Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer     Photo: Photo courtesy Ford

THE SELL: The all-time bestselling SUV is now 25 percent more fuel-efficient, more versatile, and nearly idiotproof on wet, icy, and sandy roads.
THE TEST: Among the off-roaders we tested, the 3.5-liter, 290-hp V6 Explorer was merely decent, but through the muck of Michigan forest roads, the terrain-management system kept up with burlier 4x4s, and the automatic descent control brought us safely down a steep and slippery slope. Bonus: With seats for seven (or 80 cubic feet of cargo room), you'll never be short on space.
THE VERDICT: The Explorer is born to serve, not astound, but for the money it's an admirable workhorse. $30,190; 17 mpg city/25 hwy; ford.com

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