1 Oct 1996
By CHRIS HARRIS
Spectacularly successful in the US, the truck-based, full-time 4WD Explorer arrived here in three four-door wagon variants in late ’96 – base XL, popular XLT and luxury Limited auto.
It replaced the Mazda B-series-based Raider.
A seven-seater option was added in mid-'97. Two 4.0-litre V6 engines were available according to which transmission was ordered – an ancient 119kW/305Nm overhead valve unit was mated to a five-speed manual, or a more modern, German-made 153kW/339Nm single overhead-cam unit came when a five-speed auto was ordered.
All are equipped with dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, power steering and air-conditioning. In '98 a limited edition Quest added more features.
In October '97 a new tailgate design, improved ergonomics and better ground clearance were implemented.
It is worth noting that the much-publicised rollover cases in the US involve certain Firestone tyres never officially fitted to Australian-bound models.
Nevertheless, these are top-heavy trucks that require utmost care, concentration and consideration when being driven. They are not cars.