The_Jed
The_Jed PowerDork
10/1/19 8:22 a.m.

The wife's '11 Caravan has been a good vehicle, as long as you look past the occasional electrical oddity. This past weekend it needed an alternator, which for some reason cost $300. Just the part. 
I REALLY do not like how the van is put together; the ease-of-maintenance of an Audi with the build quality of a Yugo and the parts prices of a Mercedes. It's the worst of all the worlds.
 

 

This has led to me car shopping once again. I initially started with the Ford Flex EcoBoost since the entire drivetrain is pretty impressive on paper; a twin-turbo V6 with room to grow, a transmission that's rated for 550 lb/ft, etc.

 

The wife is not a fan of the school bus-esque design of the Flex so it's a no go. I believe the Taurus and Exploder share the same drivetrain and suspension as the Flex but we're a family of four with a dog so the Taurus is out due to a lack of space. That leaves the Exploder.


Do the FWD and non-EcoBoost versions share the same basic 550 lb/ft rated transmission (aside from obviously being FWD versus AWD/4WD) as the EB Flex/Taurus/Exploder?


Does anybody have any long-term, first-hand knowledge of the '11-'19 Exploder?


 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/1/19 8:30 a.m.

I have no knowledge but just a thought to maybe add the Lincoln MKT to your search.  It is the stylized Ford Flex.  Depreciation on a low mile older unit may put it in the similar price range.  I understand the MKT looks are polarizing also (love it or hate it - I like it) but at least it is another choice.  

Flex on top, MKT on bottom:

The_Jed
The_Jed PowerDork
10/1/19 10:53 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

Thanks! I had (mistakenly) assumed the MKT was a tarted-up Edge.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/1/19 10:58 a.m.

In reply to The_Jed :

MKX is the tarted-up Edge

And, just for context, the Lincoln MKC is the trated-up Escape.  

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/1/19 11:11 a.m.

In reply to The_Jed :

WRT the trans, no, they are not the same ones.  The N/A motor has one that's appropriate for it's output, and the turbo has the higher rated one, thanks to the considerable increase in output of the engine.

They are both 6 speed transmissions, of the exact same family- just different max torque input/output ability.

FWIW, the Flex, MKT, and Explorer of that generation are mostly the same thing- just different bodies, trim levels, and height.  And looking at CL quickly shows that the Flex is slightly less expensive than the MKT, which is less expensive than the explorer.

Good powertrain (but I am biased).

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
10/1/19 11:15 a.m.

So how is it then that the explorer is rated to tow real stuff and the flex not so much?

Otherwise the flex/mkt would be interesting for me. I was just talking about them with a buddy. I'm sort of surprised the mkt is worth more than the flex.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
10/1/19 11:17 a.m.

Robbie, when I looked the answer came down to the suspension. Alfa may have a better answer though. 

klb67
klb67 Reader
10/1/19 11:26 a.m.

We have a 2015 Explorer non turbo 3.5 with 120K miles on it, ordered new in late 2014.  It's been largely worry free- a few recalls but I'm not remembering anything beyond standard maintenance.  I tow an 18' aluminum boat on a 1,000 mile trip each summer (and a canoe on the roof), plus several closer trips with the boat each summer.  It is our travel vehicle.   My wife drives it daily about 50 miles.  It's been perfect for our family of 4 (boys now 11 and 7) with room to take 6-7 occasionally.  A large plastic dog kennel fits comfortably in the rear and leaves room beside it for stuff.    A minivan would probably swallow more gear if that's a concern.  For weekend and longer trips with lots of gear, we tow our trailer.  I occasionally wish it had a bit more power when fully loaded, but not enough to regret not paying to get the turbo version.  

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler PowerDork
10/1/19 11:49 a.m.
Robbie said:

So how is it then that the explorer is rated to tow real stuff and the flex not so much?

Otherwise the flex/mkt would be interesting for me. I was just talking about them with a buddy. I'm sort of surprised the mkt is worth more than the flex.

They're only 500 pounds apart. Flex is 4500, Exploder is 5000. It's probably suspension, cooling, or maybe the Flex is heavier by itself?

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/1/19 12:26 p.m.
Tom_Spangler said:
Robbie said:

So how is it then that the explorer is rated to tow real stuff and the flex not so much?

Otherwise the flex/mkt would be interesting for me. I was just talking about them with a buddy. I'm sort of surprised the mkt is worth more than the flex.

They're only 500 pounds apart. Flex is 4500, Exploder is 5000. It's probably suspension, cooling, or maybe the Flex is heavier by itself?

Cooling.  Tow rating is all about cooling.  And unless you plan on driving in a desert, going up and down passes fully loaded, I would not worry too much about the difference. 

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
10/1/19 12:32 p.m.
Tom_Spangler said:
Robbie said:

So how is it then that the explorer is rated to tow real stuff and the flex not so much?

Otherwise the flex/mkt would be interesting for me. I was just talking about them with a buddy. I'm sort of surprised the mkt is worth more than the flex.

They're only 500 pounds apart. Flex is 4500, Exploder is 5000. It's probably suspension, cooling, or maybe the Flex is heavier by itself?

Yeah I looked it up too. I was very surprised the explorer is so low. I thought I heard the explorer had like a 7-8k rating? Oh well.

slefain
slefain PowerDork
10/1/19 12:58 p.m.

Do these use the Duratec engine that when the water pump goes it takes the engine out with it? Something about how the water pump dumps coolant straight into the block when it fails.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler PowerDork
10/1/19 12:58 p.m.
Robbie said:
Tom_Spangler said:
Robbie said:

So how is it then that the explorer is rated to tow real stuff and the flex not so much?

Otherwise the flex/mkt would be interesting for me. I was just talking about them with a buddy. I'm sort of surprised the mkt is worth more than the flex.

They're only 500 pounds apart. Flex is 4500, Exploder is 5000. It's probably suspension, cooling, or maybe the Flex is heavier by itself?

Yeah I looked it up too. I was very surprised the explorer is so low. I thought I heard the explorer had like a 7-8k rating? Oh well.

The previous generation body-on-frame ones got up to 7200 or so with the V8, IIRC. The new generation that just came out has upped it a bit to around 5500, I want to say?

jmthunderbirdturbo
jmthunderbirdturbo HalfDork
10/2/19 5:08 a.m.
klb67 said:

We have a 2015 Explorer non turbo 3.5 with 120K miles on it, ordered new in late 2014.  It's been largely worry free- a few recalls but I'm not remembering anything beyond standard maintenance.  I tow an 18' aluminum boat on a 1,000 mile trip each summer (and a canoe on the roof), plus several closer trips with the boat each summer.  It is our travel vehicle.   My wife drives it daily about 50 miles.  It's been perfect for our family of 4 (boys now 11 and 7) with room to take 6-7 occasionally.  A large plastic dog kennel fits comfortably in the rear and leaves room beside it for stuff.    A minivan would probably swallow more gear if that's a concern.  For weekend and longer trips with lots of gear, we tow our trailer.  I occasionally wish it had a bit more power when fully loaded, but not enough to regret not paying to get the turbo version.  

For what its worth, I disagree with the engine statement. My wife has a 14, non-EB 3.5L, and dear lord its a dawg. Her previous ride was an 07 Honda minivan with the 3.5 V6, and even at 400lbs heavier, it would have out accelerated this thing any day. I love her car from the firewall back, but the driveline is terrible. I could almost ignore it were it to get even decent mileage, but it doesn't even do that, we get 20-21 tops. I can get that in my 4x4 2013 5.0L F-150 crew cab, with 100 extra horsepower, and 900 extra lbs. The transmission never seems to make up its mind on what gear it wants, the motor is always making more and more noise the more i push the pedal, but it never actually moves any quicker. It is great off road, and in the snow, and its comfortable even with 6 people in it, but if you are sitting in the right lane and want to jump up 15 mph and make a quick pass, forget it, you will get ran over. I don't even bother with two lane road passes of anything over 30 mph, so if im following a tractor sprayer at 35 on a 55 road, I don't mess with it, because I can't cover the ground fast enough to make it worth it, and ill burn what feels like 2 gallons of gas if I try it. My truck? ha! Stab it and im doing 75, tap cruise back to 55 in under a 1/4 mile. 

 

in conclusion, shop expeditions with the 3.5EB or the 5.0L. under 3k in price difference, no worse fuel mileage, and way better vehicles.

 

-J0N

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
10/2/19 7:06 a.m.

Has Ford resolved the carbon monoxide issues with Explorers yet?  I seem to remember it was mostly on Ecoboost models, but I’m not sure.

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
10/2/19 5:53 p.m.

Ha. My wife likes the Flex because it doesn’t look like “just another blob.”

She also thinks the Lincoln version looks like, “An old man car. Not like a car an old person would drive, but like a car that’s an old man.”

...so there’s that.

I will say, compared to other “no really, it’s not a minivan” size crossovers, the Flex seems to make really good use of the interior space. I haven’t done a personal comparison but I can’t imagine the Explorer would be as roomy.

When we finally get around to upgrading from the mommy-mobile Focus a turbo Flex will be high on our list.

I guess that has nothing to do with Explorers. Carry on.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler PowerDork
10/2/19 7:23 p.m.
jmthunderbirdturbo said:
in conclusion, shop expeditions with the 3.5EB or the 5.0L. under 3k in price difference, no worse fuel mileage, and way better vehicles.

Our 3.5L Ecoboost Expedition can only break 20mpg if you keep it under 70 on the freeway. It averages mid-teens in mixed driving. Also, they have never put the 5.0 Coyote in the Expedition. Since 2015 the 3.5 EB has been the only engine available.

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