The previous owner broke the arm rest, and that's the car's fault?
We've owned three Explorers, and YES, they used lots of gas. We KNEW that when we bought them. Not one of them ever had a single problem, however, and your Explorer now has 47,000 more miles on it than our one (and thankfully ONLY) Honda ever managed.
We used to have a late '90's Explorer at work, and I didn't think much of that one, either. It was the most gutless V-6 I ever saw, it was uncomfortable, and yes it used gas.
However, my 2002 Explorer is a totally different vehicle and I love it! The 4.0 L, SOHC engine with 5-speed automatic is so much better than the older one, and I get 20 city/25 highway for mileage.
I only have 95,000 miles on mine, but have had no problems -- nothing broken, no rattles, no warning lights on.
It's my first Ford, and it has changed my attitude about Ford. I used to sneer at them, but now I think they make a good car.
At work we now have a 2005 Explorer, and that is quiet, smooth riding, and also gets decent mileage, and it has a lot of power even with the V-6.
Just because you got a dog, don't write off Fords altogether. You could get a loser anytime you're not careful buying a used car.
To comment 18:12. I'm glad you're happy with your Explorer, and yes, the 4.0 is a great engine.
I wrote comment 12:19, and our last Explorer had the 4.0 V-6. We did have the "check engine" light come on once (they are VERY sensitive) and the problem was corrected by running one tank of premium gas through it.
Ford is building some really great vehicles, and I'm glad you are enjoying yours.
I'd advise running a can of fuel injector cleaner through the fuel system about every 6,000 miles or so. It's cheap and helps keep the injectors clean.
To 6th Jul 2008, 20:14:
I agree 100% with your comment. I put engine treatment into my 2001 Ford Taurus, and 131,XXX miles later, it runs like a top. No major repairs!
I can't stand how people can trash cars due to lack of research and a lack of patience when shopping around. An Explorer is as good a car as one any other 'good brand'- Toyota, Honda- whatever- but the bottom line- you have to care for it!