvo, on the other hand, allows easy configuration of the inter-vehicular gap and is quite aggressive in warning you well in advance to get your attention. Further, the Volvo will actually slam the brakes on if necessary, and it's 'City Safety' really works.
The auto high beams work as expected, but bear in mind that the car will interpret porch lights and street lights as headlights and turn off the high beams.
I haven't had the opportunity yet to try the parallel park assist, but will report back when I have. Added 4/4Have tried this feature several times now. It is fantastic!!! It works flawlessly, every time, and puts me about 8" or less from the curb when the maneuver is complete. This feature is a godsend to any city dweller.


Comfort and Convenience features:
My kids really like the ambient lighting colors. It's a nice touch.

The mirrors are power folding, but you have to do so manually. The Volvo had a setting so that the mirrors would automatically fold when the car was locked, and unfold when unlocked. My wife and I keep forgetting to fold/unfold the mirrors in the Ex. This should have had an auto option; there's really no excuse for it not to. After losing four side mirrors over the years to poor drivers knocking them off of our parked cars with their own side mirrors, this is a must-have feature.
Further, the Volvo had a nifty feature that the side mirror on either side of the car could tilt itself down automatically while parking so you can see the parking spot line or curb, and when placed in park, the mirrors would go back to their previous position. Please bear in mind that this Explorer cost two thousand dollars more than the fully loaded XC60 we traded.
The automatic movement of the driver's seat and steering wheel to facilitate ease of entry / exit from the vehicle is really slick. We truly like this and haven't had it in a car before.
The steering wheel gets nice and warm when activated, but the heated seats heat up unevenly. The area of the seat under my thighs and between my legs gets warm, but directly under my a**: no heat! The Volvo's seats heated-up from just below the headrest to the edge of the seat. What the hell? Both of the Ex's front seat had the same sparse heat distribution. I haven't tied the air-cooled feature of the seats yet. Added 4/11The air cooling feature of the seats is pretty nifty. The seats get quite cool quite fast. This will be welcome come summer.
The Sony stereo is clear, full, loud without noticeable distortion, and the sub-woofer nicely accentuates the bass.
The remote start works, but we have to remember the rules for using the car after remote starting it to prevent it from turning itself off when we get in the car...still haven't gotten it right yet and therefore have to restart the car every time we get in.
The key-less entry only works on the driver and passenger doors; the Volvo worked on all four doors. Further, in the Volvo, opening the rear hatch (keyless -- just having the key in your pocket, like the Ex, would unlock the hatch), however, unlike the Ex, all the doors would also unlock so the kids could start getting in while I'm putting groceries in the back. On the Ex, I can open the hatch keylessly, but I also have to unlock the doors either by walking to the driver or passenger front door and touching the handle, or using the remote...not well thought out. More frustrating, however, is trying to keylessly lock the doors. You touch the black button in the door handle of either of the front doors in order to lock the car. However, instead, the doors try to unlock even thought they are already unlocked. My wife got quite pissed off yesterday just trying to lock the doors. She pressed the black button on the passenger door repeatedly, holding the keyless-key thing in her other hand, and after over a dozen attempts just locked the car using the remote. I ran into this same issue myself, and found that the first or second attempt to lock the car with that black button in the the door handle (each time it tries to unlock), it will finally lock.
There is significantly more leg and shoulder room in the Ex. I'm 6'3", 200 pounds, and I can sit comfortably in the second row (bench, not buckets), and can even somewhat comfortably manage the third row accommodations. The front seats are spacious, comfortable, and the armrests are correctly positioned for someone of my size. A smaller person, however, will not like the location of the door arm rest relative to the seat position; it's too far away for someone who is under 5'7", let's say. The front seat headrests are, in a word, excellent. The ability to tilt them to make contact perfectly with the back of my neck is heavenly! The second row bench is also comfortable. A suggestion from the Buick Enclave would do the Explorer well: Move the bench to the third row. That way, three people can sit in the way back, and having two buckets in the second row provides walk-through access to the third row as well as the comfort of bucket seats for the second row passengers without losing seven passenger seating. Further, the Enclave offers a second row bench as well for a total seating load capability of 8 passengers! Ford could do this today if they wanted to.
As it stands now, getting in and out of the third row requires folding the second row seats down and flipping them forward. The latter is extremely difficult to do from the third row and therefore requires the driver or another passenger to perform. I see this as a safety concern for the third row passengers: How can they get out of the car if there is an accident and no one can assist in the movement of the seat(s)?

Okay, now, let's talk Sync/MFT:
The car was delivered with the most recent firmware and the A3 map SD card. In the first hour of using the car, I parked it, got out of the car and locked it. The screen stayed on. I though that this was normal. I got back in the car about 15 minutes later. Started the car. The screen stayed black. We started driving and after a minute of me tapping the black screen it came to life, but said it had to do necessary maintenance. It eventually came back up and hasn't repeated.
However, several times when starting the car, we might be serenading by static from an AM radio station, a random song might play from a random Sirius preset, etc.
The sync services don't seem to actually work. I sent a destination to the car. I connected to services while in the car, and was asked if I wanted to receive the destination, to which I agreed. After a couple of minutes, the voice said that everything was sent successfully, and we could use the phone again. The screen changed to navigation, a route began to appear, and then it was gone. Period. Simply gone.
As for voice commands, this is indeed tricky and is dependent on cadence, tone, inflection, sunspots, astrological sign, blood type, sperm count, and level of frustration. Example:

(My wife) "Play Song 'Can we all'"
(Sync) "Calling Lisa Whitman"
(Wife) "Cancel! Stop!"
(...ringing sound...sound of phone button on steering wheel being repeatedly pressed, fruitlessly trying to hang up)
(Wife) "I'm going to ###*ing rip you out of this car, chop you up and bake you into a pie!!!"
(Lisa Whitman) "What??!! Who is this??"

Ah, the hilarity!!

The thing is my wife speaks clearly. She was born in PA, lived in eight different states as she grew up as the daughter of the director of all mining operations for North America for the world's biggest mining company, and has no accent of any kind. No adenoids, no nasal sounds, no vocal idiosyncrasies that should stump Sync, yet stumped it is.
Complete documentation for Sync/MFT is lacking. There are supposedly, what, like 10,000 commands /key words that the system supposedly understands? Where are they? The web site says you can download and print out a Sync glove box reference, but the link for it takes you to the owner's support page where you can only download a manual for the car, a quick reference guide, and some other thing that I don't remember but has nothing to do with Sync.

Separately, our phones connect flawlessly, and Bluetooth streaming works perfectly. We both have the Android-based HTC Evo 3D from Sprint. I haven't tried text messaging yet, but I read that it works for this phone.

ADDED 4/5/12: I configured our phone's Bluetooth messaging. This feature works. Incoming texts show a notification on the SYNC screen, and the text can be read. I haven't tried to compose a text from the car yet, but they appear to be canned messages, not freshly dictated. Examples are along the lines of, "I'm going to be late," etc.


That's it for now. I'll let you know what else I find out. We have to take the car back to the dealership to have the headrest DVD players and roof rack cross bars installed. I'll tell them about the locking and the crash avoidance issues and see how hard they laugh and report back.
UPDATED 4/11/12We took the car in this past Monday to have the DVD players installed in the headrests and the roof rack crossbars put on. I gave the service department a list of issues as well. The upshot was that they cleaned the radar sensor, there was a loose wire having to do with the door handle, and they did a master reset of the Sync system. We were experiencing an easily reproducible issue whereby we pressed the talk button several times in a row while trying to get Sync to understand what we were saying, and Sync would simply no longer listen. It would leave the listening icon on the screen permanently, and subsequent presses of the button would do nothing. The only fix was to restart the car. This has not recurred since we got the car back.
We haven't had the opportunity yet to try out the DVD players, but will report back after trying them. A downside of the DVD install is that the afore lauded wonderful headrests have been replaced out of necessity with immobile headrests to better hold the players. Oh well, what can you do. Interestingly, the system comes with not one, but two remote controls; one for each screen. The system in our previous Volvo which were made by the same manufacturer (Innovision) came with one remote that could control either or both screens. Regardless, the screens came with two IR headsets as well as batteries and manuals, but no cables like I'm used to seeing, for attaching any kind of device you can imagine. Again, I'll report back

PROS:
Power steering column, ease of entry/exit
Power pedals
Roomy, comfortable seats
Cool ambient lighting
Heated steering wheel
Stereo is nice
Curve control
Remote start
BLIS works well
Bluetooth music streaming works well (for us, anyway)
HID headlights are bright, crisp
Parallel Park assist is truly inspired
Seat cooling is excellent

Cons:
Poorly engineered seat heating
Sync/MFT is brittle: Unreliable, is not a 'tool' (something you can just use without thinking about it, like a hammer, or worrying about it failing)
Keyless locking/unlocking needs a rethink
Access to third row is problematic
Lane assist/aid needs a rethink
Lack of collision avoidance alerts even though enabled
Power folding mirrors can't be set to do so automatically
Handles like a truck (In a former life, I was a paramedic and drove rather large vehicles)
Can't tell if the Ex can be trusted as a four wheel drive vehicle
HID headlights don't 'look around' corners or load level like the Volvo

Overall, at this price point (just over $50K), and for a vehicle that has a heritage pushing 20 years, I expected something a lot more refined, more ergonomically sound, and all-round to be engineered...better. My wife wants to return the car and is saddened at the idea of spending 24 months (lease) stuck in it. I really wanted to like this car.

All in all, I don't. UPDATED 4/11/12 It's growing on me
 


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VinceL

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As for the door locks, did you make sure to read this portion of the manual:

At the Front Doors
Pull a front exterior door handle. The door will unlock and can be opened.
Press and hold the door handle lock sensor to lock the vehicle. To avoid
unlocking the door inadvertently, be sure to only touch the lock sensor
and not other areas of the door handle.

At the Liftgate
Press the exterior liftgate release button on the top of the liftgate
pull-cup handle.

My friend had trouble locking his Edge because he didn't realize he couldn't touch any other part of the handle while trying to lock the car. Once he knew that, he hasn't had any problems since.
 




Asystole

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Thank you. I'll try that.

From a user perspective, this could be better.

I keep harping about the Volvo, but they have this kind of thing pretty refined. For the Volvo, pulling any of the four door handles will automatically unlock all of the doors (is configurable -- can just be the driver's door, just the front doors, or can be all doors) and open the door that he handle was pulled on. This is really easy to understand and is intuitive. To lock, there is an actual button in each of the four door handles. Press any one of them and all of the doors lock and the mirrors fold (configurable as well).

Accidentally touching a part of the handle when trying to 'hit the bulls-eye' of the locking area should never have been permitted into production. Unlocking by touch of the handle gains the user nothing since you still have to pull the door handle to open the door.
 




suzook

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Did you take the ex for a test drive? Most of your complaints could have been noticed in a half hour test drive.
 




Asystole

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Did you take the ex for a test drive? Most of your complaints could have been noticed in a half hour test drive.

We took a 2012 XLT out for a while. We couldn't test Sync/MFT because we had no idea how to use it, and it is not really something designed to be intuitive, and I say this as a software engineer whose specialty is user interface design and architecture.

We knew from the test drive that it handled like a truck, but were willing to accept it. We had no opportunity to test any of the other features because we didn't know how to use them, or that they existed in some cases.
 




Asystole

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At the Liftgate
Press the exterior liftgate release button on the top of the liftgate
pull-cup handle.

The button unlocks the lift gate. The rest of the doors remain locked. Thanks though.
 




VinceL

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The button unlocks the lift gate. The rest of the doors remain locked. Thanks though.

Bummer, I was hoping that it would unlock the rest of the doors. That's how I interpreted it when reading the manual. Oh well... we tried. lol
 




HughCares

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Did you take the ex for a test drive? Most of your complaints could have been noticed in a half hour test drive.

Exactly what I was thinking.....was a miracle supposed to have taken place and all of his wishes/dreams of any of the so called deficiencies disappear upon delivery????

Also....you can easily configure the gap in the crash avoidance system. Mine works perfectly fine based on the gap I have set up. Remember that the EX will also pre-charge the brakes when the system is set off which will also allow you to brake much faster in the situation if required.
 




Asystole

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Exactly what I was thinking.....was a miracle supposed to have taken place and all of his wishes/dreams of any of the so called deficiencies disappear upon delivery????

Also....you can easily configure the gap in the crash avoidance system. Mine works perfectly fine based on the gap I have set up. Remember that the EX will also pre-charge the brakes when the system is set off which will also allow you to brake much faster in the situation if required.

Did you test or know how to test every feature of a car you were test driving prior to purchase? How many people in this forum believed they were getting wonderful technology in the form of Sync/MFT only to find in day to day use that it was buggy and didn't live up to its potential?

As for the gap, I have it set to the highest sensitivity in the settings menu. When it is in the shop to have the DVD's installed, they are going to examine the radar emitter/sensor and replace it if necessary.
 




HughCares

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Did you test or know how to test every feature of a car you were test driving prior to purchase? How many people in this forum believed they were getting wonderful technology in the form of Sync/MFT only to find in day to day use that it was buggy and didn't live up to its potential?

As for the gap, I have it set to the highest sensitivity in the settings menu. When it is in the shop to have the DVD's installed, they are going to examine the radar emitter/sensor and replace it if necessary.

I did not test every feature either, but was well aware of some of the obvious ones that you mentioned in your "Cons". Test driving a vehicle and then complaining about the mirrors not folding, the headlights not rotating, the access to the third row being poor etc...seems a bit much as these you would have know about right from the get go....

MFT seems to be hit an miss for a lot of people....mine has worked flawlessly and I have yet to receive the update. Lucky me I guess....

Hopefully with time you will come to appreciate many of the great aspects of the vehicle...good luck!
 




jrmexplorer

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Did you test or know how to test every feature of a car you were test driving prior to purchase? How many people in this forum believed they were getting wonderful technology in the form of Sync/MFT only to find in day to day use that it was buggy and didn't live up to its potential?

As for the gap, I have it set to the highest sensitivity in the settings menu. When it is in the shop to have the DVD's installed, they are going to examine the radar emitter/sensor and replace it if necessary.

Bizarre. Mine goes off all the time - usually when someone in front of me turns - it doesn't realize that the car is turning and soon will be out of the way - just that there is a decelerating obstruction ahead.

I have it set to normal mode. If I turn it to high sensitivity, it goes off all the time.

Don't know what you paid for the Explorer, but we went car shopping recently and I remember the Volvo's being 45K to start and more like 60K fully loaded. They are a bit more expensive and should be a bit more refined.

As for My Ford Touch - the voice control takes some getting used to. You have to remember to talk to it naturally, don't annunciate your words or it won't work. Just speak normally. SInce the update, voice control works great. No problems at all.
 




Asystole

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I did not test every feature either, but was well aware of some of the obvious ones that you mentioned in your "Cons". Test driving a vehicle and then complaining about the mirrors not folding, the headlights not rotating, the access to the third row being poor etc...seems a bit much as these you would have know about right from the get go....

I said at the beginning that I was comparing the Ex to the vehicle we traded in. I describe my personal take on the Explorer. It is not authoritative nor objective. It is merely my opinion of the Explorer, and it is my opinion that when a car's price has risen into the same lofty levels as the high liners like Lexus, Mercedes, Volvo, Infiniti, and Acura, there are features that one expects to be present, and Ford has realized this by adding a number of these, like power folding mirrors, power adjustable pedals and steering column, as well as heated and cooled seating, keyless access, etc. These kinds of items have been reserved for the afore mentioned luxury cars for all recent memory. It is clear that Ford is attempting to compete in this arena now with its string players since the Lincoln brand sales have been lagging for so long. However, if Ford wants to charge like the big boys and act like the big boys, then Ford is going to have to step up and provide the refinement of the big boys. That's all.
 




Asystole

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Bizarre. Mine goes off all the time - usually when someone in front of me turns - it doesn't realize that the car is turning and soon will be out of the way - just that there is a decelerating obstruction ahead.

I have it set to normal mode. If I turn it to high sensitivity, it goes off all the time.

Don't know what you paid for the Explorer, but we went car shopping recently and I remember the Volvo's being 45K to start and more like 60K fully loaded. They are a bit more expensive and should be a bit more refined.

As for My Ford Touch - the voice control takes some getting used to. You have to remember to talk to it naturally, don't annunciate your words or it won't work. Just speak normally. SInce the update, voice control works great. No problems at all.


Thanks for the info. It sounds like we do have a fault, then, with the radar sensor.

The lease for the Explorer, after x-plan and $750 incentive, gave us an adjusted price of about $48K including the 302A, DVD headrests, all weather mats, and cross bars. The MSRP was $50,165.

I agree about the voice commands. My wife, however, would not, and she's the one driving the Ex every day.
 




jrmexplorer

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Thanks for the info. It sounds like we do have a fault, then, with the radar sensor.

The lease for the Explorer, after x-plan and $750 incentive, gave us an adjusted price of about $48K including the 302A, DVD headrests, all weather mats, and cross bars. The MSRP was $50,165.

I agree about the voice commands. My wife, however, would not, and she's the one driving the Ex every day.

Keep in mind as well with the voice commands that it learns your voice over time. Keep trying it and my guess is it will get much better.
 




Asystole

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Keep in mind as well with the voice commands that it learns your voice over time. Keep trying it and my guess is it will get much better.

That I did not know. Are you sure about that? If that is so, I would think that there would be a voice training app built in like was the norm for Dragon Naturally Speaking. The gist is that you're provided with a story which you read aloud to the computer. By doing so, it learns how you pronounce various words.
 




jrmexplorer

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That I did not know. Are you sure about that? If that is so, I would think that there would be a voice training app built in like was the norm for Dragon Naturally Speaking. The gist is that you're provided with a story which you read aloud to the computer. By doing so, it learns how you pronounce various words.

I guess I thought it did, but I cannot find a link to anything on Ford's site about it. I do know they use Nuance for their voice recognition which is the same company which does Dragon Naturally Speaking. http://www.nuance.com/news/pressreleases/2010/20100107_fordSYNC.asp
 




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In rainy conditions there is no need to choose any other mode than 'Normal'.
The Ex is basically a FWD vehicle, reverting to AWD when conditions warrant.
Setting the TMS to the other modes does not 'lock' in AWD as far as I know. Its job is to adapt the vehicle's engine, transmission, AWD system, suspension and stability control to match the requirements of the terrain.
The Ex pulling one way when hitting a puddle at 45 mph I think says more about the inability of the tires to handle the situation.
The doors should lock by pressing the black button and nothing else on the handle, as Vince pointed out. I don't see a big problem with the rear passenger doors not having this keyless lock/unloch system since you as the driver, or whoever has the key fob has to be close to the vehicle anyway for the for it to work. I also have no problem with all the doors not unlocking when I open the hatch. In most cases the other doors are already unlocked and if locked, that is the way I want them to stay. By the way, with all doors locked, the hatch can be opened and when closed it will automatically lock.
The collision avoidance feature can be adjusted via the left hand screen and it will also apply the brakes if necessary until the speed drops to, I believe, 12-15 mph and then it turns off and beeps when it does.
I have had my Ex for just over a year and have only used the fold option twice. If is was made to automatically fold/unfold everytime the vehicle is turned off/on, I would want an option to turn that feature OFF. I don't want them folding everytime.
I have had no problem with the heated seats even though I hardly use them. The nice feature is that the seat back is also heated.
I can't comment on the lane departure feature since I don't have it. While it is a nice to have feature, I really don't see much of a need for it if the driver pays attention to driving.
I have had the auto dim on a couple of previous vehicles, the first was a '64 Caddy, and I can live without it. It was probably more of a pain in the a** than a help. Reflected light from large roadside signs would turn off the hi beams just when you needed them most (off ramps etc). I also had to turn it off when following vehicles in areas where there was no street lighting, otherwise it would go to hi beam.
To help in parking, I added two small 2" convex mirrors to the lower outside part of the mirrors. These allow you to actually see the rear wheels and also eliminate the blind spot. I have posted pictures of these on other threads. I believe the cost for both was under $10.
Anyway, those are just my comments/feelings on the Explorer.
Congratulations on your new vehicle. It will take some time to get familiar with all the features and functions. I'm still discovering new things from time to time.
Happy motoring.

Peter
 




peterk9

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That I did not know. Are you sure about that? If that is so, I would think that there would be a voice training app built in like was the norm for Dragon Naturally Speaking. The gist is that you're provided with a story which you read aloud to the computer. By doing so, it learns how you pronounce various words.
Just make sure it isn't a bedtime story. :D

Peter
 




EX-SV

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Congrats on the new Explorer. And thanks for the useful review. Be glad it's a 2 year lease with flexibility.
 


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Asystole

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In rainy conditions there is no need to choose any other mode than 'Normal'.
The Ex is basically a FWD vehicle, reverting to AWD when conditions warrant.
Setting the TMS to the other modes does not 'lock' in AWD as far as I know. Its job is to adapt the vehicle's engine, transmission, AWD system, suspension and stability control to match the requirements of the terrain.
The Ex pulling one way when hitting a puddle at 45 mph I think says more about the inability of the tires to handle the situation.
The doors should lock by pressing the black button and nothing else on the handle, as Vince pointed out. I don't see a big problem with the rear passenger doors not having this keyless lock/unloch system since you as the driver, or whoever has the key fob has to be close to the vehicle anyway for the for it to work. I also have no problem with all the doors not unlocking when I open the hatch. In most cases the other doors are already unlocked and if locked, that is the way I want them to stay. By the way, with all doors locked, the hatch can be opened and when closed it will automatically lock.
The collision avoidance feature can be adjusted via the left hand screen and it will also apply the brakes if necessary until the speed drops to, I believe, 12-15 mph and then it turns off and beeps when it does.
I have had my Ex for just over a year and have only used the fold option twice. If is was made to automatically fold/unfold everytime the vehicle is turned off/on, I would want an option to turn that feature OFF. I don't want them folding everytime.
I have had no problem with the heated seats even though I hardly use them. The nice feature is that the seat back is also heated.
I can't comment on the lane departure feature since I don't have it. While it is a nice to have feature, I really don't see much of a need for it if the driver pays attention to driving.
I have had the auto dim on a couple of previous vehicles, the first was a '64 Caddy, and I can live without it. It was probably more of a pain in the a** than a help. Reflected light from large roadside signs would turn off the hi beams just when you needed them most (off ramps etc). I also had to turn it off when following vehicles in areas where there was no street lighting, otherwise it would go to hi beam.
To help in parking, I added two small 2" convex mirrors to the lower outside part of the mirrors. These allow you to actually see the rear wheels and also eliminate the blind spot. I have posted pictures of these on other threads. I believe the cost for both was under $10.
Anyway, those are just my comments/feelings on the Explorer.
Congratulations on your new vehicle. It will take some time to get familiar with all the features and functions. I'm still discovering new things from time to time.
Happy motoring.

Peter

Thank you so much for all of the info and for taking the time to provide it.

I see the pull to the side where traction was reduced/lost (wheel in water) as a sign that the vehicle is, as you say, not AWD full-time. The loss of traction on one side allows the other side which still has traction to pull (FWD) the car towards the side that is no longer pulling. This is much like the result of losing an engine on a twin engine aircraft: The remaining engine will pull the plane into a spin towards the side of the failure, and it takes opposite rudder and power reduction of the remaining engine to maintain straight and level flight. (yes, I'm a pilot...private pilot).

Our previous vehicle with AWD would make the correction in a split second, requiring no steering input from me. I was expecting this functionality in the Ex.

As for the door locking functionality, it really is a convenience and usability thing. I experimented with this last night. Carefully touching just the black spot locks the door the first time. The issue is, however, that my thumb is bigger than that spot, so inadvertently touching the chrome is an effort to avoid, and is unnatural.

Having the doors unlock when I open the hatch is one of those little things you notice when it's not there. Picture being in a parking space at the supermarket. I walk to the back of the car with the cart while the kids walk to the side doors. I keylessly (key in my pocket) open the hatch, but the doors don't unlock. My choice is take the fob out and unlock the doors, or walk to the driver's door and put my hand on the handle to unlock. It's a minor annoyance, but it is a nice touch that the Volvo had that is noticeable lacking from the Ex.

Folding mirrors are a must-have for anyone who parks on narrow streets or in cities. The Volvo allows you to configure whether or not they operate automatically.

Again, thanks for taking the time.
 




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