2008 Ford Explorer

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13 CITY / 19 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2008:
  • Side curtain air bags become standard on all models

  • Available navigation system adds voice activation

  • Limited model gets power adjustable pedals and a universal garage door opener

  • Ford Sync communications and entertainment system newly offered

  • New capless fueling system

  • 20-inch wheels newly optional

  • One-touch up/down driver's window now standard
The Ford Explorer continues to be one of the best-selling SUVs in America. Originally introduced in 1990 as a replacement for the Bronco II, the Explorer underwent a major redesign in 2002 and a lesser revamping in 2006. The Explorer maintains its truck-type, body-on-frame chassis, which contributes to its 1520-pound payload capability and 7310-pound maximum towing capacity. It is the same platform found underneath its Mercury Mountaineer counterpart. V-6 and V-8 power are offered, each with a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive (RWD or 4WD). The midsize Explorer can seat up to 7 passengers with the addition of an available third-row seat, which can be ordered with a power-fold feature. With the rear seats down, the Explorer has 85.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

Model Lineup
The 2008 Ford Explorer is available in XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited trim levels, each with RWD or 4WD. Standard equipment on the XLT includes air conditioning; cloth upholstery; 6-way power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment; second-row split folding seat; rear cargo management system; AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack; cruise control; power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; vehicle information center; roof rails; Class II trailer towing hitch; fog lamps; leather-wrapped steering wheel; and P235/70R16 tires on alloy wheels. Eddie Bauer models add leather upholstery; 10-way power adjustable driver's seat; keypad entry; auto-dimming rearview mirror; automatic headlights; running boards; Ford Sync communications and entertainment system; and P245/65R17 tires. The top-line Limited model has rear park assist; heated front seats; power adjustable pedals; memory for the driver's seat and pedals; 6-way power adjustable front passenger seat; third-row split folding seat; dual-zone automatic climate control; heated mirrors; 290-watt Audiophile sound system with 6-disc CD changer; steering wheel audio controls; and P235/65R18 tires. Options include a navigation system with voice activation; Sirius satellite radio; power-folding third-row seat; second-row bucket seats; universal garage door opener; rear DVD entertainment system; power-retracting running boards; and a sunroof.

The 2008 Ford Explorer is a truck-type SUV with body-on-frame construction. It comes with two engine choices. Standard is a 4.0-liter V-6 engine that produces 210 hp at 5100 rpm and 254 lb.-ft. of torque at 3700 rpm. It is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. Properly equipped, V-6 models can tow up to 5390 pounds. The other engine is a dual overhead cam 4.6-liter V-8 with 3 valves per cylinder. It makes 292 hp at 5750 rpm and 300 lb.-ft. of torque at 3950 rpm. The V-8 engine is coupeed to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The available 4WD system can be left engaged on dry pavement and has low-range gearing. EPA fuel economy ratings are 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway for the V-6 engine with 2WD; 13 mpg city/20 mpg highway for the V-8 engine with 4WD; and 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway for the V-6 or V-8 engine with 4WD.

The 2008 Ford Explorer's standard safety equipment list consists of dual front air bags; torso-protecting front side air bags; first- and second-row head-protecting curtain side air bags with rollover deployment; tire-pressure monitor; ABS; traction control; and electronic stability control with rollover mitigation. Rear park assist is standard on Limited and optional otherwise. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2008 Ford Explorer earned 5 (out of a possible 5) stars for the driver and front passenger in the front-impact test and 5 stars for front- and rear-seat passengers in the side-impact test. In rollover tests, the Explorer received 3 stars.

Developed with Microsoft, Ford Sync provides a hands-free link to cell phones and MP3 players through a series of voice commands. It recognizes your cell phone's phonebook. It can read incoming text messages through the stereo system and allows occupants to respond with one of 15 predetermined messages. When an MP3 player is plugged in, Sync charges it and has access to the complete playlist. Occupants can tell Sync to play a specific song, artist, or genre of music. Sync will also stream songs wirelessly from a source like a phone/MP3 player enabled with Bluetooth technology.

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