2011 Ford Explorer

MSRP $28,360 - $37,535

Ranked #12 in Suv

7.3

Overall Rating

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2011 Ford Explorer Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 16, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


After the discontinuation of the Bronco, Ford had introduced the Explorer as their first family-oriented SUV in the market. Inspired by the Ranger pickup truck, the Explorer was as sophisticated as a sedan with its four doors and a massive cabin. It is known for its versatility and off-roading ability.

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Pros

Great cabin quality

Superb ride quality 

Plethora of advanced features

Excellent steering

Cons

Lost off-road charm

Cramped third row

Cargo room isn't the best

What's New?

Enters 5th generation 

Now part of the mid-size crossover SUV segment


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$37535

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

7

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

213 cu.in.

horsepower

290 hp @ 6500 rpm

torque

255 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm

transmission

6 speed automatic w/OD and auto manual

chassis

suspension front

short and long arm front suspension

dimensions

wheelbase

112.6 in.

length

197.1 in.

width

78.9 in.

height

70.4 in.

curb weight

4557 lbs.

ground clearance

8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

151.7 cu ft.

cargo volume

80.7 cu ft.

towing capacity

2000 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.7 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

16.1 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

17/21/25 mpg

highway range

465 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$28,360 onwards

Limited$37,535 onwards

Colors and Styles

2011 Ford Explorer in Kona Blue Metallic color
Kona Blue Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Feature

6.0

Features

7.5

Engine and Performance

8.0

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

7.0

Exterior

6.0

Safety

6.0

Competition

8.0

7.3

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.3

Overall Rating


After ruling for four generations, Ford has brought the Explorer back for 2011 with its fifth generation, that too as a midsize crossover SUV. The 2011 Explorer starts at $28,360 and is available in three trim levels. With its capabilities and performance, it will compete with rivals such as the Chevrolet Traverse, Nissan Pathfinder, and the Dodge Durango.


7.5/10
Features

8.0/10
Engine and Performance

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

7.0/10
Interior

6.0/10
Exterior

6.0/10
Safety


2011 Ford Explorer Features

7.5/10

The all-new Ford Explorer is available in three trim levels. The rugged base trim has a price of $28,360 and is capable of touring with its roof racks and a Class III trailer tow package. You have cruise control as well as other convenience features like a six-way power driver seat with manual reclining. The XLT trim gets 18-inch painted aluminum wheels, Sirius Satellite radio, and leather-wrapped steering and gear shift knob. The top-end Limited trim gets leather upholstery, 20-inch aluminum painted wheels and certain high-end convenience features.

Trims

Base

XLT

Limited

MSRP (FWD)

$28,360

$31,520

$37,535

MSRP (AWD)

$30,360

$33,520

$39,535

Key Features

17-inch steel wheels

18-inch painted aluminum wheels

20-inch painted aluminum wheels

 

Foundry grey painted grille

Fog lamps

Heated 10-way power driver seat

 

Cruise control

Satin silver finish grille

Leather upholstery

 

6-way power driver seat and lumbar support

Unique cloth upholstery

Dual-zone automatic climate control

 

Roof racks with side grille

Leather-wrapped steering and gear shift knob

8-inch MyFord touch LCD touchscreen with navigation

 

Class III trailer tow package

Sirius Satellite Radio with a 6-month subscription

Premium audio sound system

We Recommend

Our recommendation goes for the XLT trim that will cost you $31,520 and offer a premium exterior design with good quality materials inside its cabin. It adds better features as compared to the base trim. With that, you also get fog lamps and a Sirius Satellite radio. The Rapid spec package adds the high-end technology features from the Limited trim. You can avail of the AWD system at an extra cost of $2,000.

2011 Ford Explorer Engine and Performance

8.0/10

The 2011 Ford Explorer is now more capable and powerful with its 3.5L V6 that outputs 290hp which is 80 horses more than the previous generation. Instead of the rear wheels, the V6 now powers either the front wheels only or all the 4 wheels. Still, the torque output of 255lb-ft isn't that promising. The V6 on the Explorer is mated to a 6-Speed Selectshift automatic transmission. It manages to reach from 0-60MPH of speed in just 7.6 seconds. A quarter-mile timing of 15.8 seconds is good enough for such a massive SUV. Moreover, it can do a top speed of 130 MPH.

Models

2011 Ford Explorer

2011 Chevrolet Traverse

2011 Nissan Pathfinder

2011 Dodge Durango

MSRP

$28,360

$29,370

$28,570

$29,195

Engine

3.5L V6 

3.6L V6 

4.0L V6 

3.6L V6 

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

RWD

RWD

Transmission

6-Speed automatic 

6-Speed automatic 

5-Speed automatic 

5-Speed automatic 

Power

290 hp @ 6,500 RPM

281 hp @ 6,300 RPM

266 hp @ 5,600 RPM

290 hp @ 6,400 RPM

Torque

255 lb-ft @ 4,100 RPM

266 lb-ft @ 3,400 RPM

288 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM

260 lb-ft @ 4,800 RPM

0-60 MPH (seconds)

7.6

8.5

7.8

9.0

Quarter mile (seconds)

15.8

16.0

15.9

16.2

Top Speed (MPH)

130

125

128

122

With its revised powertrain, the Ford Explorer is quite competent in its mid-size crossover segment. Both the Explorer and Durango output a similar 290 hp from their V6, but the former is comparatively faster, while the latter takes 9 seconds to reach the 60mph mark. However, the torque output pulls back the Explorer from towing heavy trailers. The Nissan Pathfinder is the closest rival with its similar performance figures and produces 266hp and 288lb.-ft of torque, but has a better towing capacity. The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse lies midway between in the segment.

2011 Ford Explorer Fuel Economy

7.0/10

With its new V6 engine, the 2011 Ford Explorer has a decent fuel economy. It delivers 17 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway. With a combined 20 MPG and an 18.6-gallon fuel capacity, it has a maximum range of 465 miles. With the AWD system, you get slightly lower 23 MPG on the highway that leaves you with a combined 19 MPG. The Explorer isn’t exactly what one would call “light” but for the weight, and the capability, the fuel economy is pretty good. 

Models

2011 Ford Explorer

2011 Chevrolet Traverse

2011 Nissan Pathfinder

2011 Dodge Durango

MPG (City)

17

17

15

16

MPG (Highway)

25

24

22

23

MPG (Combined)

20

19

17

19

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

18.6

22.0

21.1

24.6

Range (City/ Highway/ Combined, in Miles)

316/465/372

374/528/418

316/464/358

393/565/467

The all-new Explorer fares well against the rivals with its best-in-class fuel economy. On the second spot, we have the Chevrolet Traverse with its close enough mileage. The Dodge Durango has a slightly lower fuel economy in the city and on the highway but manages a similar combined efficiency as the Chevrolet averaging 19 MPG and the Nissan Pathfinder is the last one in the segment. Still, the Traverse and the Durango offer a better range than the Explorer with their massive fuel tanks that can hold 22 and 24.6-gallons, respectively.

2011 Ford Explorer Interior

7.0/10

The fifth-generation Ford Explorer comes with amazing upgrades to the cabin. It is more spacious and attractive and now offers a more convenient 7-person seating capacity. The new dashboard layout looks cooler with the illuminated LED controls and the metal-look accents. The instrument cluster is kind of sporty with its single gauge layout and a 4.2-inch configurable color driver's display. It gets a 3-spoke leather steering wheel as well.

As standard, we have a 6-way driver and 2-way passenger adjustments where the top trim offers a 10-way power driver seat with power lumbar and 6-way power passenger adjustments. The second row has a 60:40 split-bench seat with a foldable seatback. At the back, we have a 50:50 split-bench third row that can be folded to the floor for more cargo room. From simple cloth upholstery, the Explorer even offers leather upholstery with Limited trim. 

Models

2011 Ford Explorer

2011 Chevrolet Traverse

2011 Nissan Pathfinder

2011 Dodge Durango

Seating capacity

7

8

7

7

Front row (Headroom/ Shoulder room/ Legroom) inches

41.4/61.3/40.6

40.4/62.0/41.3

40.0/58.3/42.4

39.9/58.5/40.3

Second row (Headroom/ Shoulder room/ Legroom) inches

40.5/61.0/39.8

39.4/61.3/36.8

39.0/58.4/34.2

39.8/58.3/38.6

Third row (Headroom/ Shoulder room/ Legroom) inches

37.8/50.8/33.2

37.8/57.6/33.2

36.7/57.1/28.1

37.4/50.4/31.5

Cargo capacity to 3rd row (Cu.-ft)

21.0

24.4

16.5

17.2

Cargo Capacity to 2nd Rowe (Cu.-ft)

43.8

68.8

48.9

47.7

Cargo Capacity to 1st Rowe (Cu.-ft)

80.7

116.4

79.2

84.5

The fresh-looking cabin of the Ford Explorer has some new tricks down its sleeve. In terms of seating space, it is the most practical SUV as you get a proper seating area in all the rows. However the third-row bench seat may not be the best for taller passengers, that's why it is suitable for kids. The seat trim is soft and is comparatively better than the rivals. However, its cargo capacity of 80.7 cu.-ft is lower than most of its competitors, especially the 2011 Traverse that has a trunk volume of 116.4 cu.-ft. That said, some of the highlighting features are:

  • Tilt and telescopic steering 
  • Air filtration system
  • 12V DC outlets
  • Electrochromic rearview mirror 
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Power-adjustable pedals

How intuitive is the 2011 Ford Explorer's infotainment unit?

With the base trim, you get limited infotainment features like an AM/FM stereo with a CD player and an MP3 player that powers a six-speaker audio system. The XLT trim adds a SiriusXM satellite radio with 6 months subscription. The Limited trim gets a SYNC entertainment system with Bluetooth compatibility, USB connectivity, and an input jack.

It also offers a GPS-based turn-by-turn navigation system with a real-time traffic display. You can get video input for both infotainment and navigation with a huge 8.0-inch touchscreen display powered by MyFord touch. To give you a proper surround sound experience, you can also avail yourself of a Sony audio system with 12 speakers and an HD radio. Some of the highlights of the infotainment system are:

  • Bluetooth Compatibility
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • SYNC entertainment system
  • Turn by the turn navigation system
  • MyFord Touch with 8.0-inch touchscreen
  • Sony 12 speaker audio system (optional)

2011 Ford Explorer Exterior

6.0/10

The fifth-generation Ford Explorer has taken inspiration from the Land Rover SUVs in terms of exterior design. It has a sculpted design that looks way better than its previous midsize SUV profile. The Explorer is massive yet sporty with its blacked-out A, B, and D pillars and a sloping roofline. The front fascia gets a redesign with stepped HID headlamps and a black front bumper with a front diffuser below the mesh grille and optional fog lamps on either side. 

Ford has given it a unique styling with blackened side skirts and black surround wheel arches that gives it a premium SUV styling. The dual-tone side mirrors offer integrated LED turn signals. With design lines on the doors, there are also chrome surround door handles and a chrome bar that, along with the blacked-out pillars, make the crossover look big.

The roof slopes down to a rear window spoiler where we have a huge liftgate and LED tail lamps. There's a chrome bar that splits the rear door into two and says “Explorer”. The lifted rear bumper comes with a trailer hitch in the middle and dual-tip tailpipes. The Limited trim gets a chrome tip for the exhausts.

Models

2011 Ford Explorer

2011 Chevrolet Traverse

2011 Nissan Pathfinder

2011 Dodge Durango

Curb weight (lbs)

4,557

4,790

4,427

4,913

Length (inches)

197.1

205.0

192.3

199.8

Width (inches)

78.9

78.4

72.8

75.8

Height (inches)

70.4

70.4

72.0

70.9

Ground clearance (inches)

7.6

7.2

8.7

8.1

Wheelbase (inches)

112.6

118.9

112.2

119.8

With its total redesign, the Ford Explorer is still lighter than most of its rivals and limits itself under 200 inches where the Traverse is the longest SUV. Moreover, Ford has made the Explorer wider than any other SUV in the segment. It isn't the tallest SUV as it shares its height with the Chevrolet Traverse but with its 7.6-inch clearance, the Explorer can hit the off-road in style, with some of the highlights of its exterior being:

  • HID headlamps
  • LED tail lamps
  • Satin silver grille
  • Blacked-out pillars
  • Chrome exterior surround
  • 20-inch aluminum wheels
  • Roof rails
  • Rear window spoiler

2011 Ford Explorer Safety

6.0/10

The 2011 Ford Explorer is now based on the new D4 platform with rigid unibody construction. With that, it offers better dynamics and balance on the road. The new high tensile steel adds strength to the structure where the crumple zones help the Explorer to withstand impacts and that's why the IIHS has chosen it as the Top safety pick for 2011. 

  • Rigid unibody structure
  • 6 standard airbags
  • Inflatable rear safety belts
  • Advancetrac roll stability control with curve control
  • Blindspot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Rearview camera

2011 Ford Explorer Final Verdict

Leaning more towards a family SUV, the 2011 Ford Explorer is now more versatile with its practical space, comfort, convenience, and performance. It offers a better economy than its rivals, however, it needs a bigger fuel tank. It welcomes both long journeys and tough terrains where it can go beyond it with its capability and exciting features. With a starting price of $28,360, the Explorer is more mainstream and accessible than ever before.

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