Last post on Dec 04, 2013 at 1:23 PM
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Mercury Mountaineer, Ford Explorer, SUV
#634 of 862 2006 Explorer V8 6000 mile report
Dec 22, 2006 (2:18 pm)
2006 Explorer XLT, 4wd V8, leather, heated seats, audiophile sound, rear air, 3rd seat, tow hitch, 16" wheels, Michelin Cross Terrains. Traded a 2004 VW Touareg.
Average mileage is about 15.5 to 16.5 mpg on regular. About 19 to 21 on trips. Definitely nothing to write home about, but the v8 motor is smooth, powerful and is an important part of the fun-to-drive factor for the car. The six speed auto is good, but not great. It could use a little sportier shift program (not too much), and the ability to select gears would be nice. The car is quieter and as smooth to drive as my Touareg was, and a hell of a lot cheaper. The seats and driving position are excellent. The seat heater has only one speed, HI. Handling is definitely not too sporty, but oh so much better than the earlier versions of explorer. Steering is very good, very un-fordlike, from my experiences 30-40 years ago. I find it very agreeable to drive, and I appreciate a sporty car. My other car is a Caddy CTS. The audiophile sound system is worth it if you like music. The heating and air conditioning is good, but I wonder why a $36K sticker price car does not have climate control. It aint rocket science to put climate control on a car. Set it and forget it. Defrost is troublesome at the windshield because of the little hump in the instrument panel. It keeps the wipers icy cause the defrost heat cant get to them. Seems kind of weird for a car that was presumably designed in Detroit where the weather really gets lousy. The door pulls are stupid. I understand that's been taken care of in the 2007 model, but I have not seen one yet. Could be as simple as putting a little groove in the armrest to grab onto to close the door. Watch out in the wind. Theres nothing to grab onto when you open or close the door. I absolutely hate the seatbelt chimes but all cars have them now. When I am off-road (for work) I am in and out of the car alot, and it would be nice not to have to wear the belt. Nannyism is not my bag.
I live in snow country and like to go off-road. Because the auto 4wd clunks into 4wd every time a wheel slips, it is kind of annoying. My recommendation is when it is slippery, just keep it in 4wd hi and leave it. I also do not really appreciate the stability control (it is very intrusive in snow), so I turn it off. It might appeal to the timid drivers, but as a well-trained, old-school driver, it pisses me off. That said, I'm still not a complete devotee of anti-lock brakes, but there's not much I can do about that. The brakes are pretty good, no complaints.
This is not a Jeep. Ground clearance is poor, as is approach angle front and rear. Keep the 4-wheeling to easy stuff. Too bad because the motor is really very tractable and controllable. The Michelin cross terrains are good tires, I would choose them over the others that seem to come on explorers. Kind of wish I had the 17 inch wheels, but I can live without them. We've never used the 3rd row seat, I've never even seen it. What a waste of $900. The rear heater will light your fire. If you are tall, forget the sunroof.
It's a company car, it had to be a Ford, and I like it a lot more than I thought I would. Overall, thumbs up. It is definitely more comfortable and nicer to drive than an Expedition. It has never been back to the dealer, although someday I will talk to them about the clunkiness of the auto 4wd system when it senses slip. Seems awfully crude. I've had lots of 4wds that were less obtusive when they kicked in.
I can see why Ford is in trouble. They dont give these things away (although we got $7k off sticker), and for the money there should be a few more features and less stupid stuff like the armrests and windshield defroster. Every Explorer on the lot was packed with 3rd row seat and rear air/heat. Neither item is too essential. If you need a minivan, buy one, you will be better served. I would have rather they spent that money making the rest of the car perfect, and I would have gladly spent it.
#635 of 862 Re: 2006 Explorer V8 6000 mile report [panzer]
Dec 22, 2006 (3:04 pm)
thanks for the comprehensive review.
i have an '02 model.
i think the 4wd keeps kicking in because of the michelin tires. they make no noise, but are not grippy in bad weather. mine replaced the noisy, rough goodyears it came with. the goodyears never slipped or hydroplaned. can't say the same for the michelins. i had to dial my driving back a bit in bad weather. overall, i like the michelins because they are silent and smooth, although the ride is squishier and they don't have the driving feel of the goodyears.
i prefer rwd, but needed 3 rows of seats. any minivans fit that bill?
if you check the owner's manual, there might be directions for disabling the 'belt minder'. i'm guessing you are referring to the continuous ding-ding that starts after 15 seconds or so. it's worth a look.
#636 of 862 Re: 2006 Explorer V8 6000 mile report [panzer]
Dec 22, 2006 (5:55 pm)
"the ability to select gears would be nice."
It's there, and it is nice. Any gear can be manually selected. Starting from rest can be done in 1-st 2-nd, or 3-rd.
The O/D can be turned off. Manual downshift to any gear that won't over-speed the engine can be easily done.
I need help understanding your comment.
#637 of 862 Re: 2006 Explorer V8 6000 mile report [lateralg]
Dec 24, 2006 (7:18 am)
There are six speeds in the transmission. Yes, you can start out in 1, 2 or 3, and you can downshift to them. Also, you can block out 6th with the o/d button. However, you cannot run through the gears sequentially (except for 1,2,3) and hold them, nor can you manually downshift through the gears, nor can you select any gear and hold it, except for the first three, kind-of. It's not a big deal, but for a couple of dollars, Ford could have put in the hardware/software to do this. The rest of the car world is doing it. I would have gladly traded the chrome-plated plastic grill for it.
#638 of 862 Re: 2006 Explorer V8 6000 mile report [explorerx4]
Dec 24, 2006 (7:30 am)
No, the clunking is clearly the front axle hooking up in a slip situation. I've had lots of experience with that through the 30 inches of new snow we have been driving through for the past few days. The vehicle has handled the snow very well. Really, I have no complaints with the way the Michelins handle in any weather or situation. They are not off-road tires, but then again the Explorer is not much of an off-road truck.
I too prefer rwd. It's just that minivans give you more room inside for the amount of real estate they take up. Also, they are much easier to load (live) bodies into. If three rows, rear drive and the ability to carry seven is important, I would definitely look at the next larger size vehicle, the class of which is currently the Tahoe/Suburban.
I'll check on disbling the ding, but I have my doubts that's possible.
#639 of 862 Re: 2006 Explorer V8 6000 mile report [panzer]
Dec 24, 2006 (8:48 am)
"However, you cannot run through the gears sequentially (except for 1,2,3) and hold them"
Make that 1,2,3,&4. I fail to see any advantage to going beyond this. I have over a year's use on my Mountaineer, including off-roading and 4,000 miles of towing a 5,000# travel trailer. I've yet to see a need for more manual gear selection than what is provided.
By the way, the O/D button blocks out both 5-th and 6-th, the two overdrive gears. 4-th gear is direct.
#640 of 862 Re: 2006 Explorer V8 6000 mile report [panzer]
Dec 29, 2006 (12:47 am)
I'm thinking about going the other way - from a 2002 explorer to a v8 Touareg. Which one do you think is better?
#641 of 862 "Preferred Suede Seat Inserts" - Comments from owners?
Dec 29, 2006 (9:24 am)
My wife and I ordered a 2007 EB Explorer to replace our '04 Mountianeer. We opted for the seats with the suede inserts because it provides a surface that feels more like cloth (neither one of us care for leather/pleather).
My concern is the "care" needed to keep these looking good. With the suede insert, you don't get an option on color and the suede insert is a very light-colored material which makes me a little worried about how it's going to look a year from now.
If you have these seats, please share your experience with how they are holding up, if you have had to clean them, or if you found something to 'treat' them with to protect them from getting dirty that works well.
I'm hoping that we're worried about nothing. But that light, non-smooth surface, looks like it won't take long to look filthy.
#642 of 862 Re: 2006 Explorer V8 6000 mile report [wesleydma]
Dec 29, 2006 (7:13 pm)
I fail to see the fascination with the Tow-rag myself, but people seem to like 'em. However, I would advise ya to check the Edmunds forums on Touareg problems first - they are a nightmare of a car, like most VWs. Nobody ever buys a second one.
#643 of 862 Re: "Preferred Suede Seat Inserts" - Comments from owners? [pulleydog]
Dec 29, 2006 (7:17 pm)
Suede is not intended to look "brand new" after it's broke in. These inserts are intended to "wear in" as used, and they get just so dirty under normal use, which is supposed to be very "attractive".
You can use a suede dry cleaning solution on it, but it won't ever look like it does new. It's not intended to.