The most popular SUV is a carryover from 1999, when it was among the top five vehicles in sales. The Mercury Mountaineer is a clone of the Explorer but comes only in a four-door body style, while the Explorer also comes as a two-door sport model. Explorer buyers can choose from three engines and Mountaineer buyers from two.
This spring, the 2001 edition of the Explorer Sport two-door arrives with new styling, a redesigned interior and other changes, and Ford adds the 2001 Explorer Sport Trac, a four-door model with a 4-foot long open cargo bed like a pickup truck's.
New versions of both the Explorer and Mountaineer are expected during the 2001 model year, and the new ones will not share the same styling.
All models have front bucket seats, but fancier captain's chairs and leather buckets are available. The two-door model comes in a sport trim and seats four. The four-door models hold five, with a three-place rear bench providing the additional position. The rear seatbacks are split and fold for extra cargo room on all models.
The slow-selling two-door Explorer is shorter by about 10 inches, both in wheelbase and overall length, than the four-door. Both are available with either 2WD or 4WD, and both are regarded as compact SUVs.
Under the Hood
The two-door Sport and four-door XL and XLT models come with a 160-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6, an overhead-valve engine that has been in the Explorer lineup since the vehicle debuted as a 1991 model. A newer 210-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 and overhead camshafts are standard on the Eddie Bauer and Limited models and optional on the Sport and XLT. A 5.0-liter V-8 with overhead valves is optional on the Eddie Bauer and Limited.