This version of the Explorer switched to a car-based platform. It has a roomy and practical interior, a usable third-row seat and generous cargo capacity. It also has a steady and compliant ride, along with respectable fuel economy. Ultimately though, the Explorer still falls a bit short of the best in this competitive class.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags available 1999-2001, standard from 2006. Head protection air bags available from 2002, standard from 2008. ESC available from 2003, standard from 2005.
Road Test

This version of the Explorer switched to a car-based platform. It has a roomy and practical interior, a usable third-row seat and generous cargo capacity. It also has a steady and compliant ride, along with respectable fuel economy.

Ultimately though, the Explorer still falls a bit short of the best in this competitive class. The engine is somewhat noisy, handling is secure but lacks agility and the driving position is flawed. Further, the optional MyFordTouch control interface is overly complicated and distracting.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear, 2 third
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (240 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 (290 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 turbo (365 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2015 Ford Explorer owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

"noise coming through windshild"

Anonymous, TX (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"If rear hatch doesn't click it will smell of mildew if it rains"

Anonymous, CA (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Passenger door wind noise/road noise at latch area of the door. The door was adjusted inward to compress the weather seals which solved the problem"

Anonymous, GA (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"Weather strip on front doors of Explorer's comes from factory having been hand trimmed by scissors. Rubber is over sized and poor fitting. Quality control of Explorer's at Chicago plant is non-existent. Doors improperly aligned and hung. Ford's comme"

Anonymous, ON (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"doors sqeaked and needed to be lubed"

Anonymous, CT (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"Rattling noise above passenger side of roof"

Anonymous, TX (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

"Bought vehicle January 2017 There is a squeak car in shop along with transmission problem"

Anonymous, WA (2015 Ford Explorer Sport 3.5-L V6)

"There's a squeak in the head liner. I believe it is related to the rear climate control system"

Anonymous, TN (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"With less than 10,000 miles on the Explorer, the front suspension started making fairly loud noises when turning. I got rid of the vehicle soon after (company car)"

Anonymous, NC (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"Have had the motors replaced on the sunroof that opens, and the shades that cover both the front and back skylights. Have had the motors replaced in the driver's window, the front-passenger window and the rear left passenger's window. All were VERY squeaky and chattered as they went up and down and opened (the sunroof)"

Anonymous, AB (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"Had rattling coming from the rear cabin. Turns out the screws in the sunroof backed out and the tracks were rattling in the roof. Dealer had to disassemble the entire sunroof and headliner to repair"

David T., CA (2015 Ford Explorer Sport 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Wind noise

"car is brand new, and there is a minor wind leak. I am sure dealer will fix it"

Anonymous, GA (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"2015 explorer is cheap model made. lot of highway noise"

Anonymous, IN (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"My dashboard hums in windy conditions . Passengers sitting next to windows hear wind coming in thru windows"

Anonymous, CA (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"this stopped working and had to be replaced"

John N., FL (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)
Display screen freezes up

"So I'm told that a fuse caused almost all of my drive assist features to fail and also kept the touchscreen from working so I couldn't get anything in it to work including seat heater/cooler"

Anonymous, FL (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"the entire system had to be replaced in less than six months due to some electrical issue. It took weeks to get this resolved"

John N., FL (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"mislocation; wrong setup"

Anonymous, MI (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"Lots of difficulty being understood by navigation. Maps are not up-to-date and have taken me to several wrong destinations. In-dash screen frequently does not respond to finger pressure; have to push numerous times to get a response"

Anonymous, NC (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"AFTER CHANGING WHEELS AND TIRE (20 PO. FOR 18 PO-WINTER TIRE), GPS ERROR TRACKING"

Anonymous, QC (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"The vehicle tracks about 5 cm off the side of the roadway and will show me on a sideroad rather then the road i'm on. When out of town, in a unknown area.. I end up making turns on wrong roads"

Brad Y., ON (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"was not user friendly could not give good info so I bought a garmin"

Anonymous, TX (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)
Voice control commands

"In conjunction with navigation system"

Anonymous, NC (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"ONE HAS TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF THE CAR IN ORDER FOR VOICE COMMAND TO WORK. IT DOESN'T WORK LIKE SIRI"

Keyla K., NY (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"This is part of the same problem with dropped calls. It seems to be a problem when attaching the smart phone"

Anonymous, MI (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"The phone does not connect and drops calls with no known reason"

Anonymous, MI (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"driver side front fender comes unattached from bumper periodically"

Jim E., AR (2015 Ford Explorer Sport 3.5-L V6 turbo)

"Windshiled gasket came lose allowing snow and ice in. It created a possible ice expansion that cumulatively could affect car safety and integrity"

Anonymous, MI (2015 Ford Explorer Base 3.5-L V6)

"Joint between both front fenders and front bumper comes loose and misaligns"

Anonymous, CA (2015 Ford Explorer Sport 3.5-L V6 turbo)

"Front 'pillar' at windshield has a plastic cover that came off while driving highway speed, then continued to come off after each attempted repair by Ford Dealership. Why Ford designed this critical item on the front of a car with velcro attachments to hold it in place is mind boggling. I will not buy another $ 35K+ vehicle with plastic parts adhered to the vehicle"

Anonymous, NC (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)
Loose interior trim or moldings

"interior fit from door to dash is not aligned. Ford has refused to correct"

Patrick S., OR (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"Trim on driver door popped out near windows. Had to have dealer fix. Covered by ware tee"

Anonymous, NJ (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"There were defects in the paint in four locations upon delivery. Fish eyes and one dent in the door sill"

Anonymous, VT (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"small crack in paint anterior edge of hood"

Robert H., SK (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"blistering paint along edge of hood"

Bob M., OH (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"Paint on front edge of aluminum hood began to oxidize and bubble"

Anonymous, CA (2015 Ford Explorer Sport 3.5-L V6 turbo)

"Blistering on front of hood"

Judith J., FL (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"Paint on hood was bubbling up in certain areas. Ford is repairing the problem this week"

Vicki J., NJ (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Headlights

"One of the lights went out after a few weeks"

Anonymous, OH (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"Headlight off & on switch failed"

Anonymous, FL (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)
Interior lights

"Sometimes the dash lights dim for no reason. Then I can't read anything on the dash"

Anonymous, NH (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)
Warning lights

"The cross traffic warning system would give error message randomly. It took 3 trips to dealer to find it was caused by a wire that was stretched too far in rear end"

Charles M., IN (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"The airbag light warning light is illuminated. The issue was resolved as an electrical disconnect for the middle row inflatable seat belt. This occurred 3 times"

Anonymous, CA (2015 Ford Explorer Sport Unsure)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Before 50,000 km, both the "daytime running lights" , that are also the front signal lights, burn out and have to be replaced. The only saving grace was that there is a "warning" system to let me know they burned out (the signal light indicator flashed rapidly.) Also, have had the fog lamps shatter and break (probably a rock). Expensive replacement as they are not covered under the warranty (because of the breakage). Very poor placement and design"

Anonymous, AB (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)
Keyless entry

"The key less entry keypad does not work well when it is wet outside, the dealer cannot seem to fix it"

Michael B., IL (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Electronic or air suspension

"Electrical connection short in the power assist steering module"

Godbee S., AL (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)
Shocks or struts

"Replaced right front strut due to noise. Dealer stated it was a broken strut bushing"

Joe S., TX (2015 Ford Explorer Sport 3.5-L V6 turbo)

"Had a leaking front shock"

Anonymous, NY (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"electric power steering failed"

E K., GA (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"The gear in the steering box was replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

"Had a popping noise in the front end. Dealer addressed with a service bulletin from Ford. A few weeks later the noise came back, and they did the service bulletin work again. It subsided after that. both time the dealer failed to get the alignment right after multiple visits, and I had to pay out of pocket to get the alignment corrected"

David T., CA (2015 Ford Explorer Sport 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Tie rods

"bad, noisey clacking"

Anonymous, OH (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Exhaust leaks

"Exhaust enters cabin area under hard acceleration to enter freeway and then blending into traffic by deceleration. This issue has been going on since 2011 models and Ford refuses to acknowledge and fix the issue up to present model. Exhaust not pres"

Anonymous, ON (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"Class Action Suit is going on for Ford Explorers 2011-2015 for exhaust problems"

Anonymous, NH (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"Exhaust leak into the cab Ford can't fix it and it is still under warranty"

Anonymous, TX (2015 Ford Explorer Base 3.5-L V6)
Other/unsure

"I had to be reinstalled. Didn't take long, but needed a vehicle report while on the road and couldn't get it. Fortunately, the problem we were checking cleared up with our next tank of gas/"

Anonymous, FL (2015 Ford Explorer Unsure Unsure)

"THE MY KEY SETTINGS CANNOT BE RESET OR ERASED"

Keyla K., NY (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Glass defects

"Front windshield has a imperfection of glass where the rear view mirror and its component mounts to the glass. A distortion of viewing you can see when you look into a right turn or curve"

Anonymous, CA (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Rear spoiler was rubbing in the top left corner, adjustment holes had to be cut bigger to adjust the spoiler"

Anonymous, OR (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"problems with trim around windshield"

Bob M., OH (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

"Windshield whistles. They installed a fix but this must be replaced each time the windshield is changed. My cost now the warranty is over"

Edgar B., SK (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)
Seat belts

"driver seat belt would not latch. took about 10 times to to get them to work"

Anonymous, IN (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

"Automatic setting control does not work correctly"

Anonymous, IN (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Blower (fan) motor

"The fan failed on Passenger side"

Paul R., TX (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)
Evaporator

"Air Conditioner stopped working. Dealer replaced evaporator core under warranty"

Anonymous, FL (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)
Refrigerant leaks

"There was a small leak that prevented the car from getting as cold as it should have"

Tim F., IL (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

"Timing chain cover leaked at 20,000 miles and is leaking again at 30,000 miles"

Rene C., CO (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)
Accessory belts or pulleys

"Under warranty, accessory belt idler pulley replaced"

Anonymous, MT (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)
Engine computer

"A picture of a wrench appeared twice at different times on my dashboard and warned us not to continue driving the car. First time we were close to dealer and they flat bedded it in and then said they fixed the problem. The second time we were on vacation and it took them one week to flat bed it to our dealership. They provided us with a like and kind free rental to continue our vacation. they fixed it and it has been almost one year and we haven't experienced any further problems. Ford gave us a"

Robert B., NJ (2015 Ford Explorer Limited 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

"Car cutting out and not going completely into gear"

Anonymous, WA (2015 Ford Explorer Sport 3.5-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"An electrical component that controls the drive train failed"

Anonymous, GA (2015 Ford Explorer XLT 3.5-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

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