These are the best fourth-generation Ford Explorer trims to buy used

2006 Ford Explorer in Dark Brown Off Road

Introduced in 1991, the Ford Explorer is the ideal American family dumper for those looking for a spacious SUV. Plus, the Explorer’s impressive powertrain options make it a capable SUV that’s ready to tackle road trips and take it off the sidewalks.

While the current generation Ford Explorer offers a plethora of great qualities, including a roaring turbocharged V6 that produces 400 horsepower. However, buyers on a tight budget can take advantage of what older Explorer models can offer by sacrificing top technology in brand new models.

The fourth generation of the Ford Explorer (2006-2010) may not be as trendy and modern as the fifth generation, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great everyday driver for American families. With all the different finishes and configurations available, buying a used Explorer can seem like an overwhelming process. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best fourth-generation Ford Explorer outfits to make sure you get the configuration that best suits your needs.

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Best Performance: The 2010 Ford Explorer Limited Offers a Powerful V8

If you want to get the best performance from a fourth generation Explorer, you should opt for the 2010 Limited Editions. The standard powertrain on these models is a 4.0L V6. However, Ford offered an optional 4.6L V8 engine that boasted 292 horsepower and a whopping 315 lb-ft of torque.

The engine is mated to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels (although AWD is optional for other powertrain configurations).

A properly configured 2010 Ford Explorer can tow up to 7,025 pounds, enough for a couple of fishing boats or a jet ski.

A powerful, high-capacity V8 engine like that of the 2010 Explorer is undoubtedly not the best in terms of fuel efficiency. Official EPA estimates allow the V8-configured 2010 Explorer to power off 14 miles to the gallon in the city and 19 on the highway (16 combined).

In addition, the 2010 Explorer Limited offers standard leather seats and steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control and 20-inch alloy wheels.

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Most cost-effective: The 2007 Explorer XLT is a budget-friendly family SUV

While used 2006 Explorers have lower price tags in the second-hand market, we strongly recommend skipping them due to widespread issues. More than 750 owners of the 2006 Explorer have reported it on the Vehicle Complaints website. Nearly half of these reports relate to transmission failures around 50,000 miles. Other issues plaguing the 2006 model include a faulty cooling system, intermittent engine stalls, and complete powertrain failure. The 2007 Explorer has significantly fewer owner complaints.

With the XLT trim, Ford offers a 4.0L V6 engine as standard with 210 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque. The Explorer XLT features a five-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear.

Although it is the base engine, it does not differ much from the V8 powertrain in terms of fuel consumption. Fuel economy ratings for the Explorer XLT sit at 14 MPG in the city and 20 on the highway (16 combined).

According to the RepairPal website, the annual maintenance cost for a 2007 Explorer is $557, more expensive than its rivals. Based on Kelley Blue Book prices, a used 2007 Explorer XLT costs about $3,600 to $5,1000.

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Best Value: 2008 Ford Explorer Limited is a hassle-free and reliable daily driver

2008 was a good year for the Ford Explorer, with few complaints about the transmission and sun visors at high mileage.

The quality of the interior is comparable to that of other SUVs in the same class. However, we wouldn’t recommend the entry-level models because of a lot of cheap plastic in the cabin.

The 2008 Explorer Limited comes standard with a V6 that offers lean specs. If performance is important to you, we strongly recommend that you avoid the V6 and opt for a V8 configured Explorer.

The 4.6L V8 produces 292 horsepower and can tow up to 7,310 pounds. Plus, it can do all that while offering just 1 MPG less than the V6 model.

Compared to the Chevy Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia, the 2008 Explorer is priced significantly lower in the used market with no noticeable compromises in safety, performance or reliability. On the other hand, the annual maintenance cost for the Explorer is $663, slightly higher than average.

According to several automotive sources, a well-maintained 2008 Explorer can easily reach 250,000 miles with the original engine and transmission. That translates into more than 17 years of reliable service. However, if you are the third or fourth owner of a 2008 Explorer, it is safer to expect major service around 150,000 miles.