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The Ford Explorer is considered a midsize sport utility vehicle with three rows, which makes it a popular option. The best used Ford Explorer SUV years aren’t very old, but one year is definitely worth skipping. Owners should check that the Explorer has critical recalls fixed from the past, especially on the older Ford SUVs.

The 2017 model year is one of the best used Ford Explorer SUV options

The best used Ford Explorer SUV years like this one in white
A 2017 Ford Explorer SUV in white | Ford

Upon testing the 2017 Ford Explorer, Consumer Reports found it had average reliability. However, the reliability score is higher in 2017 than in other years. Owners reported that the 2017 Explorer returned 20 mpg overall. The reliability trouble spots, such as the engine, transmission, and drive system, did not give owners too many issues.

The areas of driving experience, comfort, and styling were also high points for this Ford SUV. It has room for seven passengers and has high scores on crashworthiness tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Unfortunately, the NHTSA has issued 10 recalls for the 2017 Ford Explorer over the years. The recalls range from suspension problems, sharp edges on the front seats, and problems with an oil leak.

Average Retail Price: $19,600 – $31,900

2012 is another one of the best used Ford Explorer SUV years to hunt for

The 2012 Ford Explorer has fairly average scores for reliability and owner satisfaction. Owners reported 20 mpg overall from the Explorer, which is to be expected from a 10-year-old SUV. The ride, noise, and seat comfort received high marks from Consumer Reports. Owners reported a few issues in the reliability trouble areas like the engine and transmission.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2012 Ford SUV the highest ” good ” score on all three crash tests. The NHTSA gave it most four and five-star ratings on its tests. This year does have six recalls, from suspension problems to door handle issues. Most of these should have been fixed by the dealership by now.

Average Retail Price: $10,675 – $13,775

Avoid the 2011 Ford sport utility vehicle if possible

Though there is a lot of variety to the reliability and owner satisfaction scores of the Ford Explorer, the 2011 year is a good one to skip over. Both scores were rock bottom this year, and the SUV only gets 19 mpg overall. The NHTSA has issued seven recalls for this make and model so far.

This 2011 Explorer received good scores on the crashworthiness tests it participated in. Overall, this is just one of the more unreliable used Ford Explorer SUV years worth avoiding.

Average Retail Price: $8,925 – $12,900

Depending on where you buy your Ford Explorer SUV and how many miles it has, it might be a good idea to get a pre-purchase inspection. A high-quality repair shop might be a good idea to have on hand, someone you can take your new sport utility vehicle to for whatever it might need.