2006 FORD EXPLORER EDDIE BAUER
This is a major redesign for the 2006 Explorer. While the dimensions remain
essentially the same—aside from an extra 10 cm in length— both the
exterior and interior have seen a fair amount of reworking. A third seat is
optional with the XLT and Eddie Bauer versions and comes standard with the
Limited. The 4.0 litre V6 has been improved while the 4.6 litre V8 is new and
comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. In addition, the new
platform is 63% more resistant to twisting and 55% more resistant to
Interior and Trunk
The front seats are comfortable and easy to get into, and the driver’s seat
features an adjustable lumbar support. The driving position is very good
thanks to electronically adjustable pedals. Unfortunately, the pedals can be
adjusted even when the car is in motion, which could be dangerous. Head
and leg room is good. It’s easy to bump the emergency brake pedal when
getting into the vehicle. The interior door handle— both in the front and the
back—is under the armrest, which some people will find awkward.
In the rear, getting in is easy but getting out is harder because there is little
room between the seat and the B pillar. As the name indicates, the four-
bucket-seat group features bucket seats in the rear. They offer only average
comfort, and taller passengers will be sitting a little low. This group also
features a stationary central console, so the floor is uneven in this area along
its entire width. The third row is hard to get into and will only seat smaller
passengers who don’t require a lot of legroom. All sections of the seatbacks
split 50/50 electrically, except in the XLT version.
The trunk is easy to access thanks to the tailgate, but it has a very limited
capacity when the back of the rear seat is up. However, when the seatback is
folded down, capacity is very good.
Convenience and safety
The interior is very well finished, but the quality of the dashboard material
seems a little cheap. Soundproofing is good except on a wet road, when you
can hear water hitting the rear fender panels. Storage space is good.
The instruments and controls are well placed, except for the windshield wiper
command, which is on the end of the turn signal lever. Also, the turn signals
themselves are inaudible, and some drivers may find that the lever is set too
high. Heating is a little slow, but eventually does the job. The radio antenna
on a vehicle in this price range should be built into a window and not left to
whip around the front right pillar.
For safety, the Explorer has two side impact airbags in the front (side curtain
airbags are optional), four antilock disc brakes, four-wheel drive, traction
control with anti-rollover stability system, faster than average windshield
wipers, and good headlights. The rear head restraints don’t rise high enough
for medium height or taller passengers. Three-quarter visibility is limited in
the rear due to blindspots created by the roof pillars. Also, it’s hard to gauge
distances in reverse. There is a lot of glare in the windshield, including some
from the dashboard and the chrome around the dials and instruments.
Streetlamps also create a higher-than-usual amount of glare in the
In U.S. government tests, the Explorer received five out of five stars for front
passenger safety in case of frontal impact, and for all passengers in case of
side impact. It received three stars for rollover resistance. The Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety gave the Explorer its highest rating, “good,” in
case of frontal offset impact. However, in case of rear impact, it earned the
Engine and transmission
The 4.6 litre V8 provides 292 horsepower and 300 pounds of torque. It goes
without saying that with this much under the hood, acceleration and pickup
are always lively and the vehicle can tow a heavy load. The accelerator could
be more progressive. Fuel consumption is definitely not one of this engine’s
strong points. During our trial, we got an average of 17.2 L/100 km.
The V8 comes with six-speed automatic transmission. It’s generally smooth,
but slow to downshift, especially after major deceleration. This, combined
with the jerky accelerator, means that pickup is not so smooth. The gears
are well spaced. The gearshift has to be unlocked between D and N. In
automatic mode, the four-wheel-drive system engages abruptly, but the
other modes work well.
On the Road
The four-wheel independent suspension offers a very smooth ride
unperturbed by bumps. At most, some reactions are a little firm. Handling is
good for this type of vehicle, and you get the feeling you’re driving in a
robust machine. Ford states that the ground clearance is 20.8 cm, but under
the lower strut mounts of the rear suspension, it’s only 17.7 cm.
The power steering is stable, precise, and relatively quick, but a little heavy
at low speeds. Its turn radius is normal, and it transfers a bit of roadfeel. The
four disc brakes are impressive in how quickly and assertively they can stop
a vehicle of this weight. They also resist fading well.
In a CAA-Quebec Technical Inspection Centre, we noted that the Explorer’s
new platform is very robust. However, certain aspects made us question its
off-road capabilities. For example, the bottom part of the radiator is too low,
and there is a large opening under the grille through which objects can enter
and damage tubes running to the power steering’s cooling system and the air
conditioning condenser. There is also a large hole in each front fender inner
panel through which dirt can enter the engine compartment. Furthermore,
tubes from the rear heating/air conditioning system are exposed, as is the
gas filler pipe. The V8’s camshaft is driven by a chain.
Aside from its more generous length, the new Explorer mainly differs from
the old version in its smooth ride, its new V8, and its six-speed transmission.
Let’s hope for Ford’s sake that these changes will be enough for the Explorer
to hold on to its sales lead in North America. Certain aspects of its
construction remind us that Fords are now built more for uptown than the
Pros: comfort in the front, smooth ride, lively V8, powerful brakes, robust
undercarriage, fast windshield wipers.
Cons: transmission is slow to downshift, wiper command should be revised,
gas-guzzling V8, windshield glare, certain parts unprotected, some materials
2006 FORD EXPLORER
Engine: 4.0 litre V6, 12 valves; 4.6 litres V8, 24 valves
Horsepower: 210 hp at 5,100 rpm; 292 hp at 5,750 rpm
Torque: 254 ft-lbs at 3,700 rpm; 300 ft-lbs at 3,950 rpm
Transmission: 5 speed automatic; 6 speed automatic
Length: 491.2 cm
Width: 187.2 cm
Height: 184.9 cm
Wheelbase: 288.8 cm
Weight: 4,301 to 4,309 kg
Tires: P245/65R17; P235/65R18
Towing capacity: 3,230 kg
Air bags: standard plus two side-impact airbags. Side curtain airbags
Fuel consumption with the V8
Transports Canada rating:
City 16.6 L/100 km (17 mpg) Highway 10.9 L/100 km (26 mpg)
17.2 L/100 km (16.5 mpg) Test temperature: –10°C to 2°C
Fuel tank capacity: 85 litres
Fuel requirement: regular
0–100 km/h: 8.2 seconds 60–100 km/h: 6 seconds
Competition: Chevrolet Trailblazer, Dodge Durango, GMC Envoy, Honda Pilot,
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mitsubishi Montero, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota 4Runner
Full basic coverage: 3 years/60,000 km
Powertrain: 3 years/60,000 km
Surface rust control: 3 years/60,000 km
Perforation damage: 5 years/unlimited kilometres
Emissions control system: 3 years/60,000 km (full coverage).
8 years/130,000 km (catalytic converter, electronic control module).
Factory replacement parts:
Rear bumper: $561Front brake disc: $153
Brake pads: $160Muffler: $444
Front fender: $203