When we got word that we had the privilege to drive a 2011 Ford Explorer on our #FloridaFunshine road trip, we were pretty excited. We were even more excited when we hopped onto the Ford Canada website to check it out. I know what Explorers look like – I’ve seen lots around – big, burley and ‘trucky’. The new Explorer has a totally different look, and a look I love! I read up on the specs and couldn’t wait to get on the road. I am excited to share our experience with the Explorer below. Keep in mind this review is coming from an everyday mother’s personal perspective – not a ‘car reviewer’. The thoughts below reflect our experience with the vehicle over the span of our trip.
What we loved about the Explorer
Adaptive Cruise Control
This had to be my favorite feature that our version of the Explorer had. The adaptive cruise control allows you to set a distance space between you and a vehicle ahead of you. If a slower vehicle enters the lane ahead of you, the radar will detect it and slow your speed down, keeping a safe distance between you both.
We could control the speed and gap from the steering wheel and see the set speed on the screen in front of us. The route we took had many speed limit changes, and being able to set the exact speed helped to ensure we were in that limit. This came in very handy on a certain strip in Florida where in the span of 4 city blocks, we saw 3 speed changes with speed traps all along the route!
Blind Spot Indicator
I have always been paranoid of my blind spot. I was once hit by someone who didn’t check theirs, so I really loved the blind spot Indicator on the mirrors. It came in handy, especially during our early morning driving when it was still very dark. Even with checking the blind spot automatically, having the indicators there helped reassure me.
I LOVED this feature. It came in very handy when pulling in or out of parking spaces. It made me feel a lot more comfortable backing up in such a large vehicle. It would also warn about approaching vehicles, and the back up sensor alarm helped by letting me know when I was running out of space.
For such a large, powerful vehicle, the drive was extremely smooth. At one point on our trip, we took a wrong turn off the highway. We ended up on a very narrow, very windy, and very hilly road in the middle of nowhere. It was amazing how smoothly the Explorer took the turns and corners going up and down the hills.
Space, Space and more Space
The amount of space in the 2011 Ford Explorer is incredible. With two children in car seats (one rear facing), we are always faced with the problem of not enough space, especially for the passenger. Our Explorer featured second row bucket seats, which were very easy to install both car seats on. The seats also had the ability to move backwards and forwards, giving more room to the passenger in front of the rear facing car seat. In our own van, we always feel squished. In the Explorer, we were comfortable for the entire 21+ hour trip.
The trunk hosted more then enough space for all of our luggage on the way down. The power folding rear seats came in very handy for allowing is to get all of our luggage in smoothly and left us with lots of room to accommodate any shopping we’d be doing while there. Even with the seats up and in use, the trunk space gave us more than enough room for our UPPAbaby stroller, bags, and purchases.
When we arrived in Florida, we quickly moved H’s seat into the back row behind his brother’s. While he didn’t have much leg room sitting behind Q (we pushed the seat right back to accommodate the large rear facing car seat), the adults had a good amount of room and were comfortable when we all piled in. On our last visit to Florida we used a friend’s Lincoln Navigator, and we were surprised to find that the Explorer was felt much more roomy. My 6’2 husband fit comfortably in the rear seats, and I had more than enough room when it was my turn to sit in the back.
Great Gas Mileage
I won’t lie – I was a little worried with how much we would be spending on gas with such a large vehicle. We had the choice between the Explorer and the Edge, and we almost decided to forgo the extra seating for what we thought would be less money spent on gas. We were amazed at how well it did and how little it cost us. We started off with a full tank, drove a total of 1259 miles/22 hours, and spent a total of $158.31 on our way down. We were left with just under half a tank. On our way home, we left with 3/4 of a tank, and got home with almost a full tank, and spent $208.44. We were extremely impressed by the mileage it got.
We really enjoyed our first big family road trip in the Ford Expoloer. The MyFord touch came in very handy, though was a little difficult to get the hang of. The Navigation helped us stay on track and was really great with giving lots of warnings about when turns were coming up. One thing I would change is where the 4-way signal button is and how sensitive it is. We ended up turning on the 4-ways often when using the touch screen. I loved the heated and cooled seats and the fact that both the driver and passenger could set their own personal temperature. The dual moon roof was a hit, and the boys loved looking up at the sky.
One thing I couldn’t get over was how many people complimented us on the truck. We got thumbs up on the highways, questions and compliments at gas stations, and even people admiring it in a parking lot. Everyone loved it, and so did we. Do I wish this was what I drove everyday? Yes. It was comfortable, smooth, great on gas, and much more family-friendly than I could have imagined. The people at Ford that we dealt with were friendly and great at answering any questions that we had. For families that are looking to upgrade their vehicles to something bigger, I would strongly suggest to check out the Ford Explorer. Gone are the days of being stuck with only the option of a minivan.
I think my Husband summed it up best – “We may not be able to fly first class, but we get to drive first class!”
If you have any questions for us regarding our experience with the Ford Explorer, please do not hesitate to contact me! Make sure to check back on the blog tomorrow for our wrap up of our #FloridaFunshine road trip, and to finally enter the giveaways of our favorite products, and UPPAbaby G-Luxe stroller from Springy’s!