Avis handed over a key that said "FORD EXL2 WHI," and I tried to convince myself it meant something other than what it did: the rental had been "upgraded." Rather than the Chevy Impala-type car I had reserved, I was getting a truck. Fifteen years after the Explorer appeared, and a year or so before Ford is due to switch the body over to a car-based "crossover" platform , I got stuck with the definitive lumbering SUV. On Goodyear tires, even.
This vehicle is a joyless piece of slag. Driving it is like sitting on top of a refrigerator while it is being pushed by a guy who can't see around it. These absurd trucks made six million people feel like they were buying something strong and safe? You can feel it trying to roll over as soon as you put the key into it. It is the only thing you can feel, because everything else about the car is like a novocaine enema.
The Ford Explorer is an awful vehicle. America is stupider, and a
little more dead
, for having produced and driven it.