Used Explorers are cheap. It is what it is. There were millions of these things made. I won't say that they were the most awesome vehicle made, but it's serviceable and it's very easy to get a good deal on used one because there are so many out there. Parts are plentiful and cheap... they were so popular during the late 90's and early 00's that there are dozens and dozens of them (if not hundreds) in any given junkyard. They do have problems. My '99 has a solid rear axle, and the shocks are worn out. I can tell you that the combo does not make a smooth ride. I'm not a fan of the auto 4x4 on my Limited. Personally I would rather have full-time 2wd unless I choose to lock it in. I've heard this generation has had some tranny problems, but more so in the 3rd generation.
For the price I paid for mine (dirt cheap), and the price I'm gonna sell it for (slightly more dirt cheap), I will have driven around for nearly 3 years and 25k miles for about 1400 dollars. My total ownership cost will be under 500 dollars a year and close to 5 cents a mile. If I spent 40k on a new one, I would have to own it for 40 years, put nearly 400k miles on it, and sell it for 20k to realize the same value. We all know that won't happen. So... you won't ride around in the latest and greatest if you get a 2nd gen Explorer in 2014 or 2015, but you will get an incredible value.
- Parts are cheap and easy to come by in pick-and-pull junkyards.
- The vehicle is pretty reliable anyway, so no part may be needed.
- No crazy interior squeaks and groans like in a Blazer.
- Pretty good in mud or on the beach.
- The leather used on the Limited is a good quality and doesn't rip or tear easily.
- Can be found for cheap.
- Doesn't ride that great. They went to independent rear suspension in the 3rd gen to solve this.
- Skip the 4.0 V6. The 5.0 V8 will get the same gas mileage (if not slightly better) with greater power.
- Fuel mileage with either motor isn't great.
- I don't like the auto 4wd feature. I could care less about spinning tires in 2wd, but the auto 4wd relies on slip sensors to engage the transfer case. I've heard that tires that aren't the same tread pattern can cause it to engage 4wd. This could be bad on pavement. Mine has been reliable, but there's a chance that it may not be.