Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Yes they did. Ford dealers still sell the Cougar, but that's about all that's left of Mercury here. Very sad. I think the Mercury dealers sued Ford and won an out-of-court settlement also.
  • masonmimasonmi Member Posts: 148
    Thanks for the info I never knew Mercury wasn't present in Canada, i'm sort of surprised they didn't survive with their full length Grand Marquies and the Mercury Mountaineer and Cougar being the top of their line.
  • cfg1cfg1 Member Posts: 85
    My local dealer has a 2002 Mountaineer with 'AWD' badge on the back. But on the window sticker, it says 'Two Wheel Drive'. The prices also match the other 2WDs on the lot, and the prices for 2WD at

    How can I tell if this is realy a 2WD or an AWD?
  • mazman1mazman1 Member Posts: 229
    look under the front wheels.. if you see a big differential type unit, its a 4wd or AWD.

    It is possible that the guys at the factory mislabeled it.

    I am not sure I understand why anyone would want a 2wd Explorer/Mountainer?
  • cfg1cfg1 Member Posts: 85
    Well, it looks like nobody does. The dealer has about 8 2WD and this hermaphrodite.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    People who don't need 4WD want 2WD. They burn less gas and need less maintenance. Unless you plan on driving off road or live in the Yukon, you likely can do without.
  • mazman1mazman1 Member Posts: 229
  • sirknightdsirknightd Member Posts: 96
    I also dont understand why anyone would buy a mountaineer with 2 WD. AWD handles better on drive pavement. In rain I am sure it is much better. So even if u are not near snow, I would think there would be rain. I once owned a 325 Beemer that handled terrible in the rain. the dealer told me doesnt rain too much..the car is made for the majority of the weather..what a crock..i want a vehicle that handles well in inclement weather...there is nothing worse than the feeling of slipping on the road ..My 96 Explorer has done a few quirky things in 2WD. LIke slipping in a turn..In 4 handles much better. Sure a slight decreease in mileage..maybe one mpg i suspect. also more things to break down..but hey..its a safety feature in my mind..worth every penny.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    NO WAY! I would not be caught dead in a mini van.


  • mazman1mazman1 Member Posts: 229
    I dont understand why anyone would spend so much money for a vehicle that has big tires and looks like an SUV, but handles like a station wagon, and gets lousy gas mileage to boot. It probably handles terribly in snow, ice and rain. Buying a 2WD SUV, is like buying a lawnmover without the blade. Take the "utility" out of Sport Utility Vehicle, and all you have is 2wd S V.

    The 2wd version also has a higher rollover tendency, so says the US Govt's NHTSA in their rollover ratings. ( I guess the weight from the front diff. helps the stability.

    You are probably better off in a 2wd minivan, dude, since you get more room, carries more people, and gets better gas mileage... what do you pay now, $2.09 a gallon, and get 17 mpg?
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Well, I generally agree with you on the gas mileage thing. That's why later in the year I'll more likely be looking at the Buick Rendezvous and Ford Escape also. Better mileage with decent space. Mini vans are VERY handy, but I just can't handle the looks or the concept of them.
  • darrenjonesdarrenjones Member Posts: 6
    I believe there are good reasons for purchasing either a 2WD or a 4WD SUV. It depends on what you need it for. Personally, I prefer the 2WD to the 4WD. Here are the reasons I did not purchase 4WD on my 2002 Explorer:

    1) Costs $3500 more
    2) 240 lbs heavier
    3) Worse gas mileage
    4) Slower acceleration
    5) Possible "stiffer", less comfortable ride (?)
    6) I _never_ plan to go offroad, and live in Atlanta, GA where we average 1-2 minor snowfalls per year
    7) I bought the trailer tow package which gives you the limited slip differential which is good enough for me to handle the "inclement" weather in Georgia -- it only costs $395

    I disagree with mazman1's statement about 2WD taking the "Utility" out of SUV. I believe that "Utility" can mean different things to different people.

    For me, the reason I purchased an SUV is for the ability to carry a lot of "stuff". I have a large dog crate, and my wife packs a lot of clothes whenever we go anywhere. I need room for this stuff. I also like the ability to be able to buy larger things such as a television, small ladder, weed eater, etc., that will fit into an SUV, but not into a small passenger car like I had before.

    I do not like the styling of minivans, so I never even considered them an option. I think the 2WD SUV offers the styling that I like, and the space that I need, without having to spend the extra money for 4WD which is something that I neither want or need.

    I understand that SUVs get poor gas mileage compared with minivans. But as someone who hates minivan styling, but needs the space and likes the styling of an SUV, I am willing to live with the poor gas mileage. And I am getting better gas mileage by not getting the 4WD (albeit only by 1 mpg or so).

    I am not arguing that everyone should be like me and that everyone should get a 2WD and not buy a 4WD, because I recognize that other people have different reasons for buying their SUVs. Just don't knock other people because they have different preferences than you do.
  • bjk2001bjk2001 Member Posts: 358
    Alllll Right. 2WD it is.

    99% of the SUV owner don't take their SUV off road anyway. I won't take my $30k plus SUV off road to get dent, scratches or get stucked in the mud. If I really want to do offroad 4X4. I will get a 2nd hand dirt cheap 4X4 truck to get dent scratch and mud all over it.

    I like 2002 Explorer/Mountaineer the 3rd row option seat. So I can carry family, also on weekend I can fold down the 3rd row seat to move STUFFS for kids after school activities. I also like better ride on my daily freeway commute. Soooo, Mountaineer here I come.
  • sirknightdsirknightd Member Posts: 96
    limited slip is a nice feature...i m glad u got that...enjoy your Explorer..
  • eweygrineweygrin Member Posts: 33
    Last night I experienced the dreaded liftgate gas cylinder detachment problem that was the subject of a recall announcement in early April. Apparently dealers called back vehicles that were already sold and fixed vehicles sitting on their lots. Unfortunately, my Mountaineer was in transit during the fiasco and was also dealer traded and somehow got missed. The gas cylinder detached from bracket on glass and shot off with such force that it dented liftgate area above the glass. I am surprised the glass did not break. Very inconvenient because you can not close liftgate after this occurs. The truck is at dealer now. Luckily it had Sat. hours.
  • stewtostewto Member Posts: 11
    Well, looks like the noise I mentioned in Post#81 above has come back to haunt. As of yesterday, at approx. 1,000 miles, whenever I turn the wheel at slow speeds (like backing out of garage, or turning a corner), in either forward or reverse, there is a horrible grinding noise coming from somewhere in the drive-train - along with lots of vibration - -not a good thing.

    Took it to dealer this morning and the casual attitude from the 4-wheel drive tech was not reassuring ("I think we need to rig up some friction plates in the drive clutch for you"). Please - nobody is rigging up anything - they admit that they have not been trained on the car, and know little more than to call their tech support line on Monday. I am not happy. Got the honor of driving off in loaner that appears as if has never been cleaned in 30,000 miles. This car is for my wife and kids, and if it's not going to prove reliable, or if I can't make progress with Mercury service next week, I'll go to plan B (don't know what plan B is yet).

    If you have had similar problems with AWD, please chime in.

  • proteus456proteus456 Member Posts: 65
    Well, just looked at the '02 Explorer today. Saw a Limited trim version which was going for 37k +5K in ADM (Additional dealer markup). Not that it mattered....The thing MIGHT have been worth 30k..if that. Unfortunately for Ford, we had just finished driving the Mercedes ML320 and Acura MDX. My god! How the Ford have the BALLS to charge close to the same price for such cheap crap!. Lets be fair, I'll compare the Explorer to a fellow frame based SUV...the ML320

    Body integrity-Explorer: Thin sheet metal, suspension creaks/body rattles noticeable DURING test drive. Noticable mismatched body panel gaps. Empty seats vibrate while driving..
    Mercedes- Solid as a ROCK...built like a tank..Also, ML320 will easily pass rollover test..Explorer will not.
    Fit/Finish. Ford really needs to think before charging so much for such poor quality trim. Cheap fake wood trim on doors, hard plastic dash..entire entires screams CHEAP!
    Mercedes- Nice interior, with nice grained leather on the seats and doors, real wood trim, quality plastics throughout. No raised seams/edges on trimwork.
    Engine- Ford V6 is bigger, sucks more gas, yet produces less power. Ford really needs to modernize their engines. Engine sounds noisy and unrefined.
    Suspension- Ford rides and handles like a truck, even with the IRS. Not much road feel, seems to wallow in the turns.
    Mercedes - Precise steering, sharp cornering. Feels more like a sedan than a truck.
    Safety - I could sum up all the safety feature each has, but from what i've seen of after crash photos...Which vehicle would you put YOUR family in? Answer is obvious...
    Reliability - LOL..I don't even need to go there. Although Mercedes had some issues 1st year production (Minor issues NOT related to safety or drivetrain), these have been resolved. Fords superb reliability and recall history speaks for itself.
    Value. Here we come to the crux of the matter. For all its faults, the Explorer might be considered acceptable. Just NOT in this price range! The ML320 is selling now nicely equipped for 38-39K. The Ford is going for 37K. If there was ONE advantage that the Explorer it practicality or safety, that would justify it over the competition, I might be able to see it. As is however, there is NOTHING to recommend it over the competition. Seems like anyone who buys it must be stuck on some idiotic brand loyalty gig..then again, isn't that how domestic companies survive?
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    One thing you have to remember is that in a month or two you will have a lot of negotiating room on these trucks. You won't get that with Mercedes. Same thing is happening to the new 02 Envoys/ Trailblazers as they are still in short supply.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    Just an observation, I am getting an AWD SUV this summer (Buick Rendezvous) because I want to handle wet, slippery Pacific Northwest weather. However, in 3 years in the US Border Patrol, driving a 4X4 Ford Bronco in ALL types of terrain (mud, rain, sand, etc.), I can count the number of times I engaged 4 wheel drive on one hand.

    This is not to say that AWD is unecessary. 4X4 is much less useful than AWD and AWD is great for dry weather traction too. It's just that if someone lives in Los Angeles or Miami and wants a station wagon, why not consider an SUV without the added weight, fuel consumption, and maintenance of AWD. It is a viable alternative to a minivan or station wagon.

    Personally, for $30K +, I would also look at an Audi or Volvo wagon but, some folks like trucks and that's cool too!
  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    FYI, there is a bit of negotioting room with the M-class now, with dealers starting to slowly get rid of them for the '02 models in September/October. Dealer profit margins were also slashed significantly in 1999, so there isn't much to take off anyway. In a few months, MBUSA may provide dealer incentives to clear out the '01 models altogether, so it will have even a bit more negotiating room.

    I do have to admit that when I first sat in the '02 Explorers at the autoshow a couple of months ago, I was a bit disappointed to note that the seats, and even the doors felt very much like their predecessors. Definitely not the significant improvement that I was expecting.
  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    If you wish to find out more info about the Mercedes-Benz M-class, the discussion topic for that vehicle is located here:


    Good luck!

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Ya, the improvements on the 02 Envoy seem more impressive than those on the Explorer. I wish they sold the Mountaineer here in Canada because it looks better that the Explorer inside and out.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Member Posts: 185
    I might just be some poor Yank talkin here, but if we want to buy American made trucks, let us. Not everyone can afford a Mercedes or an Acura. If I wanted a minivan or a sportscar, I would buy one. Because I wanted an SUV built on a truck platform (95-2000 Explorer is built on a Ranger platform) that is what I bought.

    If the Mercedes is so great, buy it. Enjoy waiting 3 weeks for a service appointment, or having to drive far from home to find someone besides a dealer who will even touch it.
  • tonysracingtonysracing Member Posts: 80
    Ford Recalls 50,000 New Explorers

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F - news) is recalling 50,000 brand new Explorers because an assembly line conveyor belt that was too narrow for the wider 2002 model may have cut the tire tread.

  • thor8thor8 Member Posts: 303
    Proteus at #119 sums it up well, I never sugggest to anyone what to buy, but I have to shake my head when someone buys an Explorer over an ML for two or three thousands difference, the total quality and refinement of the ML over the Explorer is big, to put it mildly, I know by first hand experience.

    For those that say they want a truck built on a truck platform, the ML is a truck built on a heavy frame and rides like a car while the Explorer rides like a truck.

    If buying for the sake of buying U.S. made the ML is made in the U.S, except the engine and transmission, but percentagewise is no worse than Ford or GM since most of their engines are cast in Mexico and source parts from there or Canada. If patriotism is a concern, it should be a two way street, in return for my money Ford should give me first class quality. I have owned enough Fords in my life to know that I am not missing a thing on the other hand I am so glad that I bougth an ML430.
  • proteus456proteus456 Member Posts: 65
    Couple of points here...
    NJDevils-Thor sums it up well. If you can afford a Explorer Limited/Eddie Bauer, you can afford ML. In fact, ML is almost identical on lease (due to higher resale). GM seems to be waking up however......
    Fedlawman..I drove the Buick Rendezvous..and was shocked..its nice! GM almost got it perfect. Nice handling (not typical mushy ride, more sedanlike), nice interior room, amazingly better fit and finish than most GM products. Priced very nicely too. At 33K out the door, i'd consider it a very nice competitor in this class. Unfortunately it is a bit down on power for me, but probably adequate for most. Put the new DOHC 6cyl from the Envoy/Bravada in there, and you'd have a class leader. Fit, finish and handling is about equal to the Acura MDX. Besides Buick dealers here in Seattle are much nicer than Acura.:P
  • mazman1mazman1 Member Posts: 229
    I also own an Explorer, but am not incredibly enthusiasic about the build quality, especially since I had a 1994 with better.

    If you look at the MB discussion threads on the SUV topic and compare the type of discussion to the "Explorer complaint boards" - and there are 4.. you will see that the MB users are basically talking about pricing and aftermarket do-dads to go on their vehicle, while the Explorer boards have many posts that begin with "Help.. I have a problem..."

    If those of you that have had the Timing Chain Tensioners go bad on your SOHC engine, and watched as they had to lift the engine out of the vehcile to get to the 3 timing chains (two in front and one in the rear) would feel the way I do.

    Ford management should be ashamed of themselves ...
  • thornthorn Member Posts: 91
    Ford Recalls New Explorers:

    Firestone ends 100 year relationship with Ford - citing Explorer safety problems:

    Firestone fires Ford - from WSJ:

    "Our analysis suggests that there is a significant safety concern with a substantial segment of Ford Explorers," Mr. Lampe said Monday. "We have told Ford of our concerns. They have steadfastly refused to acknowledge those concerns. We have always said that in order to insure the safety of the driving public, it is crucial that there be a true sharing of information concerning the vehicle as well as the tires. Ford simply is not willing to do that."

    "We believe they are attempting to divert scrutiny of their vehicle by casting doubt on the quality of Firestone tires. The tires are safe, and as we have said before, when we have a problem, we will acknowledge that problem and fix it. We expect Ford to do the same."

  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Good riddance for Ford. Firestone is a big liability.
  • megasuvownermegasuvowner Member Posts: 64
    I would just take a time out to congradulate you on ignoring the first major firestone tire recall and insist that that was just a minor defect in the "old " models. You all were safe, right? you got the new explorer! its new! its different! no more recalls! WRONG! Looks like the Explorer and recalls go together like peanut butter and jelly. The first 2002 recall was the back liftgate glass, the problem was when you would slam the glass part shut, the glass would shatter. Now, you all have another recall on your hands with something about the thiness of the tire tred, but Ford insists that its just a "minor" recall and that its just a "cosmetic" problem. Now Ford's trying to cover up and desguise their recalls as "cosmetic" problems, but if that were the case, then why would they have such a large and demanding recall? Well, i know its not the owner's faults, but its not like you all haven't been warned.
  • bobcatbobbobcatbob Member Posts: 187
    An Explorer Limited for $42K??? What the heck is that dealer thinking and what the heck did they do when you laughed in their face?
  • proteus456proteus456 Member Posts: 65
    Well, after explaining my position, the salesguy said "oh...thats just because they were rare before, now availability isn't a problem anymore so we should be able to make you a good deal". I told him it unless he was selling for about 5k UNDER invoice, it was a lousy deal compared to MDX or ML class..he got all huffy then, claimed the MDX was a cheap "isuzu knockoff", and that ML had lousy quality. I told him I wasn't interested, turned and left
  • bjk2001bjk2001 Member Posts: 358
    Just test drove both V6 & V8 2002 Mountaineer yesterday. Sales let me drive around a few blocks. We didn't have chance to get on the LA freeway. I can't tell the difference between V6 & V8. Wife liked the "roomy" 3rd row seat. She fitted comfortably during both test drives. After we got home, wife anxiously wanted to get a good deal on the Mountaineer. She prefered Mountaineer over Explorer, coz she likes the Mountaineer dash board design.

    Then I read the 50,000 Explorer/Mountaineer recall story. Ahhhh. Not again. Looks like we are going to wait for a few more months make sure no more recalls.

    Have a few questions regarding the Ford plants.

    Does Mountaineer/Explorer VIN tell where it was built ? Does anyone know which plant has better quality (less recalls)? If you do, please share.

  • bobcatbobbobcatbob Member Posts: 187
    I don't know that I'd expect 5K under invoice for a vehicle this new, but I'd offer invoice as they still have a nice holdback.

    As far as the MDX being a cheap Isuzu knowckoff, give me that guys name a number he needs to be dealt with. The MDX is a beautiful vehicle will last a very lng time. Of ocurse when it first came out, dealers here in MD were asking 10-15K OVER sticker and that was with a 6 month delivery timeframe.

    And the M-Class, well, I don't know a lot about those. I did stand next to one the other day and finalyl realized how big they are. I figured they would be this little flimsy thing, but they are a heafty vehicle.
  • proteus456proteus456 Member Posts: 65
    Hehe...I know they'd never sell for that, was just informing the salesguy what I thought the car was actually WORTH! Needless to say, I have a 2002 ML320 on order...:-) Now I hear theres yet ANOTHER recall for the Ford Exploder....LOL!
    Why people buy this overpriced junk escapes me. Sure, if you have 7 people to haul, or major towing to do, a stripped down Explorer might be a good deal. But paying 37K for a "luxury" version? ROFL!
  • proteus456proteus456 Member Posts: 65
    If you're looking in the mountaineer price range, i'd highly suggest checking out the ML320. (MDX is nice too, but limited towing ability and tiny 3rd row). ML has a nice 3rd row, with even more legroom than the Mountaineer, you get Mercedes safety, fit, finish handling..etc (see above). Heck, the V6 in the Mercedes is just a few hp (220 vs 239) shy of the V8 in the Mountaineer! (and sucks FAR less gas).
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Member Posts: 185

    Are you a Mercedes salesman or something? Or the person in charge of a new marketing campaign?

    A majority of Explorers on the road are Sport and XLT. Then XLS, then Eddie Bauer, and a relatively small amount of Limiteds. If people want to buy it, let them buy it.

    I own an XLS. I agree with you that if you are going to spend that kind of money ($35-40K) you would be better off with something other than an Explorer. Your point is well taken. Feel free to stop reminding the rest of us about it whenever you want.
  • darrenjonesdarrenjones Member Posts: 6
    I do not understand why you think 220hp vs. 239hp is a very minor difference, but at the same time, you think a difference of 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy compared to 17city/21hwy is a HUGE difference ("sucks FAR less gas").

    To compare apples to apples, the Ford V6 is 16/21 mpg, compared to 17/21 for the Mercedes.

    The Ford V8 is 15/20, compared to 16/20 for the Mercedes.

    I am not saying that the Mercedes doesn't have a great engine. It is probably faster and may get very slightly higher gas mileage (1 mpg city, the same highway). Just don't overexaggerate the figures to slant them the way you want them.
  • darrenjonesdarrenjones Member Posts: 6
    Also, I don't understand how you can say that the Explorer and the Mercedes are in the "same price range."

    The MSRP for the base vehicle may be similar (I assume you are comparing a Limited or EB), but there are a couple of things you are leaving out that change things a lot:

    1) You can buy a Ford for a lot closer to invoice than you can a Mercedes. (I am buying mine for invoice -- not 1 penny over).

    2) To get the same features on the Mercedes as you have on the Explorer, you have to add some options, which are pretty costly. These include: Luxury package(leather seats, ...), heated seats, premium audio system, convenience package (Fuel consumption computer, intermittent wipers, power door mirrors), and the 3rd row seat.

    I added everything up for both the Explorer and the Mercedes, using Edmund's TMV(a more accurate measure of what people actually pay than MSRP), and came up with:

    Explorer Limited 4WD with sunroof and 3rd row seat: $33,778

    Mercedes ML320 with above options + sunroof (you have to add the sunroof when you get the luxury group option): $41,616

    This is still not a completely fair comparison, because the Mercedes has some features that are unavailable on the Ford.

    To me, however, a difference of $8,000 is not really in the same price range. I think that the Mercedes is a great vehicle, and probably a class above Ford, but there _is_ a difference in the price you will actually pay, even if it doesn't look that way at first glance.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    Proteus - I agree with your assessment of the Explorer vs. ML320, although I will point out that carefully optioned, an Explorer XLT 4X4 can be had for less than $30K. My wife and I also looked at the Mountaineer AWD and we liked it very much. It can also be had for about $30K. The main reason we eliminated the ML320 from our list is that we plan on using the 3rd row seat fairly often and we didn't like the ML320's 3rd row design or function. Also, although it is an artificial barrier, the $30K threshold is a big one for me...I just find it difficult to justify spending more than that for a car...I have MANY other things to spend my hard earned $ on. I am VERY excited about the Buick...your opinion of the build quality means a lot to me. I can't wait to actually drive it!

    BTW, I live in Seattle (Kent (hold the jokes)) too.

    Mega - Congratulations is spelled with a "T", not a "D".
  • joeadpjoeadp Member Posts: 68
    The ML is going to cost more than a similiarly optioned Mounteaineer.

    I figure the negotiated bottom line will be about $4,000.

    Check out this is a good comparison on price without the need to haggle.
    Currently the ML's are selling below invoice but still their total will be greater than a Mount.

    I to am looking at both vehicles and lean towards the Ford product due to the ease of the third row seat. I have not owned an American car in 15 years but may take a small chance with a 3 year lease.

    Currently I own the mercedes sedan which rides great but has had its share of service issues.

    Decisions , Decsions?? Benz or Ford??
  • proteus456proteus456 Member Posts: 65 be fair, I've been dealing with Ford dealers here in NW. Looking at Edmunds, I found as follows. (TMV)
    Base Ford Expl Eddie Bauer 31868
    Options (3rd row, sunroof, side airbags, trailer tow) 2103
    With destination, total comes to 34571. TMV
    Comparably equipped ML320 will sell for invoice 37700. (real live quote from MB dealer here). DIfference is....$3129
    I would submit to you that 3k is pretty much peanuts in this price range, considering all the advantages of the ML. If you're about to spend 34K+ on a vehicle, would YOU settle for the Explorer? when you can get the ML with all the advantages I listed earlier?
    If cost is your bottom line, factor in the following.
    Longer warranty (4yr/50k vs 3yr 36k)
    Free maintenance
    Far less time in the shop/recalls
    Far greater resale
    Long term reliability

    Now..remember, I am comparing the Explorer LTD/EB. If you are looking for something in the under 30K range, then ML is not for you. I'd highly suggest the Buick Rendezvous. Although it gives up a little in power/tow ability, it more than makes up for it in refinement, fit and finish, and handling...
    On that 3rd seat.
    The ML has the least practical 3rd row, as it does not disappear. However, it is by far the most comfortable for adults. The Rendezvous is almost as comfortable and also disappears.
    The Explorer is quite cramped, and disappears poorly. It doesn't fold flat, leaving "gaps" in the floor. The Acura disappears nicely, but is only suitable for children.
    If third seat is very important for you..the Rendezvous is the way to go.
    Oh..and Fedlawman, Bellevue Pontiac Buick has a Rendezvous available to drive. I talked to "Sid" there..he was pretty nice, no pressure. Unless towing was an issue, I'd say the Buick was the best bang for your buck in the 30K range.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    You're right, comparing apples to apples, the EB/Limited compares to the ML...and the ML wins hands down (the $3000 price difference is virtually eliminated with the free services).

    Thanks for the word on the Rendezvous in Bellevue...I think I'll visit them tomorrow! I have followed the RDV for months and put a deposit on a factory order 2 weeks ago. Got a CXL with 1SD and moonroof for under $30K ($27,000 with GM Card earnings and GM Employee discount). I can't beat it for the money, despite my love and respect for the ML320.

    It's good to correspond with a knowledgeable and intelligent person...and a local, no less.

    BTW - The Buick and Mercedes dealers I have dealt with over the last few months have both been beyond reproach. By far the best customer service of all the dealerships I have visited.
  • sirknightdsirknightd Member Posts: 96
    I don t think you can consider the Mercedes 320 and the Explorer Limited/Mercury Mountaineer as in the same price category.

    A loaded exp limited or mountainer is around 37 K

    A similar ML is well into the forties with moon roof third row upgraded cd player..

    the negative for the explorer its not a mercedes...not the superior engineering of the mercedes

    the advantages of explorer limited are the convenient third row, the tailgate glass lifts seperately

    I think the price diferential is about eight thousand dollars...I think you are trying to compare a Explorer limited to a stripped mercedes ml 320..not a fair comparison..

    no one says the mercedes isnt better than the ford
    its just that its priced much higher..although you raise some interesting points on the cost of ownership...which of course is the actual bottom line..not the msrp..

    I m aboout to order the mercury soon as the advance trac yaw control system comes online...

    if the mercedes dealer wasnt thirty minutes a way
    as opposed to the mercury dealer being two minutes away from me....i wouldnt say no to the mercedes
  • bjk2001bjk2001 Member Posts: 358
    Thanks for your post. I went to to check out ML320 with 3rd seats and options. It quotes below invoice. MB belows Invoice WOW. Makes me thinking to drive a ML320 to work. WOOHOO. I bet all the ladies at work will want me to take them out to lunch.

    But other things come to my mind too.
    1. ML320 doesn't have good qulity report card. Even on Edmunds new car review. Maybe early ones have some trouble but Consumer Report doesn't recommand it. Also I checked intellichoice) owner rating doesn't look very good to me if I want to pay at least high $30k.
    2. 2002 ML line will have a new major upgrade on the model so re-sale value will take a BIG hit too.
    3. If I drive a ML320 to work. My boss and all the pointed hat managers will think "mmmmmm.... BJK is driving a brand spanking new ML320? Do we pay him too much?" My boss drives Japanese compact car and his boss drives small Japanese pickup.

    Wife wants Mountaineer with options $32k, invoice about $29k I would settle for Explorer with options $31K and invoice $28K. Still way belows ML320 $37.5K. Difference will be $10K including tax and lic. Money I save, I could buy a brandnew Nissan Sentra for my soon to be 16 daughter. Hope my daughter is not going to read this post.

    My other option is to buy a minivan version of ACURA MDX a.k.a Honda Odyssey EX which will have all the options as Mountaineer except leather seat, but Odyssey will have power sliding door so its even. I heard people can get it @ MSRP $26.8k in Los Angeles area.

    Well decision, decision, .......... mmmmm?
  • drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
    If you visit the M-class discussion topic here in Town Hall, you'll see that the MY200x MLs have been very significantly improved and have virtually no problems at all. Feel free to ask any questions to the owners, of course. Consumer Reports' scoring is largely biased on the previous model years (pre-'00) in which there were some quality issues. Don't forget that the '02 Explorer/Mountaineer is a brand new and first year model.

    The '02 ML will be facelifted both inside and out, but it won't be as major as you think. The basic vehicle will still remain the same, just some cosmetic changes, as well as electronic and safety upgrades (new side impact head protection curtains are added as standard equipment). Since you will save money on a '01 model (the '02 will be at MSRP), the resale may not be as much of a factor.

    Perhaps you can tell your boss and colleagues that you bought the M-class because you wanted one of the safest SUV on the market to put your family in. This is certainly not a fib. Perhaps the pictures in some of these photo galleries may be of interest to you:

    Good luck!

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • proteus456proteus456 Member Posts: 65
    Honestly, I first posted here not necessarily to expound upon the virtues on the ML. It was more out of shock and dismay after looking at the 02 Explorer. I was seriously considering it, and was utterly shocked at how far behind the competition Ford was after driving all the others in its class (MDX, ML320, Rendezvous, RX300). The model I drove had body panel gaps, sharp edges on the hard plastic trimwork, vibrating seats and floorpan. The fit, finish, ride and handling were more equivalent to a 20K Ford Ranger pickup truck, rather than a 34K+ luxury SUV. I noticed I could rock it easily from side to side by pushing on the upper doorframe, somehow I don't think new tires alone will fix that rollover issue. That 2 piece liftgate is a nice feature, but its also a rattletrap. That is the part I found surprising, how low Ford's quality and engineering have gotten. In general, I am not anti Ford (my second car was a '91 Taurus SHO). What I think is happening is Ford is shooting for profits by taking 10k-15k pickup truck platforms designed for commercial or hauling use, fixing up the interior, adding seats, and trying to pass them off as luxury SUV's. The problem seems to be the platform. SUV's that are passenger minivan based (MDX, Rendezvous) car based (RX300) or designed from the drawing board as SUV's (ML320, Land Cruiser) do not seem to have these problems.
    The Explorer would be a nice luxury truck, and priced fairly in the 20-25K range, however if they want to play at the next level, they'll need to do a lot better than that.
  • tvbraintvbrain Member Posts: 10
    Every Ford should have a sticker in corner of the windsheild on the driver's side which tells which plant assembled the car.
    I've got 800 miles on my 2002 Explorer XLT. It handles much better than my 96 Explorer. Two complaints: Some range of tilt steering seems to have been sacrificed for the telescopic feature, which I do not have. I wish I could get the steering wheel higher. I'm also waiting a week for a "vent hose" because I'm leaking transmition fluid. The dealer said it was a common problem, which makes me wonder why they didn't stock the part.
  • tvbraintvbrain Member Posts: 10
    The latest Explorer tire recall has nothing to do with "tread thinness." It seems the assembly line track was too narrow for the wider 2002 model. Ford feared that the narrow track may have cut into the tread of the tires.
    Personally, I can find no cuts in the treads of my 2002 Explorer, but I'm still looking.
    P.S. When I see a Benz M Class, I chuckle because it's the ugliest mini van on the road.
  • tractiontraction Member Posts: 141
    Has anyone seen/driven a V8 Explorer or Mountaineer yet? I read that they were starting to ship the V8s 2 weeks ago.
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