1 Nov 2001
The previous Explorer was a sales Godsend for Ford US and then a disaster for the mostly American victims that died as a result of a specific brand of tyre used (not imported on models sold here) that blew out as a result of severe weight transfer and vehicle instability.
Both never happened for that truck-based Explorer here, so Ford hoped for the former to occur with the all-new Mk2 model.
Absolutely new from the ground up, it looks and feels more substantial, but the real story is in the new four-wheel independent suspension and the addition of a powerful new 178kW/382Nm 4.7-litre Mustang V8 engine.
The Explorer still comes across as very American - that is, it's softly sprung and cushy to ride in - but the V8 gives strong performance for only a small price increase over the base 157kW/344 4.0-litre SOHC V6 and can be made to return respectable fuel figures.
Respectable that is for a vehicle tipping the scales at more than two tonnes. The dual range transmission helps the Ford off-road, but a shortage of ground clearance does not.
New, optional third-row seats and a little more passenger space are welcome improvement too. Three models were introduced: XL, XLT and Limited.