If it walks like a duck….if it quacks like a duck….it’s a truck.

Ford calls their 2013 Explorer a “crossover”.  I’d call it a truck.

It’s chunky and muscular like a truck.

It’s high off the ground like a truck.

And it does “truck things”.

Intelligent 4-wheel drive….with settings for “normal”, “mud and ruts”, “sand and grass”, and “gravel and snow”.

That’s truck stuff, right?

Plus the Explorer can come with terrain management, curve control, roll stability control, hill-descent control, trailer sway control…and it can tow 5,000 pounds.    More truck stuff, right?

And that’s a good thing.    The Explorer is Ford’s “Swiss Army Knife”….perhaps their most all-around, all-capable vehicle.

Their Escape is a terrific smaller “runabout” SUV for 4 or5 people.

The Flex can haul 6 or 7…rapidly…in luxury.

And the Explorer can do all that and just about everything else.

So if “go anywhere anytime” is high on your priority list, you may want to have an Explorer on your list.

Explorers start just a hair under 30K in 2-wheel-drive form.   Our test Explorer was a 4-WHD “Limited” version with a 3.5, 290 HP V-6 and a 6 speed auto.

It provided decent “GO”, but there’s a 3.5 turbo EcoBoost that packs 355 HP and a bunch more torque for serious towing.   There’s also a 2.0 liter EcoBoost four available.   The 4 is a great engine in their smaller vehicles, but personally I’d be tempted to go all the way with the 355 HP engine.

The “Limited” comes with just about everything:   Power, folding and heated mirrors, roof rails, keyless entry, power third-row seating, leather seating, heated steering wheel, adjustable foot pedals with memory to accommodate all sizes of drivers, voice-synched controls, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning…and more….and listed at $47,710.

Mileage for the 4-WHD version is rated at 17 city and 23 highway.  We averaged in the low-twenties in the typical Atlanta commute.   The 4-cylinder EcoBoost 2-WHD version is rated at 20 and 28.

The Explorer is a big, comfortable, capable vehicle.   I’d opt for the 3.5 EcoBoost.

dscn3514 2013 Ford Explorer


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