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2003 Ford Explorer OWNER RATINGS & REVIEWS

Owner Reviews
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Lincolnshire, Illinois
Happy but hesitant
Living in Illinois having a 4X4 is great. It is sturdy and makes me feel safe. Because it is so big, parking in Chicago is tough but if you live in the suburbs you have nothing to worry about. Since the seats fold down, it worked well for carting my daughter and her friends around or for bringing bikes and other sporting equipment wherever they needed to go. The truck was also used to haul equipment for a small heating and air conditioning company. The paint on the hood started to chip about the time the warranty was up. I was told this was an issue with the paint and not only my car was affected. I bought the car new and other than the paint on the edge of the hood it still looks good. It has over 200,000 miles on it. The engine and catalytic converter has been replaced. If I understood correctly the engine problem had something to do with a chain or something. It starts on the first time in even the coldest weather and has never stalled or left me stranded. It eats a lot of gas and at times this has been a financial problem. The rear seats are very small and uncomfortable unless you are small but the rest of the car is comfortable. Tires are expensive.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Solid foundation. Quirky in structure.
Vehicle was purchased used, three years old at the time, with 19k miles on it. Was impressed by all the features it had. In 2006, TV/entertainment was a luxury especially with kids. The leather heated seats were very attractive and comfortable. Third-row seating was another option that came in handy, and when not using the third row, the amount of space in the trunk was most convenient. A great vehicle with kids on long trips. They had plenty of space and entertainment. It was comfortable for them to take a nap. Explorer gave a sense of safety, very solid, like a tank. With the heaviness of the vehicle, the gas mileage was and still is terrible. So very expensive with gas, but considering the space and extra features, most of the time it was easy to look past that. Right after ownership, I noticed that the clear coat paint was already bubbling off. The dealership applied a new clear coat but obviously that is never as good as a factory paint job. Even though the clear coat paint was taken care of for free, there is no reason why the paint should have worn off so quickly. Another cosmetic exterior feature was the back panel on the trunk where the Ford emblem is. This panel was/is notorious for splitting around the logo. You can see this crack on any older Explorer driving on the road. It was never considered a recall item, but it should have been; it was a design flaw for sure. We purchased a new panel, and it worked like a charm. We have kept the Explorer for so long because our kids, now grown, cannot part with the Explorer. They have sentimental connection with it. To me, if this SUV were terrible, then the kids wouldn't have had such a connection. I think that overall they were comfortable, felt safe and preferred it for traveling. Even with it being four years old, the kids are not embarrassed to be seen in it...which, I guess, speaks to the design. It was a classic and never trended out.