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Since its 1991 debut, the Explorer has been a popular model in Ford’s lineup. This three-row midsize SUV has seen various iterations throughout its six generations. While each has advantages and disadvantages, some model years are more dependable than others. Below are six of the most reliable Ford Explorer years under $10,000.

(Note: Regardless of a used car’s reliability score, always obtain a vehicle history report and have a trusted mechanic perform an inspection to uncover potential problems before purchasing. Also, prices may vary depending on trim level, mileage, overall condition, and location.)

2009 and 2010 Ford Explorer

2010 Ford Explorer: Reliable Ford Explorer years under $10,000
2010 Ford Explorer | Ford Motor Company

Used 2009 Ford Explorers typically sell for $4,464 to $6,871, depending on the mileage and condition. J.D. Power gave this model year a “great” reliability score of 85 out of 100 and named it a Dependability Award winner, an honor given to “the brands/models with the fewest problems reported per 100 owners during the past 12 months.”

The 2010 Ford Explorer has a slightly lower reliability rating of 81, but J.D. Power still considers that number “great.” The used price range is between $4,769 and $7,299. In addition, Kelley Blue Book recommends this model year. “Whether you’re drawn to the 2010 Ford Explorer for its truck-like towing and cargo-hauling capabilities or its minivan-like versatility, you’ll find more of what you’re looking for in the latest incarnation of this quintessential SUV,” KBB says.

The 2009 and 2010 Explorer provide decent features and a comfortable ride for models over a decade old. Both are also well-regarded for their reliability, with fewer reported problems than some other model years. 

2011 and 2012 Ford Explorer

The 2011 and 2012 used model years maintain the Ford Explorer’s steadfast reputation for reliability. Both models also received significant fuel efficiency, performance, and design updates.

According to J.D. Power, the 2011 Ford Explorer has a used price range between $7,260 and $10,475. The reliability rating, which dropped to a fair rating of 68/100, measures the number of reported defects, design flaws, and malfunctions experienced by current vehicle owners. A higher rating indicates fewer problems, with the entire vehicle checked out for potential issues.

The 2012 Ford Explorer has a price range of $8,702 to $12,703, receiving a 77/100 quality and reliability rating from J.D. Power, which said owners enjoyed the “quietness of the vehicle interior,” along with the “transmission smoothness” and “feel of the seat material.”

2014 Explorer

2014 Ford Explorer LTD interior
2014 Ford Explorer | Ford Motor Company

We suggest skipping the 2013 Explorer based on its below-average J.D. Power reliability score of 68, which the market research firm considers “fair.”

Regardless, this model year brought a new generation of the family-friendly SUV, with improved fuel efficiency, handling, safety, and technology features. That extends to the 2014 Ford Explorer, which we recommend.

J.D. Power gives the 2014 Explorer a better reliability rating of 77. That number is “average,” but it’s on the higher end of the range — the site considers 81 or higher “great.”

The used price range for the 2014 model is between $10,819 and $16,293. Though finding a 2014 Explorer under $10,000 might be challenging, it’s worth considering.

The 2014 model has comfortable third-row seats, a quiet interior cabin, and low engine/exhaust noise levels. This year is relatively dependable, and shoppers should be able to find a well-maintained example. 


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