Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: May 14, 2019

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Revamped for the 2011 model year, the all-new Ford Explorer earned the title of “North American Truck of the Year” from the auto industry. It is also ranked #1 among affordable midsize SUVs by U.S. News and World Report, although it shares this honor with the CX-9 from Mazda and the Enclave from Buick.

According to reviewers, the Explorer does everything well. Its stylish, sleek exterior belies its rugged off-road chops. Autoblog reports that the Explorer easily kept pace with the Toyota 4Runner in its test drive, and Left Lane News describes the Explorer as a “competent performer.”

This Ford SUV’s terrain response system, which adjusts the vehicle’s responses for different off-road conditions, earns kudos from USA Today.

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Car and Driver magazine approves of the power that the Explorer’s standard 3.5 liter V6 engine delivers, and Consumer Guide says that acceleration is smooth. Car and Driver also reports that the Explorer’s interior feels expensive, and the cabin seats seven passengers in three spacious rows.

Critics also give positive reviews to the Driver Connect Package that is available on higher-level trims. It includes Ford’s integrated SYNC navigation, information, and audio system.

To compare estimated auto insurance rates and other ownership costs for the 2011 Ford Explorer, keep reading. You can also enter your zip code above for personalized auto insurance quotes for the Explorer online.

Auto Insurance Rates for the Ford Explorer

When it’s pitted against other midsize SUVs like the Enclave, the CX-9, and the Chevrolet Traverse, auto insurance rates for the Explorer seem quite low.

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) reports expected average 5-year auto insurance costs of $5,017 for the 2011 Explorer. This represents an average annual auto insurance rate of just over $1,000, and an average monthly rate of slightly less than $84.

The NADA predicts that owners of the competing Dodge Durango will pay $5,423 to insure their vehicles for five years, and drivers of the Traverse and the CX-9 can anticipate 5-year totals of nearly $5,600.

Projected rates for the Buick Enclave are even higher, at $5,644 for five years of auto insurance coverage.

Ford Explorer Repair Expenses

You’ll incur a total of approximately $1,627 in repair bills after you’ve driven your 2011 Explorer for five years, the NADA predicts. This estimate is inclusive of $376 during the third year that you own your Explorer, and estimated bills of $626 during the fourth and fifth years.

Expected costs for repairing a 2011 Buick Enclave or a Mazda CX-9 of the same model year are very similar to those reported for the Explorer. Estimated repair expenditures for the Chevy Traverse and the Durango are somewhat higher, adding up to $1,774 over five years.

Maintaining a Ford Explorer

The NADA has calculated 5-year routine maintenance costs of $2,256 for Ford’s Explorer SUV. The bulk of these costs will come during the Explorer’s third year on the road, when you’ll have to cough up about $1,306 for the vehicle’s maintenance overhaul.

Expected costs for scheduled maintenance in year one and two are under $200 per year, and projected costs for years four and five are under $400 per year. The Traverse SUV from Chevy is cheaper to maintain, with expected total 5-year maintenance costs of $2,096, according to the NADA.

On the other hand, the Dodge Durango’s estimated average maintenance bills are much higher, at about $2,800 over five years.

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Fueling Your Ford Explorer

Midsize SUVs like the Ford Explorer are not known for their fuel efficiency, but the 2011 Explorer gets reasonably good gas mileage compared to many of its competitors. Its 17 city mpg rating is better than the 15 city mpg that the Nissan Pathfinder and the Mitsubishi Endeavor have to offer.

However, the Explorer is outshined in this respect by the Toyota Venza crossover’s 21 mpg city rating and the 20 city mpg ratings for the Kia Sorento and the Toyota Highlander.

The Explorer matches the Highlander when it comes to highway fuel mileage, though, with both getting 25 mpg. The Venza and the Sorento are your best bets for highway fuel economy in this category, with EPA ratings of 27 mpg.

Ford Explorer Reliability and Warranty

The 2011 Ford Explorer received a Predicted Reliability score of 7.0 out of 10.0 from the consumer rating agency J.D. Power and Associates. This is an adequate score, but competitors like Toyota’s Highlander, FJ Cruiser, 4Runner, and Venza all earned scores of 8.0.

Also earning 8.0s were the Honda Pilot and the Ford Edge.

The Ford Explorer is under limited warranty during the first 36,000 miles or three years that it’s on the road. Its powertrain is guaranteed by Ford for 60,000 miles or five years.

Ford Explorer Safety Features and Ratings

The insurance industry’s safety testing organization, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) put the Ford Explorer on its list of 2011 “Top Safety Picks.”

In order to qualify for this list, the Explorer had to earn top scores in crash tests that measure its ability to protect passengers in collisions involving the front, side, and rear of the vehicle, as well as crashes that involve rollovers.

Ford also equips all 2011 Explorers with standard stability control, which is another requirement for “Top Safety Pick” status.

The Ford Explorer is outfitted with AdvanceTrac, a system that integrates stability control and traction control. These two safety features are becoming increasingly common on midsize SUVs, but the Explorer also has some features that distinguish it from its competitors.

Inflatable seat belts cushion the pressure on their wearers if an accident occurs, and curve control applies the brakes when a driver takes a curve too quickly.

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