CONSUMER Reports gives new Ford Explorer top ranking


Wednesday, August 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- The 2002 Ford Explorer was rated first
among six mid-sized sport utility vehicles in a Consumer Reports
magazine survey.
The next-generation Explorer, which went on sale in March in the
wake of last summer's Firestone tire recall, ranked higher than the
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4 Runner, Nissan Pathfinder, Dodge
Durango SLT and GMC Envoy.
This "means a lot for the Explorer because there has been so
many questions about that vehicle," said auto consultant Susan
Jacobs.
The results were published in the September issue of Consumer
Reports. The SUV earned a "promising" rating and could make the
magazine's recommended list if it proves reliable.
"The men and women of Ford who developed this product deserve
to savor this moment," Ford spokesman Jason Vines told The Detroit
News for Wednesday's editions.
Last summer, Bridgestone/Firestone recalled 6.5 million tires,
many of which were sold as original equipment on the Explorer. The
tires have been linked to 203 U.S. traffic deaths and more than 700
injuries, many of which occurred when a tire lost its tread and the
vehicle rolled over.
Hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits have
been filed because of the accidents.
The redesigned Explorer is a "vast improvement over its
predecessor," the magazine said. The magazine's criticism of the
vehicle was it performed poorly off road.