The 2009 Ford Explorer is well positioned to compete against both truck- or car-based mid-sized SUVs. The body-on-frame construction will please those in need of towing capacity, while the independent rear suspension and stiffer frame enhance handling on paved surfaces. Optional third-row seating on all trim levels expands utility for larger families.
The Explorer is offered in three trim levels--XLT, Eddie Bauer, and Limited--and all are offered in rear-, four-, or full-time all-wheel drive.
The standard 4.0L V6 engine produces 210 horsepower and is mated to a five-speed automatic, and the powertrain is capable of towing nearly 5,400 lb. A 4.6L V8 is optional across the range and cranks out 292 horsepower and 300 ft-lb of torque. It is paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox, combining to tow up to 7,285 lb.
XLT models come well equipped, with standard features such as air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel with integrated audio and climate controls, power driver's seat, power windows, mirrors, and locks, a split-folding second-row, seat, and more. Eddie Bauer models feature leather seating, satellite radio SYNC infotainment, iPod adapter, a ten-way power driver's seat and automatic headlights. Top-of-the-line Limited Explorers include heated front seats, rear climate control, an in-dash six-disc CD changer with premium sound, and a universal garage door opener.
Anti-lock brakes and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control are standard on all Explorers, as are dual front and side seat airbags.
Popular options include navigation and a DVD entertainment system.