Why Are Ford Explorers So Cheap?

Ford Explorers are the go-to SUV for most police departments in the US. For an SUV that is one of the most popular in its class, the price tag for the Explorer is amazingly cheap. The price tag has always been a head-scratcher; why is such a good car sporting such a low price?

It might be because Ford makes a lot of Explorers every year, or their interior doesn’t command respect. The 2021 model is even cheaper than its previous predecessor. In the used car market, Ford Explorer also doesn’t attract come at a premium. The Explorer is a RWD with the capabilities of a smooth drive and a strong enough engine. 

Currently, the Ford Explorer comes in five trims:

  • Explorer
  • XLT
  • Limited
  • ST
  • Platinum

We will try to examine some reasons that make the Ford Explorer cheap.

Reasons That Make the Ford Explorer Cheap


In general, Ford makes a lot of cars per year. Each year, the Ford company produces an estimated 6.4 million vehicles. This is to lower production costs, try to penetrate new markets, and attract new customers. In reality, though, the high number of Explorers produced leads to more supply than demand.

The basic economic rule dictates the only consequence of supply outstripping demand is a fall in price if all things are equal. This principle is precisely the case with Ford Explorers and one of the reasons the Explorer is relatively cheap.

High Gas Consumption

A significant turn-off for potential owners of the Explorer is its gas usage. The 2021 model has an improved gas mileage of 21 and 28 mpg for its four-cylinder engine for city and highway driving, respectively, and 18 and 26 mpg for its turbocharged V6.

Previous Explorer models had a reputation for being inefficient fuel consumers. Rising energy costs mean that consumers have to look for vehicles that consume less fuel per gallon. Many used Explorers don’t come under that category.

The fuel inefficiency and high gas costs mean reduced demand for Explorers. Reduced need leads to lower prices in order to compete. Hence, another reason for the low prices of the car.

Cramped Backspace

The Explorer should seat five people comfortably (the 2021 model has a third-row seat). In reality, only those in the front seats have enough legroom to enjoy a comfortable ride. Unfortunately for the Explorer, competitors like the Honda Pilot offer much more space. The cramped backspace means potential buyers with a large family will switch to other options than the Explorer.

Apart from the cramped backseat, the car’s cargo space is also smaller than most cars in its class. This reason also counts against the Explorer and aids in reducing its price.

Firestone Controversy

In August 2000, Ford and tire manufacturers Bridgestone recalled 14.4 million of the tires attached to their Explorers and other cars. The reason? Investigations found that in the early 90s, there was an unusually high number of explosions in some Firestone and Wilderness tires.

These explosions caused over 250 deaths and more than 800 injuries in the US alone. According to Ford’s estimates, the lawsuits that followed these investigations cost Ford $590 million in settlement costs.

The damage wasn’t only to their bank balance, though. Many people had a loss of faith in ford products in general and Explorers in particular. It also caused a severance of a century-old business relationship between Ford and Bridgestone.

The loss of confidence affected sales of Explorers, and subsequently, the price.

Cheap Interior Materials

There’s no other way to say it. The interior of the Ford Explorer is bland, unimaginative, and cheap. The almost excessive use of rigid plastic instead of softer and more luxurious materials is because Ford is after affordability instead of luxury and exclusiveness.

It was making their cars affordable means cutting costs. Cutting costs mean using materials that don’t cost much, including cheap interior materials that cost much. The result is a car with a bland interior that might turn some people off but has achieved its goal.

Company Policy

From the time of Henry Ford, the Ford Motor Company’s ambition was to create cars that were affordable to most Americans. People could rely on Ford to produce cheap cars that could do the bare minimum.

Affordability doesn’t mean Ford has premium trims, but there’s always a Ford to suit your purse. That company policy hasn’t changed. Everything they do when manufacturing their vehicles ensures that the end product is affordable to the majority of its consumers.

The policy also affects Ford Explorers; they manufacture them with affordability in mind.

Low Cost of Production

The two significant ways Ford cuts production costs are by making lots of Explorers and using the cheap materials available. The reason for the cost-cutting is the create the most affordable cars possible.

The Explorers do what owners require of them, offering an adequately powered engine, smooth handling, all-terrain driving, and towing power of about 5,000lbs. These figures paint a picture of a capable SUV. 

However, underneath the cloak of performance, the vehicle has only the bare essentials to ensure that the final price is affordable.

Better Competition

The compact SUV class is one of the most fiercely competitive vehicle categories. Every car manufacturer has to try their best to be the best. In this category, there’s the Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Durango, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, among many others.

The fierce competition means that anyone that needs a car in this class has a lot of options to choose from, including vehicles that offer more than the Explorer. The stiff competition means the only way for Ford Explorer to attract is to lower their prices.

Lack of Exclusivity

The Ford Explorer isn’t a premium brand. They don’t have the exclusivity of a Lexus RX, Mercedes GLK, Acura RDX, luxury compact SUVs. When you any of these cars, you know a driver is a person who values luxury and class. These cars come at a premium, and to these owners, the price is worth it.

Ford Explorer doesn’t bother with these things; it offers adequate performance and a fairly pleasant ride, nothing more. No hint of luxury or intricate design. No exclusivity or sign of prestige. What you have is an SUV that works. 

We shouldn’t forget, however, that the company didn’t make Explorer compete with these brands. The Explorer is doing what it was made for.

What Problems Does the Ford Explorer Have?

There are some common problems associated with the Ford Explorer. Here are some of them.

  • Heater Stuck On Hottest Setting

There have been reports of the heater dial getting stuck at its highest point. The issue is caused by the heater actuator failing and leading to the inability to control the heater. One of the signals to know you have a broken heart actuator is a clicking sound in the motor. The only solution is to replace the heater box.

  • Timing Chain Issues

Another issue of the Explorer is the quick wearing out of its engine timing chain cassettes. Usually, a sign that there are issues with the timing chain is a rattling sound in the engine. The only way to fix this issue is to replace the timing chain cassette and tensioner. 

  • Cracking Plastic Manifold

In the 97-01 Explorers, there is a problem with coolant leakage due to a crack in the plastic intake manifold. The cracks happen when the plastic materials overheat, leading to cracks and leaking coolants. Leaking coolants lead to a triggering of the check engine indicator on the dash. The only solution is to replace the intake manifold.

  • Transmission

The automatic transmission in 95-01 Explorers suffers a slip in the gears. This gear slip causes the gear not to transit in the second and third gears. The cause of this transmission problem is a wrong valve body. The only solution is to replace this faulty valve body.

  • Oil Leak

This problem is usually associated with the the2001 Ford Explorer. It occurs when there is an overflow of oil occurs in the vent hole. This overflow leads to a leak in the front differential vent hose. To solve this issue, change the housing for the front differential cover.

How Long Can You Expect a Ford Explorer to Last?

With good maintenance, a Ford Explorer can last for 200,000 miles. It regular replacement of parts, the cars can last up to 300,000 miles.


The Ford Explorer is a good car that does its job well. However, due to company policy and other reasons like the interior’s quality, the Explorer’s price remains low. For those who equate the value of a vehicle to its performance, you would be wrong to underestimate the Explorer because it does so many things beautifully and lasts long despite some problems.

Its interior might be bland, its backspace cramped, but the Explorer has one of the best engines in its class and a solid frame to tow heavy loads. No matter how you look at the Explorer, it’s an SUV that offers value for money. 

Be sure to stay updated on the latest car trends as well—

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