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Why you should buy this car: The new Ford Explorer is a highly evolved SUV; a convincing blend of truck and luxury car for owners who drive both ways. The Explorer can still tow a boat, plug mud and dance through the drifts, but it s ratcheted-up the suburb-friendly people mover shtick considerably (all hail the stiffer chassis, six-speed slushbox and adult-sized third row). Badge snobs will prefer something — anything — else, but a new hi-spec Explorer is all the SUV most people need, at a price they can afford. If you don t mind enriching the Petro Shop Boys, the Explorer is currently the segment s most sensible choice.

Why you shouldn t buy this car: Pump shock. Although gas prices will likely fall back to less wallet-draining levels, the Explorer still sucks down the go-juice like there s no day after tomorrow. We reckon a die-hard Massachusetts driver could see mileage figures in the, gulp, single digits. And then there s the Explorer s image. It doesn t have one. Unless you drop some serious paper at the blingmeisters Candy Shop, you will be invisible. Oh, and the tunes are dire.

Suitability Parameters:
· Speed Merchants: No
· Fashion Victims: No
· Treehuggers: No
· Mack Daddies: Yes
· Tuner Crowd: No
· Hairdressers: No
· Penny Pinchers: No
· Euro Snobs: No
· Working Stiffs: Yes
· Technogeeks: No
· Poseurs: No
· Soccer Moms: Yes
· Nascar Dads: Yes
· Golfing Grandparents: No

Vitals:
· Manufacturer: Ford
· Model tested: Explorer Eddie Bauer
· Model year: 2006
· Price as Tested: $34,845
· Engine type: 4.6-liter SOHC V8, with 3 valves per cylinder, variable camshaft timing
· Horsepower: 292 hp @ 5,750 rpm
· Torque: 300 ft.-lbs. @ 3,950 rpm
· Redline: 6,250 rpm
· Wheels and Tires: P235/65R18 A/S OWL tires/ 18 x 7.5 in. chromed wheels
· Drive type: four-wheel-drive
· 0 - 60: TBA
· 1/4 mile: TBA
· Top speed: TBA
· Fuel economy city/highway: 14/21
· NHTSA crash test rating front/side/rollover: TBT

[by Robert Farago]

Related:
Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer, Part 1, Part 2 [internal]

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