04 Ford Explorer: a year in review

Dat reflection tho

We bought the Explorer a little over a year ago so I figured I’d write some of my thoughts down.

This was what we replaced my old Saturn with. My wife had just given birth to my son 3 months prior and we decided that having a total of 4.5 doors between 2 cars just wasn’t going to work out. So we did some research and found this in the used car side of a Chevy dealer down the street from my in laws. It is a V6 Eddie Bauer and we are the second owners in its 12 year life. They also let me test drive a C7 Corvette.


Exterior: it’s a big rectangle with a smaller rectangle in front of the windshield. It’s the Eddie Bauer edition which gives it that classic two tone paint that ford loved using on its Trucks and SUVS in the mid 2000s. I’ll be honest when we first started looking at it i wasn’t a fan but it really has started to grow on me. I feel like it would look even more boring if it was all one color.

Interior: Leather everywhere. Even the fold down 3rd row is covered in cow hide. The dash pad is leather while the console is covered in what I assume is fake wood but it actually does look nice. Buttons are the standard plastic affair but for being a 12 year old truck everything has held together well. It’s also really quiet. With the windows up and the sun roof cover closed you could talk to people in the 3rd row with a whisper.

Drivetrain: It’s got the 4.0L V6 from the Ranger it shares it’s frame with and it’s been just as smooth as the day we bought it. It’s got the 4x4 system not that weird advancetrac system which has saved me a few times getting stuck in snow or mud. And while the transmission is known for failure, so far (knock on wood) there hasn’t been any issues. It shifts well and when I ask it to which makes passing a breeze. It’s not particularly fast but I don’t knock it since it’s got the same aerodynamic efficiency of a refrigerator. Gas mileage seems to hover right around 17mpg in a mix of highway and city driving. That’s actually the one thing I don’t like about it. Not that the gas mileage is so poor but I could have found one with a V8 in it and the gas milage wouldn’t have been that different.

What’s it like to drive: to participate in a cliche it’s like driving a cloud. The suspension soaks up a lot of the bumps which comes in handy on the awful roads of Chicago. It eats highway miles like nobody’s business and while I havnt done any offroading with the new all-terrain tires I’d imagine it could handle some mild trails without much complaint. I actually want to take it to an off road park this summer and might have to take a trip down to the badlands off road park in Indiana just to see what it can do haha.


How does it baby: My son Kieran loves it. He knows it’s his cause whenever he sees it in a parking lot he always points to it and goes vroom vroom. And he loves being able to see out the windows now on longer car trips. We have done two trips to Cincinnati in it and a trip to Peoria and it swallows everything wed need to take for a weekend and then some.

Reliability: So far we haven’t had any major issues with her. She’s gotten a few oil changes and a new set of tires but mechanically she’s been pretty sound. This summer though I need to address a leaky front differential and the rear brakes need to be done but other than that no issues.


Overall I absolutely love this thing. For her one year anniversary I hand wash which she seemed to enjoy and I look forward to keeping her in good shape for another 12.

I’ll now open it up for an AMA if you’ve made it this far haha

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