The Ford line-up of SUVs is starting to take over. With
the compact Escape, the mid-sized Freestyle - a crossover
new this year, the Explorer, the Explorer Sport Trac, an
SUV with a truck-bed, similar to the Chevy Avalanche, the
full-size Expedition and the even larger Excursion, biggest
of the bunch, the question becomes one of where do you start?
Some would say you should start with the 2005 Ford Explorer.
This mid-size SUV is the heart of the whole series, the
best-selling SUV in North America, which probably means
the world, for 14 years!
2005 hasn't changed it much, other than to improve it by
adding Standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control,
improved audio standards, some exciting options packages
and 20 unique arrays to provide the broadest offering in
Both the XLS and XLT models feature additional Sport trims
in both V6 and V8. Other models for 2005 include the V8
Eddie Bauer and Limited Editions (V8s reviewed separately).
2005 adds the new XLT appearance package for content, color
and excitement in the middle of the lineup, and both MP3
and Sirius Satellite radio capability are now standard on
all audio systems (late availability).
The trim to be found in even the base XLS models is not
really basic at all, with cloth upholstery, front bucket
seats and a split-folding rear seat, power mirrors, windows
and door locks, keyless entry, AM/FM/CD stereo and more.
The XLT trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front
bucket seats w/lumbar adjustment and a six-way power driver
seat and an overhead console for improved instrument visibility
and access for an outside-temperature indicator, compass
a warm steel accented center cluster. Sport models add mostly
The various trims offer a range of different exterior accents
and details for style and performance enhancements. For
example, the XLS comes with 16-inch steel wheels, the XLS
Sport and XLT add 16-inch cast aluminum wheels while the
XLT Sport comes with 17-inch bright machined aluminum wheels.
Rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations are
offered with an automatic transmission mated to a 4.0-liter
V6 that generates 210 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque
and manages 15/21mpg (city/hwy).
The V6 is no slouch when it comes to towing capability,
with a standard Class II towing hitch and towing capacity
of 5760lbs.A towing package provides Class III/IV towing
capability of up to 7,140 pounds when properly equipped
(with V8 engine)
Safety and Security
Dual front airbags and antilock 4-wheel disc brakes are
standard on all models. A comprehensive safety package can
be added for significant additional safety including front
and curtain side airbags. New for 2005, the Ford Explorer
comes with Ford's AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
system to reduce rollover potential by triggering the system
when it detects that one or more wheels are about to leave
the ground. This reduces engine power and/or applies braking
to the necessary wheels to help settle the vehicle.