– The 2006 Ford Explorer is almost exactly the same size and looks very much like its predecessor. The only obvious visual change is its shiny new chrome grille and big, bright headlights.Fuel economy is up, emissions are down, and the interior is vastly better. Explorer prices start at $26,530 for an XLS V-6 rear-drive model. V-8 Explorers begin with the XLT at $29,425, and the least expensive four-wheel drive Explorer is a V-6-powered XLT stickering at $30,450, according to the Detroit Free Press.
All prices exclude destination charges.The new V-8 engine, mated to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission, produces 53 more horsepower but 10 percent better fuel economy than the previous model. The base V-6 engine's emissions are down an amazing 74 percent from the 2005 model and are certified to the same federal standard as Ford's gasoline-electric Escape hybrid SUV.In addition, the Explorer features an array of safety features, including anti-lock brakes, rollover-preventing stability control, and front-seat side airbags. The front doors also feature a four-inch foam block to protect occupants in a side impact collision.Ford's data show there's considerably less road and wind noise in the Explorer's front seat than in competitors like the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner, and Nissan Pathfinder.Like the F-150, the Explorer maintains its workhorse ability while raising the standard for comfort. The Explorer can tow up to 7,300 lbs., and its second- and third-row seats fold within two degrees of flat to accommodate cargo. The vehicle also has an optional power-folding third seat.