While the current Explorer is a vast improvement over its predecessor, it competed in a market with many more choices. Still, its steady ride and versatile, well-designed interior made for a well-rounded package. Its main drawbacks were an unrefined V6 engine and unimpressive performance on our off-road course. 
    There are 14 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

    Overall Owner Satisfaction

    Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

    Overall Owner Satisfaction

    Owner Satisfaction with:

    Driving Experience

    Includes acceleration and handling

    What Owners Say

    "Great acceleration, agile handling, good braking, very secure evasive maneuvering. I love this vehicle."

    Edward J., TX (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "With towing gears acceleration is slow at low speed."

    Donald U., GA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Acceleration is adequate. The vehicle is able to pull our 1,800 lb. boat, although it works hard going up long hills sometimes. The Explorer basically handles like a truck, and that's OK. We new that when we bought it. It's been a good "utility" vehicle, able to haul a lot of people and stuff."

    Anonymous, MO (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Highly satisfied with the acceleration and handling with what appears to be a large car."

    Robert C., NJ (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "It accelerates well when I need power, without hesitation. In heavy rain where there is splashback, the car holds the road. I feel secure in a 4000 pound vehicle. It stops very safely, as well."

    Anonymous, FL (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Very good acceleration for a vehicle that is quite heavy."

    Duane S., CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "It has always accelerated and handled in a way that I always felt safe and in control of the vehicle."

    Dorothy A., SC (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Handles well for SUV, good adherence to roads with proper tires. Acceleration is good, but at times there can be a noticeable downshift with hard acceleration. The “overdrive off’‿ feature on the end of the column shift lever is super handy for long downhills to avoid brake overuse. Braking is straight and true, and overall handling feels nimble for its size. Visibility is great."

    Joyce M., OR (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Handles well but lacks pep."

    D J., MI (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "4 wheel drive, both automatic and manual choice work very well, it is very good in heavy snow and slippery conditions."

    Roger L., CT (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "This car accelerates when you most need it to on expressway"

    Cindy D., PA (2002 Ford Explorer)


    Anonymous, CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "poor acceleration with 6 cyl ride is good, but noisy"

    PAUL S., NM (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Very good acceleration, handles well for a large SUV"

    ROBERT C., NJ (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "It accelerates & handles well for a large SUV. It also has an incredible turning radius."

    Anonymous, IL (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "This car is still running well after 274,000 miles. It accelerates well and I often pass people going up hill. I hear people saying Fords are no good (even your ratings), but that has not been my experience. I do take care of the car, but so far nothing major has gone wrong. I've driven it for 12+ years now."

    GREGG O., CA (2002 Ford Explorer)


    Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

    What Owners Say

    "This has the lower grade trim package (cloth seats, electric controls on driver’s side only). The legroom is marginal for me- I’m tall, long in the leg, but headroom is ample. The ride is adequate, (newer vehicles are a bit more comfy), but it’s reasonably quiet for an SUV. Mirrors adjust easily, controls are easy to reach and quick, intuitive and smooth. (They don’t require much driver attention, and for this reason far superior to more modern touch screen styles, imho). Heating and cooling functions very well."

    Joyce M., OR (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "the height for excellent vision.. Poor side of the coin, the poor gas mileage keeps me from driving it.... Excellent vision tho.. OH had to remove the head rests to obtain best vision....!!!!"

    Anonymous, FL (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "This Explorer has aged gracefully. The seats are flat and the noise has increased considerably. The ride is like an 18 wheeler now. I still use it for a work driver. Tough vehicle."

    Rolland M., TX (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Comfortable leather seats, roomy, can stretch out. Nice sounding sound. Been a fantastic value considering I’ve had it 16 years. Like taking trips in it"

    James H., MO (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Still has great comfort and durability"

    Cathy P., NY (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Road and transmission noise is high. Ride and seat comfort good. Car will rock a lot when driving over uneven surfaces."

    Anonymous, CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Comfortable seats & adjustable driving positions. Excellent view of road - no blind spots. Ride comfortable & more rigid than a car. Power seats & heater work great"

    Judy S., NC (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "The seating position and comfort having always been givien me high satisifaction even after 165,000 miles"

    JOHN S., VA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Smooth ride, quiet for large SUV, great pickup"

    ROBERT C., NJ (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Grinding sound coming from axles when making a turn. Radio listed song and artist when car was first bought, it stopped working recently."

    Anonymous, WA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Leather bucket seats. Firm suspension"

    F R., CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Noisy whine in rear axle. Ford dealer exchanged two times, still did not fixe"

    Anonymous, CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Excellent climate control. Attributed parts replaced due age. SUV had 39K miles when bought in Dec. 2009, now has over 157K. Ride/seats are comfortable on long trips."

    GREGORY B., CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "AC is loud on hi speed, also fair amount of road noise"

    MICHAEL C., NV (2002 Ford Explorer)


    Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

    What Owners Say

    "Good, dependable, in 16 years it only wouldn’t start once, and that was a wire problem from supplier. I still like it’s looks, & have stayed on top of maintenance"

    James H., MO (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "I've had it for 16 years."

    D J., MI (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "We got the explorer as the cheapest SUV to pull out Horse trailer with a v 8 engine.It has been very reliable and strong, while the gas mileage is terrible."

    Henry S., NJ (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "My 2002 Ford Explorer has more features than my 2018 Honda CRV. It rides much better and is quieter than the Honda CRV."

    Dorothy A., SC (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Compared to other vehicles I have owned and compared to the cost of this vehicle, I have had to invest VERY little money into repairs over the years (above and beyond the ordinary maintenance of oil changes, etc). This has been the most reliable vehicle of all of the vehicles I've owned."

    Anonymous, OH (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "INCREDIBLY RELIABLE VEHICLE! No major problems other then routine maintenance! Couldn’t ask for anything more."

    Heidi W., CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "I have 130,000 miles. Replaced the Air Conditioning once. Replace the transmission two times. Rear hatch is plastic and cracked."

    Mike P., CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Really good car in snow."

    Cindy D., PA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Value has been great as the car has never had any mechanical or wear out problems. Only the CD player died young."

    Anonymous, CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "4x4 Extensive problems w hubs/transaxle. I have replaced each hub at least twice & had work and on front & rear axles. I spent ~ $15,000 on just these problems. Most recent: $1,510 last month. I keep it bc it is body-on-frame"

    Judy S., NC (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "I bought exactly what I wanted at an acceptable price."

    Donald M., OK (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "I love the durability and carrying capacity."

    D J., MI (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "smooth ride,excellent all around suv for 120,000 miles"

    RONALD C., NY (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Has 230000 miles, runs good. Rear end noisy."

    JAMES P., IN (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "It has everything I wanted at the time for the price. It has 148,000 miles. And performing well"

    F R., CA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Since this was an older model when I purchased it and it had higher miles it was an exceptional value. I could see the vehicle had been maintained and as a result knew it would last much longer."

    MATTHEW P., UT (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "By doing proper maintenance, this car now has 199,000 miles. An excellent value."

    J K., GA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "Drivetrain has been rebuilt three times. Transaxle once. Left rear wheel Bering replaced four times. Differential clutches twice and they still chatter because no Ford Dealership knows how to repair this drivetrain. I plan to JUNK this vehicle in the next month. 10,000 dollars in repair bills"

    Anonymous, VA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "We bought the Explorer as the smallest vehicle to pull Horse trailer. It has been reliable and ddpdoor mileage with a v8 engine."

    HENRY S., NJ (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "This car has been absolutely reliable for fourteen years, has needed minimal repair attention, and has been lots of places with rough or difficult terrain. In addition, it has towed trailers and transported heavy and difficult loads. I wish it got better mileage, but I didn't buy it for economy."

    Anonymous, TX (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "My Explorer still looks new after 100,000 miles and has never had mechanical problems. Great truck and value."

    DONALD J., MI (2002 Ford Explorer)


    How it looks inside and out

    What Owners Say

    "Still get comments on how good it looks 14 years later. frequently mistaken for a much newer year"

    JOHN G., GA (2002 Ford Explorer)

    "I like the style of the 2002 Ford Explorer. It is square as opposed to being rounded."

    ELINOR W., WV (2002 Ford Explorer)

    Would you buy this car again?

    2002 vehicles
    Chevrolet TrailBlazer
    Ford Explorer
    Toyota 4Runner
    Percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again. Owner-satisfaction Ratings are determined by the percentage of those who answered "definitely yes" to the question asked by the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?". If we don’t have sufficient data, a similar model might be used to form the owner-satisfaction score.
    Change Vehicle