Ford Authority

2022 Ford Explorer Should Be Avoided, Says Consumer Reports

Last year, the 2021 Ford Explorer landed on Consumer Reports‘ list of vehicles to avoid and now, the 2022 model hasn’t fared much better. Alas, the 2022 Ford Explorer has suffered the same fate as its 2021 model year predecessor, with CR continuing to feel that the three-row crossover will continue to disappoint owners when it comes to overall reliability and ownership experience, earning its placement on the publication’s most recent list of two- and three-row SUVs to avoid.

Though it was overhauled (redesigned and re-engineered) for the 2020 model year, CR stated that the 2022 Ford Explorer was a “middling SUV in a category with some strong competitors.” The publication recommended avoiding the Explorer for a few reasons, including lackluster fuel economy and overall ride quality. The Explorer’s fuel economy “wasn’t any better than that of its V6 competitors,” leaving the Ford 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 without an upper advantage.

Likewise, the publication felt that the Explorer’s 10-speed automatic transmission reportedly had a built-in stiffness which resulted in rougher shifts and a more rigid ride. CR research also discovered that the 2022 Ford Explorer offered “well below-average predicted reliability,” leading to less-heartening survey data.

On the bright side, however, the 2022 Ford Explorer offers quite a few noteworthy attributes. Consumer Reports found that the new Explorer has a “spacious, quiet cabin” as well as “agile handling.” This agility resulted in better handling, but also caused a stiff ride. Additionally, the Explorer is well equipped with top-level active safety features including Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection, and Blind Spot Warning (BSW).

Although these positive attributes boost the overall appeal of the 2022 Ford Explorer, it wasn’t quite enough to convince Consumer Reports to bump up its overall recommendation. As we mentioned above, the 2021 Ford Explorer model fared the same, ranking #13 out of 14 midsize sport-utility, three-row vehicles. It received a lower rating from CR due to a lack of an economic advantage as it relates to fuel consumption and less than smooth shifting of the 10-speed automatic transmission. Taking the Explorer’s place as a top recommendation, CR found the 2022 Kia Telluride to be a stronger option with its outstanding reliability, high ride quality, and well-designed cabin details.

As Ford Authority has outlined over the last few months, the 2022 Ford Explorer gets a few small changes and updates, including auto stop-start becoming an option on Base, XLT, Timberline, and Limited trims for 2022, and the limiting of paddle shifters exclusively to the Timberline and ST models. Additionally, the second-row center floor console has been dropped for all trims.

Meanwhile, the Explorer ST will also be joined by the new Explorer ST-Line for 2022, which features the looks of the regular ST without the added horsepower and torque brought about by the 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine. Ford has also upgraded the 2022 Explorer King Ranch and Platinum trims by giving both the same 400 horsepower tune as the ST.

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  1. Jerry

    We have a late 2020 model Explorer. My view is that CR’s assessment is way off. Yes, the early 2020s had some issues but Ford has addressed them a lot. Ours is now 18 months old, has 26k miles, and no issues. We’ve driven it on two long road trips and found it very enjoyable.

    1. Bart

      AS MOST KNOW, C.R. is so ANTI- American vehicles is pathetic. For example the KIA Telluride which they praised here: “CR found the 2022 Kia Telluride to be a stronger option with its outstanding reliability” ….How could anyone make that claim when the Telluride was just released 2 years ago ! !

  2. Reshard

    2021 Timberline here. Absolutely zero issues…and starts right up after sitting overnight in -40 temps with no block heater (Amsoil in engine/trans/differentials). CR is making way to blanket statement….Yes, some 2020s had issues, but that;s it

  3. Brad Barefoot

    Three words Ford … “Country Squire Wagon”. SUVs have their place, but maybe Bill Ford (as well as the rest of you auto builders) they aren’t really meant to be the “carryall” vehicle for everyone to drive. For those who don’t know the Country Squire, it was the Premium Model in the wagon family, plenty of room for everyone, powerful, and easy to get in and out of. Bill Ford in the late ’70’s there was the LTD Country (C/S) Squire, the Fairmont C/S, and even the Pinto C/S … all had their ups an downs, but were usually quite dependable, yeah Pinto has it faults but in the C/S family it was. Bill Ford … I believe that of the Fairmont was brought back it’d be the hit it was for the better than ten model years ’78 to ’88. Yeah they’d need to be “freshened” up, but the country needs this, when you only offer SUVs an pickups … yeah they sell, you buy what’s available … not always what you want. Bring back the Fairmont Family, 2-door, 4-door, an wagon. And make’em rear wheel drive so we can have those great looking Ford Wire Wheel Covers again. In closing … you’re lucky. I did the buy the way 30 miles away from home before, won’t do it again … main reason a Hyundai Sonota and Venue are in my driveway … closest Hyundai dealer is 30 miles away … Ford dealer, less then 3 miles.

  4. Ken Repinski

    Well, this debate can go on forever. As for CR comments not to recommend the Explorer over a poorer fuel economy and that the trans shifts a little harsh at times, come on. I own a Flex and have been completely satisfied. I have a brother in law that has owned Explorers for years with no problems and he says his newest one is the best. I have a son that works for a Ford dealer and has also told me when the time comes to replace my Flex the Explorer has been very good. I have ridden in a Kia Telluride and didnt find it to be a top contender. My friend traded an Explorer for it and said he is going back to Ford. Everyone has their preference and have to respect that.

  5. R. Walker

    Everybody has an opinion. I don’t know who writes for CR, how old they are or what they look for in a vehicle that turns them on.

    I’m 71 yrs. old. I have had Vettes, 70 Trans Am, 428 CJ Mach I, Lotus Cortina, etc …. I know about power and handling. However, at my age and for what I need, I don’t need to rip around Nurburgring at record pace.

    I drive between Michigan and North Carolina six or seven times a year. I go thru the mountains on I-77 at 75 mph and my 2021 Explorer handles them just fine. Lots of curves and hills. I have the cruise control set, I have the stereo cranked up and the ride is comfy and the interior is roomy. I have 32,000 miles currently. I had a 2020 and 2019 Explorer before my current one. They both had over 30,000 miles at trade in.
    Never had any problems.

    I guess if you want a hot rod, buy one. I’m just looking for roominess, comfort and economy. Oh yeah, I forgot, I consistently get between 28-30 miles per gallon at 75 mph. I’m happy with my Explorer.

    1. HofGuy

      Made me smile. How loud was your stereo? And how old are you. Appreciate the humor. 👍👍👍

  6. Paul R.

    I like Consumer Reports for what it was, not so much where it is today (seems like a weaker version of its old self). Their auto reviews never aligned with the likes of Motor Trend or Car and Driver; instead they are overly concerned about how many large pullman suitcases a vehicle trunk can hold. I have had three Explorers, 2020 ST being the most recent. It gets very good fuel economy compared to the two previous models, and it blows away the mileage of the Premium gulping Audi Q7 I had five vehicles prior – but I didn’t get the Explorer for gas mileage. I got it because I needed the capacity and hauling capability of an SUV, yet I demanded tight, firm sport handling – the very thing Consumer Reports does not like.

  7. Richard

    Instead of the Explorer, Consumer Reports should be avoided.

    1. Deadarmadillo

      Exactly. They are totally unreliable in what they recommend.

    2. Don

      Perfect comment!! They appear to have a personal issue with all Ford products. The only use I have for CR is to light my fireplace. My rating for CR is to avoid it. Please Ford Authority. . Stop giving CR a forum on your site.

  8. Roger

    Did CR even test the 2021 and 2022 Explorer? How do they conclude reliability on a 2022 model that just came out. Our 2021 Limited Explorer is wonderful. We get 29.5 mpg on the highway, which is impressive for a vehicle this size in my opinion. It’s peppy, predictable and quiet. My wife has back issues and the Explorer seats give her the support she needs. The shifts are smooth and almost unnoticeable. I don’t think CR has a clue what they’re talking about when it comes to this SUV. I’ve talked to several owners of the 2020 and 2021 Explorers and they all say the same thing. They enjoy driving their Explorers and have no complaints and most say, including me, it’s the best vehicle they’ve owned.

    1. Lee

      Agree 100% Roger!! Ford Explorers are THE BEST! Totally comfortable & reliable.
      I just bought my second Ford Explorer (2021) & love everything about it! Especially love the comfortable seats with heat/cold feature a big plus for painful bad backs. Quiet & smooth ride also easy on the back. So amazed at all the other added features too many to name. More than I could ask for in a vehicle!. It gets GREAT gas mileage for a vehicle this size plus a lot of pick up & go.
      This article by CR truly takes me aback because IMO it’s full of inaccurate info. Not my experience as a longtime Explorer owner.
      Ford Explorers without a doubt is the best vehicle I have ever owned. Other recent reviews of Explorer owners say the same. Never have had any problems with the two I owned. Only a comfortable & luxurious driving experience!! Definitely will be the only vehicle I will ever own.

  9. Deadarmadillo

    Anyone who pays attention to Consumer Reports hasn’t been paying attention all these years. They are almost exclusive with praise for foreign vehicles especially those that cater to the city dwelling liberals/faux environmentalists. I’m sitting here looking at a Samsung refrigerator that they highly recommended a few years ago which has been nothing but trouble. In the garage sits my wife’s 2016 Explorer which has been an excellent car even though I never saw it listed in CR as even being tested.

    1. DWH

      You are spot on with your comment!! It appears CR have an issue with Ford. It seems 95% of their articles regarding Ford is negative. Regarding the Samsung Refrigerator. I’m guessing Samsung payed CR for their rating because the one my wife and I purchased has been nothing but issues that were outside of it’s warranty. I stopped relying on CR for any product advise. If they closed their doors today. It would change nothing regarding purchasing a product, especially a vehicle. I’m surprised Ford Authority uses their comments on their forum being a site that is Ford based.

    2. Bart

      You NAILED IT…they are totally anti-American / pro-import… they are single handedly responsible for the downfall fo the American auto industry. They take small issues and blow them out of proportion on US vehicles.

      1. Bob Jackson

        Really? I thought the downfall of the American auto industry was due to inferior cars that rusted and leaked fluids as you drove off the lot. Those of us who still bought U S autos in the 80’s switched to imports and never looked back. My son’s 2014 Explorer has had 4 recalls. Parts are not available for the rear end recall.

  10. John Rusciano

    Consumer Reports has gone from objectively evaluating vehicles to subjectively reviewing vehicles and packaging it as objective information and as such have jettisoned their relevance to the automotive marketplace, let alone the enthusiast domain.

    1. Me

      Not just vehicles, pretty much everything they post is subjective… we paid for a subscription to help with some important purchases. What a waste of money. Basically cancelled membership right away. Even their scientifically supported and lab tested studies were a joke. No details. Everything reads like a clueless soccer mom typing on a laptop in her car while waiting for the kids to finish.

  11. Fordguy1985

    Consumer Reports is a joke praising the Telluride, enjoy getting you’re engine replaced three times.

  12. P.R.Ford

    I considered trading my 2019 Explorer Limited for the 2022 model. One short test drive convinced me to keep my 2019. Then again, I have a 2010 F-150 Platinum that I’ve considered trading since 2014 and still can’t find anything I like better than what I have. The F-150 Lightning is intriguing, but way out of my price range for the options I want.

  13. Dan Langworthy

    I have been a CR subscriber for years and a satisfied Ford owner for years and my perception is that CR always goes out of the way to be negative about Ford.

    1. Don

      I totally agree with your comment. It appears they have an issue with Ford and go out of their way to talk trash about their products. Ford Authority needs to discontinue give CR a forum on their site.

  14. robh

    Yes, i tend to agree that CR seems to have bias. I have not read them in years due to this. long time ago, i would buy things based on their recommendations. but everytime i did that, i found the products they suggested broke down more than the products they prefer. So what i do now is look for “customer reviews”. these are people who have actually had the car for months and years and are in a better position to tell you what they like and don’t like. has a “customer review” section. If i were looking to buy a car, i would look there before CR or JD powers that will only tell you what reliablity is in first few months or maybe a year. I want to know how the car fares with its owners after they have had it for over 50,000 miles and a few years. With this attitude, i never buy newly introduced models. I typically buy a car after it has been out for several years and has a known track record and has bugs worked out. I don’t need or want the “latest thing”

  15. Gary kempf

    Don’t ever put to much stock in what CR says.

  16. Brad

    This is so weird. We ordered a 2020 in January and didn’t get it till June of 2020 because of Covid but have driven it 30k of the best miles ever. It’s a great vehicle and we couldn’t be happier. CR is crazy.

  17. philip tilley

    If it was up to me, I would ban all foreign import’s from America, just like the Japanese do and concentrate on Ford, General Motors and Dodge.

    1. Bill G

      That would work out great Philip, except that the big 3 you mention make a lot of their vehicles not in the US.

      And some of the foreign manufacturers make their stuff here.

      Great comment in 1990, now, not exactly remotely accurate or sensible.

      1. Bart

        The imports ONLY make (more like assemble…and robots do most of that) here to AVOID paying import tariffs which us taxpayers have to make up for. I agree about the big 2 assembling in Canada/ Mexico, but as I’ve read MOST of the parts are manufactured here in the US…and that’s more beneficial than just assembly locations.

  18. Bill G

    CR isn’t anything I would put stock in. My Dad did 20-30 years ago, and a lot of that stuff was crap.

    He did get mad when they’d rate foreign vehicles higher.

    Now a days with the internet and reviews, trust that, real world stuff.

    I’ll say, my wife has a 16 Sport with less than 40k on it, not a bad vehicle. Though the day I gotta work on the motor, zero room. We had a 20 when hers was in the shop and heck no. The look, the inside, no. To be fair it wasn’t a good model, but we don’t like the looks on the outside of the new ones.

    But I haven’t test drove an ST, that would be my comparison.

    Personally I have an 18 X3 M40i, and I’m sorry, yes, the foreign manufacturers just have nicer stuff all around and better mpg.

    But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t check out a new Explorer for her. Though hers has had I believe 5 recalls. 3 on the same thing. And a new wheel bearing that was a mofo. Aluminum and steel together, fantastic 🙄. Worst bearing ever.

  19. David Klein

    Own a 21 Explorer Platinum here that has 18k mis so far an has been fantastic! Love the new in ’20 design & its gen2 – 2.3L Ecoboost is well proven,quiet & gets respectable mpgs! Interior is absolutely lovely. We would never look at a KIA over an Explorer! What a joke. This is our 2nd Explorer btw w/ zero issues. The ’18 Explorer we traded for our newer ’21 an couldn’t be happier. CR def gas issues w/Ford for some crazy reason . Well, we can buy anything we like & we only buy Fords!

  20. Steve

    Consumer reports is the least reliable source.

  21. Joe

    I currently own a 2014 Sport and I love it. Love the look. Love the way it drives in all weather conditions. Love the interior. I’ve had no reliability issues with it whatsoever. I was tempted to upgrade to the ST. The more I looked at it, mostly from wandering around the showroom during oil changes, the more I hated it. And while it looks great for the side, the front end is ugly; cannot get past the mustache grill. The rear looks like some kind of a service vehicle. But one of the things I found to be the most annoying was the vertically-mounted iPad in the center. During a test-drive, it seemed distracting and kind almost unsafe because of the narrower orientation. I’ll never understand why it couldn’t have been mounted horizontally, which would have made it more accommodating for eye placement when having to use it. Just do not find it ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing. Anyways, I happy with what I current drive so I’ll wait for the next redesign.

  22. Jennifer Williams

    I have owned a 2011, 2016, and 2020 Explorer. I am VERY satisfied and feel as though Ford continues to improve. Handles similarly to the 2018 Volvo XC60 that I BRIEFLY owned before going back to Ford.

  23. Keith Underwood

    All fords are junk. How do really spell ford?DROF = DRIVER RETURN ON FOOT

  24. Cody

    I swear Consumer Reports must not cross check themselves. I have a 2019 Ranger with the 2.3 liter Ecoboost and the 10 speed, and they claim it’s the most reliable mid size truck. But put that same powertrain in the Explorer and there’s no way we can expect it to hold up. Come on guys, which is it? If you don’t like the car then say so, don’t tell everyone that it’s going to fall apart.

  25. Hellish

    I see a lot of people sharing they love their Explorer & are in the 2nd or 3rd Explorer – I think that’s the issue with you folks, I had a 2016 Explorer and when it came time to upgrade, the new one was simply outclassed by the competition – the hard plastics, trashy transmission, vibrations from the turbo engine, all extremely annoying when you take the time to test drive what’s out there.

  26. Patricia Cochran

    I’ve had mostly Ford. Thunderbird, Trucks, station wagons, mustangs, Escapes, Explorers. Currently have a 2014 Ford Explorer Limited. Never been worked on, just oil changes and maintenance. Just put new tires on.
    Drives like dream. Nicely equipped.
    And I’m 84 so I’ve had a lot of cars.
    Even Cadillac and a Miata!!
    I’ll buy another Ford Explorer, next year, not electric either!!!

  27. Peter

    And yet for 2021 and the 1st quarter of 2022, the Explorer is the best selling SUV next to the Highlander. I guess nobody is listening to CR.

  28. Disappointed FORD Owner

    Unfortunately I did not heed these warnings. I purchased a 2022 Explorer Timberline. I special ordered it and waited 4 months for delivery. Sadly when I had the vehicle it only averaged 12mpg in the city and 15mpg on the highway. To make matters worse, when I brought it for service I was told I was driving it wrong. I finally convinced the service center to examine the car for the issue, but the electrical system quit. It’s not been 40+ days that I have a car payment and no car. Ford doesn’t care. They don’t return calls, they don’t empower their employees. They have absolutely no problem taking your money and selling you a lie. Missed the mark on fuel economy, quality, reliability and even mobility as I find myself walking with a light wallet.

  29. Christopher G

    As an owner of a brand new 2022 Explorer XLT 4WD, I agree with what CR states about the 10R transmission & overall reliability. Trans shifts jerky, and experiencing unpredictable “jutter”. Had to have the drive shaft fixed w/ a bushing because of a loud howling noise in cool/cold weather at 30-35mph. A/C is blowing only hot air after 13,000 miles and back in the dealer shop. Right high beam headlight went dead after 6,000 miles. I’ve been working for Ford Motor Company Vehicle Operations for 28 years. I am utterly disgusted with my Explorer experience, as are a growing number of seniority employees who are experiencing similar issues w/ their new Mavericks, Broncos, Explorers, and F150s. We see 1st hand on the assembly floor how the engineering is getting out of control and lacking fluid application post launch. I fear for my company’s future.

  30. John galentine

    We have a 2020 XLT explorer and really like it we don t have a ton of miles on it but are leaving for Vegas next week.

  31. Jim

    I have been driving since 1976 and have learned the last place to believe any reviews
    is Consumer Reports, Motor Trend and Car and Driver. The alledged experts remind me of paid schills to push one product over another. CR calls anything not made in Japan or Korea not reliable. The clowns at Motor Trend and Car and Driver seem to only know how to review high end junk. I am so disppointed with their opinions about the Ford Explorer. I have owned seven since 2001, and each one was sold after putting over 100K on the odometer. My most recent vehicle, a 2022 Explorer Limited, is amazing. I drive back and forth form Nags Head to NYC. Each trip I get between 30 and 32 MPG. Gas guzzler…WTF? By the way the 4cyl Ecoboost Engine has more power than many of the 8 cyl vehicles I had in the past. I laugh my butt off when these reviewers claim the interior in inferior to other vehicles in this class. If the are refering to an MB, BMW or lexus, who cares. I am not paying $80k for the vehicle. My neighbor has a Telluride. Nice vehicle; however, the v6 engine provided doe not come close my 4cyl Ecoboost engine. I drove the Telluride and quite frankly it is a well made piece of crap. Pretty but not durable and the MPG is so so. I drove it and the handling is very mushy, reminiscent of my dad’s early 70’s Buick.
    The one reason why I think the so called Experts po-po the Explorer is Ford hardly advertises the Explorer in their magazines. How bad could the Explorer be if it is contantly out selling other brands in the same class?

    1. Jim

      I just want to add that I also owned several BMW’s. Great cars…that is if you spend tons of money on required maintenance. The seven Explorers I owned had nothing but oil changes and normal wear items like brakes and tires. BMW SUV’s are not made to go very far off road, the Explorer blows the BMW’s away when driving on a beach. I tried driving an X5 on the beach in Nag Head, NC and Island Beach State Park in NJ. Each time was disaster. However, each Explorer I had tore up the beach like I was on pavement. Before you ask, yes, tire pressure was lowered to 15psig on both vehicles. The BMW just sucked on the sand. So, when these experts write these crappy reviews, they should include the off road capabilities as one of the metrics in their assessment. By the way, the 4cyl Ecoboost Engine handles the beach better than the 2001 Explorer I had with the V6 engine.


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