2003 Explorer

Consumer Reviews

2003 Ford Explorer

$1,226 - $7,282  MSRP Range
2003 Ford Explorer

Review Score

4.2 out of 5 stars

4.2

40 Reviews
83% of drivers recommend this car
Score Breakdown
4.4 out of 5 stars Comfort
4.2 out of 5 stars Value for the Money
4.1 out of 5 stars Interior Design
4.2 out of 5 stars Reliability
4.3 out of 5 stars Performance
4.4 out of 5 stars Exterior Styling

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What Drivers Are Saying

1 - 10 of 40 reviews

4 out of 5 stars

ford produces a very sound explorer

by spacechild from maumee,oh. on Tue Nov 27 2012

i bought the 03' 10 months ago,and have been very happy, minus the gas milege in the city (but it is a suv) i've used it in off road (nothing crazy) travel, extreme snow, it just eats it up. i bought it with 122,000, and i just clicked 135,000 taken it on 2 different trips at 1,200 miles each, and it performed like a champ. other than a set of tires, and oil changes, and the factory stereo. i havn't put any other money into it. at this rate i would have to say "i would buy this very capable vehichle again"

3 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
3 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

43 out of 43 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Very pleased with the Explorer

by grits from Minnesota on Mon Apr 09 2012

We have owned a 98 and 99 Explorer in the past and loved them so wanted another one when we were looking for a second vehicle. We wanted the newer style but had to stay within budget so we found a 2003 that we feel in love with. It's a Limited so it has the 2 extra seats in the back. I myself haven't sat back there but our 10 year old said when she did, it is tight but it works for having the extra seating when needed. We love everything with it from the sunroof, leather seats, back up assist, adjustable brake pedal, dual temperature controls and keyless entry and more. We got this one for a really good price, better then others we have found and it had 163,000 miles on it. The only downside was the tires need to be replaces asap, but otherwise it's in great condition so whoever had it before took care of it. It's a smooth ride and can't even tell it's running when idle. We later found out it even has side airbags so that makes it even safer.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Transporting family

Does recommend this car!!

26 out of 26 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Buy

by Explorer Fan from Atlanta, GA on Thu Feb 21 2008

In October of 2003 I purchased a 2003 Explorer XLS V-6 with 9000 miles. After looking at several competing models, the decision ultimately came down to price. This model was close to $5k cheaper than comparable Honda and Toyota models. Almost five years later, I couldn't be happier with this selection. I have driven this SUV daily and average between 15 to 20K miles per year. I originally worried the V-6 would be low on power, but more MPG outweighed this fear. Ford certainly did a great job of making this V-6 stout. The horses in this engine have been more than enough for my needs. There have been no major problems. Minor problems included a lift gate recall and in 2007 a bad sensor on the brake pedal had to be replaced along with the wire harness at a cost of about $100. Otherwise, this vehicle has been very dependable. Also, the interior is very roomy and lots of hauling capacity in the rear. I have moved three times using this vehicle and have packed lots of items in the back. I can't recommend this vehicle more highly. It is my intention to purchase another Explorer when this one is finally ready to retire.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

22 out of 22 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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4 out of 5 stars

good solid car

by ford man from Canal winchester,OH on Sat Feb 21 2015

great suv My wife rolled it over and it took a beating and was still togeather and we had to total it. My wife only suffered a broken arm and it was still running when it came to a stop. Engine did not burn or loose oil between oil changes. very reliable only bad thing was it went through wheel bearings

5 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Very pleased so far!

by Frameguy from Montgomery Co., Maryland on Fri Feb 02 2007

Haven't had mine too long, but so far it is everything I was hoping it would be. Owned a '02 Escape 2WD before this. I really wanted a little bigger SUV w/4WD without going "gigantic", ie. Expedition, Navigator, etc. Recently rented a '06 Navigator for a week and was not overly impressed considering the price they go for. My biggest compliment of the '03 Explorer is that the ride reminds me of the Navigator, which was also it's best feature. I feel more secure with the extra weight. The layout of the controls and gauges is very well done. My only complaint so far is the fact that the Explorer only has 9hp more than my Escape, 210hp vs 201hp, but out-weights it by over 1,000lbs. That doesn't make sense. Gas mileage is really going to suffer. Other than that I'm extremely pleased with my purchase. I stayed with an older model as opposed to a'06-'07 for two reasons, price and I wasn't crazy about the re-styling. I much prefer the styling of the '02-'05 model years. I would definately recommend the Explorer to my friends.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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4 out of 5 stars

my new used car

by lefty from on Thu Apr 04 2013

the explorer is great for what i wanted plenty of room in the interior and auto four wheal or full time four wheal when i need it and plenty of power for my needs

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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4 out of 5 stars

Eddie Bower 8 w/tow pkg

by TBT from Bayvile, NJ on Mon May 15 2006

use to tow 19 ft Airstream. Only problem was the console gauges which Ford corrected. Have 37K to date. Occasionally have CD jam and correct itself. I get 14 to 21 MPG with about 16 being average for mixed driving.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Does recommend this car!!

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Most reliable and smoothest driving car ever

by Aidan The Explorer from Wixom MI on Fri Jun 29 2018

This car is absolutely incredible with incredible amount of space on the exterior with a gorgeous V6 that puts out enough power to rival a V8 in a drag race on the freeway it?s an incredible commuter car but it also has lots of room to mess around in a be able to take off road and have lots of fun this car runs fenomaly and I haven?t had a single issue and I?m on 144,000 miles very little rust if you keep it nice and clean and in the garage it?s like driving your house around because of comfort but doesn?t fee like your driving a huge car and it?s very very easy to start speeding and not relize it so Keep and eye on the speedometer and don?t get a ticket it?s great for going out with friends and going to concerts or even going to work it has lots of room in the trunk and the ability to add more by folding the seats down and it also has something to cover your stuff up so people don?t see what you have this car drives incredibly smoothe and has incredible handling I 100% recommend this car for anyone wanting to have a good time with friends and also have a reliable way to get from school/work and be comfortable while doing it

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

It was the most reliable car that I owned, 14+yrs.

by JacksonKS on Tue Jul 18 2017

Thanks to my Explorer for safely taking us out of town and for safely bringing us back home, it has plenty of leg room in it, it was still comfortable and safe at it's full capacity, it has exceeded my expectations it's been 14 years and it's still going strong, my testimony for Ford in my opinion makes the most reliable transportation hands down. I'm a satisfied customer!!!!!

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

A great reliable car I own

by Gabriela Ortiz from Racine,WI on Sat Jun 03 2017

I liked it since day one. Purchased it to have a vehicle that is a 4x4 and has a 3rd row. I need it sold due to family emergency.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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Our Take on the 2003 Ford Explorer

It's a rather daunting task to review the Ford Explorer - it's not just that it's the world's best-selling sport-utility vehicle, but that there are so darn many to choose from. On the Edmunds.com site I counted 34 variants of the 4-door SUV, to say nothing of the 2-door and pickup permutations that fill out the list. (And then, of course, there are the variants offered with a Mountaineer label at Lincoln-Mercury stores.)

The Explorer is the one that really fueled the SUV craze. I can recall that when it first went on sale in 1990, some people thought Ford was crazy spending a fortune to design it and outfit the plant in Louisville.

But it clicked, and the biggest problem Ford had was meeting demand... Read More