Ford Authority

Ford Explorer Once Again Among Top 10 Least Reliable Cars

With the release of Consumer Reports‘ most recent owner survey, Ford has enjoyed mixed results in a variety of areas. On the positive side of the equation, the 2023 Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair were added to the consumer organization’s list of recommended vehicles, while the latter was also named as one of the top 10 most reliable vehicles. However, the Ford Bronco Sport and Ford Mustang Mach-E both lost their recommended status over quality concerns, and in terms of brands, Ford ranked a mere 18th among 24 entities, dropping four places from last year, while Lincoln finished 10th – an improvement of 14 spots. Now, there’s more bad news for The Blue Oval, as the Ford Explorer has once again ranked as one of the top 10 least reliable vehicles, continuing a trend that began in 2021 and repeated in 2022.

Consumer Reports came up with its list of the top 10 most and least reliable vehicles using data from its owner survey, which contains information on over 300,000 vehicles. The organization takes a look at 17 different common problem areas including everything from powertrains to interior quality, weighs the severity of each problem, and then creates a predicted reliability score ranging from 1 to 100. Otherwise, the only stipulation is that a model must have at least two model years of availability to qualify for the list.

When the scores were tabulated, the Ford Explorer finished with a predicted reliability score of just 16 out of 100, with the main trouble spots being its transmission, power equipment, body hardware, steering, suspension, in-car electronics, noises, and leaks. The Explorer ranks behind every other vehicle in its class – save for the Kia Sorento and Nissan Pathfinder, which both recorded reliability scores of 5 out of 100.

Making matters worse, predicted reliability hasn’t improved by much for the Ford Explorer over the past three model years, with both 2020 and 2021 recording the worst possible overall reliability metric. For the 2022 model year, things improved slightly, but the long-running crossover still trails most of its competition by a significant margin.

We’ll have more insights like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Explorer news and non-stop Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. crabbymilton

    Police departments are none too happy about these either.

    1. eltoro1one

      Agreed!! Our fleet is always in shop! Please Ford, reimagine the Crown Vic, body-on-frame w/ V8!!!

      1. RWFA

        Tell me, how do you think BOF would lead to less shop time?

  2. forddriver

    ford really screwed up with this explorer. lets hope this facelift model fixes A LOT of stuff under the hood, as well as the powertrain.

  3. Francois

    CR is ill informed / biased / garbage.

    1. Retiredjd

      I agree

  4. Gary . Virginia.

    Not a big fan of CR either. Seems Everytime we bought something recommended by CR it was a big mistake including all most burning are house down. But ford needs to start acting like a world class auto manufacturer.

    1. RWFA

      Whether CR’s general ratings are accurate, fair, good or not is a different discussion, but I don’t think reasonable people would blame CR for not discovering a latent defect which they couldn’t have known about.

  5. Bob Dobson

    Im not a fan of CR I think the are a bunch of grumpy old men with no real ability to properly test anything but the Explorer is not made well and has a reputation issue. The build quality coming out of Chicago Assembly is very poor, employees are more focused on political issues and sabotaging Ford then building a product they can be proud of. The Explorer also has some significant engineering flaws, like a 2021/22 model vehicle with SYNC3 in it is a slap in the face of every owner. A wireless charger that only small phones fit in, squeaks and rattles like it was built by Dodge due to poor materials that were cheap and poor fitment. CR is correct with this assessment.

    1. RWFA

      Political issues? Sabotage?**

      Do tell.

      Are you referring to the women in the plant that complained of abuse and rape, or something else?

      ** Your comment starts out on a political bent then flips and ascribes the quality issues to poor design and materials. Those are hardly Chicago made problems.

    2. crabbymilton

      Why should the location of a plant make the slightest bit of difference in terms of quality? FORD is responsible so they could build them on Mars for all I care.

  6. Scotty

    I can guarantee, most of these posted negative comments and the CR review
    are made by people who don’t even own an Explorer! I’ve said here before, that
    I bought a ’22 Timberline on May 29th and have been very satisfied and glad
    that I did. The ride is very smooth, cornering and handling in “sport” mode is a
    real joy to drive, and the safety features and comfort are top notch. And gas
    mileage is very acceptable as well. On road, off-road, camping with 3 rows or
    an extended cargo area with 2 rows, this Timberline handles it all.

  7. D Smith

    My 2022 Explorer Platinum with 25k on it has had 0 problems fit and finish is great. Better performance at 1/3 the price than the 2021 Mercedes GLE 450 or the 2021 BMW X5 which both burned up on me. Never buy a car on a recommendation from a magazine they always skew the opinion based on $$$.

    1. RWFA

      What $$$ for CR? They don’t take money or paid ads from OEMs.

  8. Elden Wells

    I owned a 2005 Explorer, or as some call it Exploder, for 10 years without much issue. We have a 2021 Timberline that is awesome. No recalls or complaints. It’s got everything we need and a great ride. We would buy another one without regret.

  9. Richard

    Surveying their own subscribers is not the correct method to achieve a random sample. CR has trashed the Explorer for years causing subscribers to avoid the vehicle, resulting in a low sample size.
    JD Power samples actual vehicle registrations. They give the Explorer an 83% reliability grade, which is above average across all brands.

  10. KrumDriller

    2019 F250 with a wiring harness issue. Had 1000 miles on it. Waited 3 weeks for Ford to supply the part. Keyless Entry keypad. On my 3rd one with 48000 miles now. Steering stabilizer- on my second one and it probably needs replacing. I have driven Ford F250’s since 1990. My 2009 was absolutely the best truck I ever had. The 2017 and now the 2019 are now near the same quality.

  11. Perry Butler

    I have been attempting to buy a Maverick since it was introduced last year. With the report on
    reliability of related vehicles I may be lucky that I was not able to get one.

    1. RWFA

      This is an article about Explorers Sir.

  12. Cgreen56

    I’m having to pour $8000 in repairs into a 2016 Platinum Explorer with just 100K miles! Technicians are replacing 2-3 PTU’s per month at just one small dealership! Ford admits they have a design problem with no drain for the PTU and no heat shield being installed next to exhaust! Request to Ford says they won’t help!!!


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