2002 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0 flex fuel from North America


Worst piece of junk I've ever owned


Transmission solenoid pack went at 45,000 miles and again at around 60,0000 which destroyed the whole transmission.

The passenger power window broke twice both requiring the replacement of the whole motor and cable assembly.

The passenger power door switch burned out the headlight switch twice before I found the short. Still wondering why the circuit didn't have a fuse to protect a $100 switch?

The gas gauge read wrong and left me coasting into a gas station one morning on my way to work.

General Comments:

Loved the ride, loved the maneuverability, loved the quiet, but will probably never buy another Ford.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th January, 2008

2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0 V6 from North America


A death trap


Tranny needed to be replaced at 2,000 miles.

The paint was awful, and when I went through the car wash, paint spots would suddenly appear.

I went to open the rear lift gate and the glass burst and it fell all over me. It wasn't even cold out, it was in the spring.

Many leaks from exhaust and engine.

Numerous problems with car and spent 42,000. We complained to Ford and they were not helpful with the car.

General Comments:

Sounds like a V8. the older generation was better in my opinion. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear seat is way too small! Ford is getting better, but I do not think that I would buy another one anyways.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st January, 2008

23rd Mar 2008, 22:20

The liftgate glass shattered on mine when I was going really, really slow and backed into a truck and the glass shattered everywhere. But we forgot to get it replaced becuz I think there was recall or something but I was still able to replace it under warranty, and the glass was inside the back EVERYWHERE.

30th Mar 2008, 20:26

I don't see anything here that rises to "death trap". I do get a kick out of the person who is outraged that their rear glass broke when they crashed it into a truck, though!

9th Dec 2008, 12:17

My mom has a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer AWD. She went to close the lift gate glass, the hinge came loose and the glass shattered. The Ford dealer says they replaced the hinges on her car in 2005 under the recall and there is nothing they can do about it.

2002 Ford Explorer Sport 4.0L, SOHC from North America


The greatest vehicle I have ever owned


Nothing has gone wrong with this vehicle in my brief ownership.

Upon purchase, I replaced a turn signal bulb and a brake light bulb.

This winter, the in-dash CD player had difficulty ejecting a CD from the No. 1 slot. It eventually ejected the CD when the cabin warmed up.

General Comments:

I recognize that I have only driven about 1,800 miles, so I acknowledge that I may change my initial assessment in selecting so many high marks. But with that said: This is the nicest vehicle that I have ever owned.

Upon purchase, I immediately had a Ford garage perform the 75,000 and 60,000 mile maintenance schedules. This included flushing the cooling system, changing the transmission fluid and filter, changing the air filter, checking the brakes, and changing the oil, in addition to checking other fluids. I like to know where I'm starting from with a used car.

I had never considered myself a "Ford person" but I love this vehicle!


The seats are very comfortable, with lumbar support, and power adjustments for the driver.

The steering wheel is thick, so you can grab it, and the material doesn't slide through your fingers. Controlling the steering wheel feels smooth and tight, with no wobble.

The interior is tasteful yet utilitarian, easy to clean. Arm rests are at the right height, and the center console is useful, with storage in the armrest and two cupholders.

I appreciate little details like the hexagonal bolt head motif that is repeated on the step bars and steering wheel cover. I also appreciate the use of different materials on the door panel, rather than a cheap looking single piece of plastic or cloth.

The back seats adults comfortably. The best thing I can say about general comfort is that I drove it 600 miles in a day, and didn't feel sore or fatigued at all, and could have driven another two hours.


I have only good things to say. I like the use of gauges on the instrument cluster, rather than "idiot lights", and it is easy to see all of the cluster through the steering wheel. I also like being able to turn off the overdrive.

The power windows and locks are a luxury for me, and they work flawlessly.

The intermittent wipers are great.

The 6-slot, in-dash CD player is nice, although I don't know how much I will use it.

The AC is fabulous, even too cold without going to "Max AC". The passengers really like the rear AC controls for the back seat.

I have a tendency to not want to use the key fob to lock/unlock the doors, for fear of wearing out the motors or servos.

If I haven't mentioned it specifically, assume that I'm happy with it.


I used to have disdain for 6-cylinders, but no more. I'm really impressed by the 4.0 liter, single overhead cam engine and the 5-speed automatic transmission.

I have checked gas mileage, and at 55 mph the Explorer gets 26 mpg, which I'm really excited about. Even doing over 65 mph with the AC on, it gets over 22 mpg, and in a mixture of short trips/highway/city driving, I got 19-21 mpg. This seems to wildly exceed the EPA estimate of 15 city/20 highway, but my driving habits have always beaten the EPA estimates.

The four-wheel, anti-lock disc brakes are nice to have, although my driving is controlled enough that I may never need their full capability. The previous owner must have relied on them a lot, because there is some pulsing, indicating warping, under harder braking, and one rotor has a groove worn in it, so a brake job will be in my future. I wouldn't consider this the vehicle's fault.

I'm a little skeptical about the long term reliability and ruggedness of the dashboard selector switch for the transfer case. I'm used to the lever and the mechanical connection. There are no problems thus far, although I haven't used it much. I like the 2-speed transfer case, since a low range is more appropriate for a truck as compared to "all wheel drive."

The body and differentials don't have the ground clearance that I'm used to in a 4-wheel drive, and the step bars lower that even further. However, I knew that my serious off-road working days were over, so I can't complain. I wouldn't take this vehicle to places where I wouldn't have hesitated to take my previous truck, although it is too nice to bounce off trees and rocks, anyway.


Everything is smooth and tight, no squeaks or rattles. The steering wheel is straight, and the vehicle goes where it is pointed without wandering, even in the interstate troughs made by tractor trailers.

The ride is quiet, with minimal road noise, although I have truck tires rather than street tires.

The steering and braking is smooth, and I find myself going about 15 mph faster than I thought because the vehicle is so much smoother than my old car. I know better than to consider any truck as a sportscar, but it takes corners pretty well, at least far better than my old full-sized truck.

You can feel nasty bumps and expansion joints in the road, but they aren't bone-jarring as in my previous vehicles. I'm impressed at the way it handles the undulating "up and down" motion of freeze-thaw affected roads, smoothing them out instead of bouncing up and down. In my previous truck, I would have to slow down to 45 or it felt as though my kidneys were being pounded.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th June, 2007

25th Nov 2007, 10:47

I am the original reviewer, with an update after driving 1 year and 10,000 miles. Even though I bought it in December 2006, I have really only driven it since June, so that is 10,000 miles in six months. The Explorer now has over 89,000 miles and I still love it. I would still give it "10's" for reliability, comfort, performance, and running costs, and have no problems to report.

The gas mileage continues to be 19-20 for driving to work every day, which includes 10 minutes of neighborhood driving with about a dozen stop signs to get through, and an additional 10 minutes of interstate driving, mostly up a 7% grade hill. Cruising on the highway at 65 mph gives 22-24+ mpg, depending on hills and traffic conditions. State highways at 55 mph gives better mileage, at about 25-26 mpg.

The seats are very comfortable, and I can drive for 10 hours and not get sore.

The handling is great, and I would even describe it as nimble and responsive, for an SUV. The steering continues to be tight, no shaking or wandering.

I continue to be impressed by the stopping power of the 4-wheel disc brakes, although I have never jammed them on hard enough to feel the anti-lock pulsation. Even without feeling the anti-lock pulsing, the truck stops extremely quickly compared to what I'm used to, and to me feels like the truck will stop faster than I could remain in the seat.

I have used the in-dash CD player a number of times, and really like it. I have never had a problem with skipping, although still rarely have a problem with the CD in the Number 1 slot being fully ejected. It will eject it to the point where you may have to grab the edge of the CD with a tweezer and yank it out, but this only happens once every six months.

The heater and AC is great. At the height of summer, the AC kept the cabin ice cold just on the regular AC setting. I've never used the Max AC setting, and even on the regular setting it gets so cold that I have to back off on the temperature control knob. Similarly for the heater, it works so well that I have only turned the fan control up to "2" a few times, and generally turn it back to "1" and then turn the temperature down. I'm also impressed at how the heater is ready to work much more quickly than my old truck. My old truck required driving 1-2 miles before the engine had warmed up enough for the heater to work, but the Explorer is ready to blow warm air after only a quarter mile.

I noticed that my rear differential was low in fluid, and I had to add a quart of 80W-90 gear oil (it's not a limited slip differential, just regular). I hope that it hasn't been damaged by being run low on fluid for so many tens of thousands of miles, so I check it routinely now. The service guide doesn't even have you look at it until 150,000 miles, by which time I'm sure it would have been dry, so I'm glad that I believe in routine maintenance and took it upon myself to check it. The front differential was full, and the transfer case was 8 ounces low on Mercon ATF.

I have more faith in the dash-mounted transfer case selector switch now. It works great, and the 4-Low is geared appropriately so that the vehicle barely creeps down steep grades at idle.

I use the "O/D Off" function a lot, and have had no problems with it. I try to drive so that I don't exceed 2,000 rpm's by very much.

I notice some lack of torque from the 4.0 Liter V-6 compared to my other vehicles. I live at the top of a steep hill, where you have to be at a virtual dead stop at the bottom and climb up at 25 mph in a residential area, and then slow down to make a sharp turn, and the Explorer doesn't like to climb the hill in "D". It does better in "2", but if you let off the gas and then try to accelerate, there is a total lack of response and the engine really strains. The car needs to be in "1" in order to maintain any responsiveness from the engine climbing that hill, especially when slowing for potholes and obstacles and then trying to accelerate up the steep part, then slow down for the sharp curve and climb the last steep part. My old truck needed to be in "2" to climb it, and my Charger will do it in "D" with no problem.

This is minor, but as someone who believes in manual shifting and engine braking, I think the gear shift feels sort of sloppy. I don't feel the tight "clicks" that I'm used to with my other automatics, and when I manually downshift, I have learned to jiggle the shift lever a little to make sure it has seated.

I continue to be impressed with the quiet ride, and the only detraction is the plastic trim around the rear hatch that rattles on rutted roads, which doesn't qualify as a complaint.

In short, I continue to love this vehicle, and think it's by far the nicest vehicle that I've ever owned. I used to scorn Ford for decades. Then my parents bought a used '97 Mercury Sable that they've put 120,000 miles on (it now has nearly 180,000 miles) with no problems, and I started to take notice. This Explorer is my first Ford and they have won me over. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Ford.