2011 Ford Explorer

Find Another Ford Explorer
17 CITY / 24 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


The Ford Explorer is a midsize sport utility vehicle that replaced the Ford Bronco II for the 1991 model year. The first-generation Explorer was based on the Ford Ranger pickup truck, meaning both models shared body-on-frame platforms and 6-cylinder engines. An 8-cylinder engine option was added to the Explorer line in 1996, after the debut of the second-generation model. An all-new fifth-generation Ford Explorer debuts for the 2011 model year. Its arrival marks a radical departure from its previous four generations as the new model features a unibody platform and a front-wheel-drive powertrain. Not only is the Eddie Bauer trim level gone, but the 8-cylinder engine option has also been dropped. It is expected to be replaced by a turbocharged 4-cylinder offering later in the 2011 model year.

The 2011 Ford Explorer is offered in three trim levels: Base, XLT, and Limited. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, cloth upholstery, 6-way power driver's seat, tinted privacy glass, blind-spot mirrors, roof rails, cruise control, 17-inch steel wheels, and more. The XLT is upgraded with higher-grade cloth upholstery, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry via coded key pad, 18-inch alloy wheels, and satellite radio. The range-topping Explorer Limited is fitted with keyless ignition, remote engine start, 20-inch alloy wheels, and more. Major options include a power rear liftgate, navigation system, automatic parallel-parking system, adaptive cruise control, automatic wipers, towing package, and Xenon headlamps.

The 2011 Ford Explorer is fitted with a standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 290 horsepower. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels in standard configuration. Four-wheel drive (4WD) is optional, but it is no longer offered with a dual-range transfer case. Ford, however, does include its Terrain Management System and Hill Descent Control with the 4WD system. When properly equipped, the 2011 Ford Explorer is able to tow upwards of 5,000 pounds, according to the manufacturer. The EPA rates the fuel economy of the 2011 Ford Explorer between 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, depending on the drivetrain.

The 2011 Ford Explorer starts at a base price of around $29,000, and the model range tops out with the Explorer Limited 4WD, which starts at around $39,700.


J.D. Power Ratings

Automotive Performance Execution and Layout
Overall Performance and Design?
Features and Instrument Panel?
Initial Quality Study
Overall Quality - Design?
Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical?
Body & Interior Quality - Design?
Overall Quality - Mechanical?
Features & Accessories Quality - Design?
Powertrain Quality - Design?
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical?
Overall Quality?
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical?
Vehicle Dependability Study
Powertrain Dependability?
Body and Interior Dependability?
Overall Dependability?
Feature and Accessory Dependability?

Power Circle Scoring Legend:

Among the best
Better than most
About average
The rest
*Please note that JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards. Learn more about how J.D. Power Ratings are calculated.

The Latest New Car Previews, Buyer's guides, Articles and more from J.D. Power: