2012 Ford Explorer

cars.com On the Road Weekly Publication

By Paula MacPherson

We had a chance to review the new Ford Explorer last year, just as it was becoming available at area dealers. So, why did Ford want to get us the 2012 Ford Explorer? To show off the simplified MyFord Touch system, that’s why.

For the uninitiated, the MyFord Touch video-screen-based system is the access point for many climate, audio, navigation and communications functions. To operate these controls, you must touch the little virtual button on the video screen.  Unfortunately, doing so means taking your eyes off the road to look at the large central screen.  

There is voice command capability, but it didn’t work for me. You’ll have to learn the MyFord Touch commands, as I did.  The system often failed to respond correctly, even when I spoke clearly. When Jim said the same commands, MyFord Touch sprang into action. I think the system is sexist.

Many functions, such as the seat heater controls, were also slow to react. MyFord Touch may be simplified, but it’s still not as good as buyers deserve.

Fortunately, the Explorer’s virtues overcome these complaints. Get behind the wheel and it feels smaller than it looks. The ride is steady and quiet, while the seats are comfortable.  

The power pedal adjustment, along with the power seat and the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel make this car ideal for a shorter driver. The power tailgate and power folding third row seats were also very handy. The puddle lamps, which illuminated the ground around the doors at night as I approached the vehicle, were another nice feature.

The speedometer has an awkward scale. Zero miles per hour points straight down while 140 miles per hour (as if an Explorer will ever see that speed) is at the 2 o’clock position. This puts 60 miles per hour into the 9 o’clock spot.

All in all, the Explorer is an exercise in hits and misses. Fortunately, the hits are in the major areas of performance. The misses are in the details.


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