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Would you buy again?

wallyuwl

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So we're in the market for a new three row SUV over the next few months. I test drove several and think I've narrowed it down to the Explorer (4WD XLT with tow and navigation packages), and Mazda CX-9 (AWD Touring).

If you went back in time, you would buy your 5th generation Explorer again? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it? Has the build quality held up? Any problems (especially drivetrain related)?

I like the towing capacity of the Explorer. It also seems way bigger than the cargo room rating. Looing for this next vehicle to be a "10 year vehicle."

Thanks!
 



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1995E

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If I could go back in time, I would have waited for the Explorer Sport to come out and not crash my 1995 Explorer. The only reason I bought my 2011 was because it came out at the right time when I needed a car. I have the 2011 XLT and I had to go through reliability problems that you probably won't have to because they fixed most of the problems from MY2011. I can still see myself driving this car 10 years later later though. Seems pretty easy to maintain so far except for the accessory belt location.

The 3.5L in this car is quick and responsive once the transmission finishes learning. You will definitely save money on gas as I went from having 11 MPG on my old 95 Explorer to 20 MPG average on mixed city/highway and I reached 26.2 MPG on the highway once despite having 4X4. Using the little MPG gauge really helps you change your driving habits to save gas.

If I were you since you are buying this Explorer for 10 years, definitely go with the tow package and navigation, possibly even the sunroof because you don't want to regret not getting it as I only have the tow package, leather seats, and MFT but no navigation and sunroof and I totally regret it.

Overall, if I were to go back, I'd wait for the Explorer Sport or I would have actually bought a Limited. I still wouldn't have went with any other SUV because I think Ford has the best looking SUV out there. Grand Cherokee looks like a box to me and so does the Durango.

Just a tip though, if you're going to buy 2014, I heard 2015 is going to be a refresh so if you wait on it, you might get a good deal on a 2014 because of the refresh but then you might not get the car you want. All up to you. If you want to have your car be a little newer, wait for the 2015 refresh. I personally would wait to see how the refresh looks to make my decision and use that to haggle the price down with the dealer saying the 2014 is going to be an old model. That's just me though. Hope this helps.
 






new to ford

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Yes, I would buy again.
Like 1995E, I would have waited for the sport, but the timing was not right. Also, if I did it all over again, I would get 4WD, but at the time of purchase, I would have had to wait two more months to get 4WD and I basically needed the vehicle ASAP.
 






tmg19103

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I just bought a used 2011 XLT that is pretty loaded with 31k on it a month ago. This is a secondary car for me so it won't get a ton of miles and I plan to keep it for at least 8 years - or as long as it lasts. I previously had a GMC Jimmy as a secondary SUV for 16 years - though that was bought new.

I think the Ex is still ahead of its time in looks 4 years into the model life. Outside of getting a the third row roof leak fixed, I see no probs (knock on wood). I have only experienced MFT 3.6.2 and I am quite happy with it. Engine and chassis reliability have been good overall for the Ex so I am not concerned about that.

I would certainly buy the Ex again if I were to go for the same type/class of vehicle. For me the vehicle serves two primary purposes - light off-road/snow and cargo hauling with seats down as I rarely have more than one other person in the Ex. It serves my off road purposes by driving fine on beaches, is good in the snow, and fine on pavement. Only thing I would opt for when it comes to cargo hauling is a pick-up, and pick-ups are not for me personally, so the Ex is it. Yeah, a mini van would haul more with the seats out, but that is not for me either.

I hear people on wanting the Sport, but I'm an SUV person who drives on beaches and will not go above 18 inch wheels for that purpose, and while I could put 18's on a Sport, it kind of defeats the purpose as a performance road SUV.

My only complaint for my vehicle is I get lower gas mileage than what is advertised, but as a secondary vehicle I can live with that.
 






Odrapnew

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While I’ve only had my 14 Sport for just over a week, I cannot comment on long term commitment yet, however, our garage has both my Sport and my wife’s 09 CX9 GT, so I have had experience with both.

We(She) purchased the CX9 in 2011 with around 25K miles on it. It’s fully loaded except for the rear entertainment. Paid just over 50% of original MSRP. So far, it’s been good to us. There was an issue when the brake fluid was low and cause a bunch of warning lights to go on, but that’s been the only hiccup so far(knock on wood). It just turned 80K miles and still runs and drives great. New tires were put on @ about 70k miles.

I won’t go into the details of mine since it’s brand new, but no issues so far except my dumb mistake of cracking the driver mirror backing into the garage the other day. I have the 401a package, rear buckets with console and tow package.

Comparing the 2:
1. Driving
a. CX9 is sportier to drive. A little firmer ride and feels more nimble. Explorer is still firm, but feels a little more floaty(compared to the mazda).
b. Both are great road trip vehicles.
c. Brakes are comparable between the 2, but I think the CX9 has a little more feel to them.
d. The Ex has better steering feel and I like the “weight” of it better than the CX9(a little overboosted for my taste).
e. I haven’t really experience the 4wd system in the Ex, but I did play with it this morning in the dusting of snow that we got. The Sand mode definitely does have more throttle sensitivity and holds the lower gear longer. The Snow mode is very muted for throttle sensitivity and shifts at a lower rpm. I think both would work well for their “specific” applications.
2. Engine
a. CX9 is a little louder when you are getting on it, but it’s also smoother.
b. Explorer has a little more buzz to it when getting on it(say above 3500rpm)
c. Both are quiet and smooth on the freeway.
d. CX9 gets a little better mileage, but that’s not a fair comparsion due to the low miles on the Ex and no long trips yet.
e. Acceleration is hands down the explorer.
3. Interior
a. Both feel like decent quality vehicles fit and finish wise. Neither have any rattles.
b. I like the fact that the mazda shows what gear the transmission is in all the time. Not a big issue, but it’s nice to know even when it’s in D.
c. I like the overall cluster layout and features of the Ex’s instrument display.
d. MFT can be a little cumbersome, but I’m getting used to it. I really like the My Temp button.
e. I like the USB inputs on the Ex as I just put a bunch of music on a USB and plugged it in.
f. Both have heated seats, but the Ex’s seats seem to warm up much quicker.
g. The 2nd row buckets in the Ex make it feel bigger(and I think it is anyway). 3rd row isn’t used in either vehicle, so I have no comment.
h. So far, I like the look of the CX9’s navigation screen. The Ex’s traffic overlay is not the easiest to see at a glance. I haven’t had any issues with either one.
i. Both have Sirius(not active in the CX9), but I rarely listen to it in the Ex. Local morning shows on the way to work and USB on the way home.
j. The Mazda’s radio sounds better. I think it has better highs and deeper lows. The sub in the Ex doesn’t seem to fill out as well.
k. SYNC works better for making calls. With the Mazda, you have to manually make a call whereas the SYNC, I was able to “tell” it what to do and it worked fine.
4. Exterior:
a. Mazda is sleeker looking, but that does make it look a little like a minivan. I still like it.
b. The Ex looks bad(in a good way). It has that muscular look to it and looks like a truck.
c. The tow hitch is nice and hidden on the Ex. The Mazda has an aftermarket hitch, which I like better than the factory one anyway, but it’s not hidden.

So, there’s my rough run down between the 2. As of today, I wouldn’t have any reservations of buying either one.
 






wallyuwl

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Thanks for all the responses so far. If anyone else has any, please add to the discussion.


Odrapnew: That's a lot of info. So basically they are both good. Thanks for not helping. LOL! j/k. That info. is extremely helpful.

Two questions for you:

- how is cargo room between the two, both with just the third row down and second and third rows down? The CX-9 is rated 100 cu. feet, and Explorer 80. But the Ex seems much larger than its rating. How do they compare in "real world" space?

- have you towed with either? If so, how do they handle and brake with a trailer? I know the Explorer is rated higher for towing and has a tow package. The CX-9 "kind of" has a towing package, but from what I gather it certainly isn't strong in this area. Well within the life of this vehicle we're going to get some snowmobiles (not a problem for either vehicle, only 1500 lbs for two including trailer), and a 18' or so boat (not sure aluminum or fiberglass - would think the CX-9 would have trouble with fiberglass).
 






walterhudson

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If you plan to keep the vehicle for 10 years, consider that Mazda may be out of business in North America by then. Many brands already have "bit the dust" and many are just hanging on. No "government" [we the tax payers] bailout for foreign auto makers.
 






peterk9

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Yes, I would take another Explorer. Having said that I may look to see what Lincoln has coming out in the MKC. Also want to have a closer look at the MKT. It has nothing to do with the Explorer I have. The lease is up next March and I was hoping that the 2015 would be a 'refreshed' model. Not too excited about leasing another identical vehicle when the time comes. That is the only reason. My 2011 Limited has been an outstanding vehicle.

Peter
 






Ajar

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We did buy it again....!

We bought a 2012 Limited in August 2011. It was great and we loved it but when the Sport came out we knew it was just a matter of time before we made the switch.

In September 2013 the Limited was traded in for a 2014 Sport. Amazingly with almost 30k miles, we were given only 6k less then the truck was purchased for new - while buying the custom ordered Sport at invoice less 3500 in rebates.

GL with your decision!
 






BrianT

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Simple answer YES

I have had my 2013 Sport for 11 months and have 33K on it.
I like the drive, the comfort and the gas economy. (18mpg city)
I have a few problems with the nav, it puts me in fields when I an on a hwy
the Sync sucks, but I ignore those problems and really enjoy my ride.

Brian
 






White Shark

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Would you buy again

Yes. We have an Audi S-Line V-8 and a Porsche 911 so bought this as my company car. The build quality is great even compared to our other cars. It's the Sport version with the Twin Turbo and is faster than the Audi. The Sport has the SHO engine also larger breaks and a tighter sport suspension. If you can afford the price of the Sport go for it.
 






wallyuwl

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Thanks for all the replies! Yesterday I drove the Explorer and liked it pretty well. Today the wife and I both went to check it out (we were near another Ford dealer in town doing errands this evening). She didn't drive it because it was really windy and that would take away from paying attention to the vehicle on the drive. But, she really liked the looks. It is a bit smaller than the CX-9 in room. The dealer had an Explorer in the showroom and a demo CX-9 outside 50 feet away (this Ford dealer is also a Mazda dealer). For cargo room, the CX-9 is 80 inches long, Ex 75. Between the wheel wells on the CX-9 is 46 inches, 41 on the Ex. Width in the very back (behind where the wheel wells are), both are 47 inches. Interior height between cargo floor and roof is 34" for both with the seats down. I didn't measure, but it seems like the Explorer has more room for the driver and front passenger, though. I think we'll still drive both when we get one, but are leaning toward the Explorer right now.

One question for those who have Explorers: is the standard 3.5L V6 direct injected (where the fuel is released below the valves and doesn't wash over them)? I'm pretty sure it is just regular fuel injected and only the ecoboost option is direct injected, but want to make sure.


Peter: I've heard 2015 will be a "refresh" for the Explorer (kind of like the Traverse got in 2013), with a redesign in 2017. Not sure of the validity of that happening, though. I hope there is a refresh because then the 2014s will be even cheaper!
 






Odrapnew

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Thanks for all the responses so far. If anyone else has any, please add to the discussion.


Odrapnew: That's a lot of info. So basically they are both good. Thanks for not helping. LOL! j/k. That info. is extremely helpful.

Two questions for you:

- how is cargo room between the two, both with just the third row down and second and third rows down? The CX-9 is rated 100 cu. feet, and Explorer 80. But the Ex seems much larger than its rating. How do they compare in "real world" space?

- have you towed with either? If so, how do they handle and brake with a trailer? I know the Explorer is rated higher for towing and has a tow package. The CX-9 "kind of" has a towing package, but from what I gather it certainly isn't strong in this area. Well within the life of this vehicle we're going to get some snowmobiles (not a problem for either vehicle, only 1500 lbs for two including trailer), and a 18' or so boat (not sure aluminum or fiberglass - would think the CX-9 would have trouble with fiberglass).


Sorry, I wish I could be more helpful.:D

For cargo space, they have about the same amount of space behind the 3rd row. The Ex looks bigger because it has 2nd row buckets(feels more open) and without the dog gate which is in the CX9 right now. The CX9 also has a more rounded tailgate so higher up(near the roof) it curves in, whereas the Ex is more square, so looks more cramped near the top in the 9. The Ex might be a little narrower, but I'll have to get a better view this weekend.

I don't have any experience with the 2nd row folded down, but appearances seem to be very similar. The Ex feels like there's more head room in the 2nd row(sitting in the seat), but they may not fold as low as the CX9, so that could be where the extra space comes from.

All in all, they really feel about the same for cargo space. Maybe this weekend I can fold the seats down and get a few pictures.

I will note that the 2nd row in my Explorer has a lower floor, so you don't feel like you're squatting(if you get what I'm saying) like in the CX9.

Towing: I have not towed with the Explorer yet, but I have towed 2 snowmobiles with the CX9 and it did just fine. You could feel them back there, but really nothing scary about it. Gas mileage dropped from ~20mpg freeway to about 16mpg on the same route. As I mentioned above, we have an aftermarket hitch(Curt brand), which has the 2" square receiver. The factory is the smaller one (1 1/4") and just seems weenie.

The Grand Touring(at least the 08-09..etc generation) does come with the upgraded cooling that is part of the tow package on lesser models, so you don't have to worry about getting the tow package from the factory if you get the GT. Aftermarket hitches are really easy to install. 4 bolts, no hole drilling at all. If you had a 2nd person, it would take less than a half hour to install. The CX9 is only rated to 3500lbs, so depending on the generation of fiberglass boat(older vs. newer), it may be able to handle it, but the Ex would likely be able to do it better.

I hope this helps, but you'd really have to drive them both and decide for yourself. Like I said before, I wouldn't hesitate to get either one as they are both very nice vehicles.:salute:
 






alexk

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I would absolutely, I think the only difference is I may be more tempted to hold out for the sport. I would have had to order a sport when I got kind and I didn't feel like waiting so I just picked something off the lot with leather and a sunroof. Not that there's anything wrong with the XLT I just like the look and the power of the sport better. I will say though, if I had a few kids a minivan might tempt me away because I'm driving a grand caravan as a rental while my explorer is in the body shop and I actually really like it.
 






Ryan327

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One question for those who have Explorers: is the standard 3.5L V6 direct injected (where the fuel is released below the valves and doesn't wash over them)? I'm pretty sure it is just regular fuel injected and only the ecoboost option is direct injected, but want to make sure.

Both the standard 3.5 V6, the ecoboost 3.5 V6 TT, and the 2.0 ecoboost are all direct injection.
 






Lewisra

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We most likely will in a few years. If you need the cargo capacity, the GM models are much bigger inside. We had a Saturn Outlook and loved it, the wife didn't like the ride of the new Acadia, but loves her Limited.
 






tmg19103

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We most likely will in a few years. If you need the cargo capacity, the GM models are much bigger inside. We had a Saturn Outlook and loved it, the wife didn't like the ride of the new Acadia, but loves her Limited.

Outside of Yukon and Suburban, are GMC models roomier? I think the Yukon and Suburban are also a bit more expensive comparably equipped, but that's just what I hear. Have not priced shopped them.

Looks wise the Yukon and Suburban have the more traditional SUV look. I really like the way the Ex looks. More modern and sleek, but still aggressive enough.
 






Lewisra

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Outside of Yukon and Suburban, are GMC models roomier? I think the Yukon and Suburban are also a bit more expensive comparably equipped, but that's just what I hear. Have not priced shopped them.

Looks wise the Yukon and Suburban have the more traditional SUV look. I really like the way the Ex looks. More modern and sleek, but still aggressive enough.

I'm speaking of the GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave. They are much roomier second row and back.
 






tmg19103

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I'm speaking of the GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave. They are much roomier second row and back.

Fair enough, but I'll take the looks of the Ex any day and while there have been complaints about MFT, 3.6.2 seems pretty good and the Ex has otherwise been reliable while Chevy/GMC has had recalls and overall reliability problems.

What has killed Ford in consumer ratings has been MFT, but the kinks seem worked out. At the same time, my girlfriend would find even the working MFT overwhelming.

Ford should have two modes for the MFT - one real simplistic for people who are not good with figuring such things out and/or a driver borrowing the car while also keeping a mode as is (with some tweaks to make it better) for people like me who like tech and gadgets.

I just reset the clock on mother's Acura for daylight savings. She spent an hour in the car with the manual and could not figure it out on its info screen. Took me 30 seconds. Food for thought for designers of these things.
 



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wallyuwl

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Does the second row (with the bench seat, not buckets) slide? I can't seem to remember. Also didn't sit in the third row. Is it roomy enough for, say a 5'6" 150 female (I know it would be small for a 6'4" 250 lb guy).

I also found out the standard 290 HP engine is port injected, not direct injected. So that is good. Probably miss out on 2 mpg but much less chance of issues caused by dirty valves.

I'm looking at the 4WD XLT with tow package, upgraded 201A package (touch screen, backup camera, and better sound system - $1500), and remote start. Don't want leather and don't need any other of the goodies. Wouldn't mind power lift gate or moonroof, but not necessary either and if I can get one without those I'd rather not pay for it.
 






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