Since this article by very nature sounds like a testimonial, let me start by stating that I have not always been a fan of Ford Vehicles. I have appreciated their utility, but I always believed that “other” makes of vehicles were better. I guess it was due to the impetuousness of youth, but I always took a liking to Chevrolet. When I was younger, I had my first hot rod, a 1973 Chevrolet Nova. It was a patchwork of colors, had holes in the floorboard, fence posts for exhausts, and speaker wire for wiring. But it appealed to the more important characteristics for any youth; it was loud and fast. As I grew older, and hopefully more mature, I recognized the need for other factors in choosing a vehicle. Among them dependability, good gas mileage, safety, and utility.
When I moved back to be near my aging mother, she had a Chevrolet as well, but a little more family oriented than the loud, fast hot rod of my youth. Her main impetus for purchase was affordability; and who can fault her for that is this day and age. Unfortunately the laws of entropy (everything wears out and eventually dies) took over and it did indeed die. Gone to the great junkyard in the sky, and then the one around the corner. By this time I had moved back in with my mother, as she was in a car wreck, and she needed constant care. So when the car died, “we” needed another one. Due in part to our location, used vehicle prices are very low. Once again price played a part in the selection of our new vehicle. Another factor now, as my mother was in a wheelchair, was ease of access for a disabled person.
There is an old maxim concerning making a large investment or purchase – Never buy the first thing you see. We both agreed beforehand that we weren’t. And we were both wrong. We found THE SUV for us; a used 2002 Ford Explorer. It had utility, ease of access for my mother, high but acceptable mileage, and was sporty enough to appeal to my youthful mid-life, and an affordable price. And for a first in either of our vehicle owning experience, it was not black, white or gray. It was red. We did look around for an hour and a half longer at different used car lots, and only found one comparable to the first. However, at a third higher price. So we ended up going back, filling out the paperwork, and signing on the dotted line.
In it’s three years with us it has only needed one major repair and that dealing with the transmission. Not unacceptable for a eight year old vehicle. Other than that it has been a dream. It has never left me stranded contrary to the anti-F.O.R.D. acronym. (found off road dead) It has had exceptional gas mileage, and enough room in the back for my mothers wheelchair and a day’s worth grocery shopping. But the final, and in my opinion, greatest testimony to the Ford name and this vehicle in particular, is its construction and build.
In forty-four years of living I have been in two auto accidents. All within five years of each other, and the second one in this Explorer. Sparing the fine details we were broadsided by a speeding driver. The impact cracked the front clip, cratered the front fender, passenger front and rear doors, bent the door post and cracked the the front windshield. All of this on the passenger side, with my mother in the vehicle with me as well. I was shaken up, but didn’t even have a bruise. My mother had minor bruising only. Needless to say I cannot express my gratitude for the designers, builders, engineers, and safety testers of the vehicle that kept us alive in a life threatening accident.
At the accident site I made sure all people involved were okay, and had the presence of mind to take pictures of the accident. I believed the vehicle to be totaled, as the vehicle that hit us had lost his entire front end. After the adrenaline ran down, and we looked at the damage with clearer heads, we indeed saw that it could be repaired. It has, and is now in better shape than when it was purchased (due in no small part to the auto shop we took it to, but no less to the design and constitution of the vehicle).
Of the varied list of vehicles I have had in my life, I still have a soft spot for those “other” makes and models. But to this day I say my 2002 Ford Explorer is my favorite, and this is why.