Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show


Is the 2013 Ford Explorer true 4WD (i.e. does one of the settings really engage all four wheels) or is it like all the other “intelligent” AWD SUVs on the market?
Many thanks, Arnie

I am not familiar with the Ford but…most car based SUVs like the new Ford, are front drive bias with some torque always going to the rear. The really good systems, sense a difference and shift power as needed, front or rear, before much wheel spinn occurs. They also have a switch which locks the center differential to a 50-50 torque split front to rear. This when engaged is similar to true 4 wd. So other then off roading and towing as you have no low range, you get the best of both worlds. Add to this traction control, and most awd 4 wd cars are really good.
Read your manual ! Let me know how close we are. The “terrain management system” does these things for you as you choose the setting. Essentially, you have fwd to awd automatically as needed all the time unless you dial in the setting that locks your diff…which is probably deep mud or snow. Most do the same thing under different names.

Thanks for the info.

The explorer is in 4 wheel mode all the time. Or more precisely it sends power to the rear wheels if the front wheels slip. U use the mode selector to modify the 4 wheel drive characteristics such as allowing more wheel spin and reducing the traction control and stability control from kicking in and trying to prevent wheel spin. So I would say it is awd “lite” all the time.

A good conversation with the service department, sometimes gets you answers too. I say sometimes…

“A good conversation with the service department, sometimes gets you answers too. I say sometimes…”

And, the same question, if asked of one of the salesmen, would be answered with a statement that almost surely had no validity! If anyone wants to find out what his/her car’s special features really do, the salesmen know next to nothing, and will frequently spout nonsense that even a child would find questionable.

You have to wonder when a car guy, does his/ her homework and starts to negotiate and they know more about the product then the salesperson. Really frustrating. They say something like " this car does this or that" and you have to say, " no it doesn’t ", and so on. A waste of time and it has happened frequently to me.

Dag,I hate that-when I know more about the product ,then the salesperson.Makes me want to buy factory direct.
" Lets bring manufacturing jobs back to the good ol’ US-for us"-Kevin

“You have to wonder when a car guy, does his/ her homework and starts to negotiate and they know more about the product then the salesperson. Really frustrating.”

I find it amusing, and I know that I am in the driver’s seat. This has been the case for at least 4 of the last 5 cars I’ve bought. Knowing more allows me to control negotiations better.

I’ve only met ONE salesman in the past 30 years that actually knows something about the cars they sell. Most are clueless.

Well, this thread went into the toilet. 2 folks say they are smarter than sales people. That must mean its true. And there are 400,000 sales people who would like to refute that idiotic comment.

The thing is, they (salesmen) often know what really sells cars and makes money. Colors available with matching interior, sound system and how to operate the sun roof…well within their capability. Towing capacity, maintenance intervals, ground clearance, braking distance…“Huh ? let me check the window sticker before I answer that question.” One didn’t even know if the vehicle I was looking at had a full ladder frame !

Let me guess @Stoveguy…you’re a car salesman???

. When the idiot selling you the car doesn’t know the difference between fwd and rwd.
. One was trying to tell me the pickup truck I was looking at was a 4-cylinder. He even counted out the spark-plug wires for me. Then I counted out the other 4 spark-plug wires on the other side.
. At the car show in Boston some 15 years ago I was looking at the new GM SUV. Someone asked where the 6th spark-plug was at on the straight-6. The salesman said it was hidden in the back. The idiot didn’t know it was a 5-CYLINDER.
. Nissan salesman tried to explain that on the new Pathfinder it had traction control, but no ABS. Some vehicles like Mercedes had some exotic traction control systems that didn’t use ABS, but Nissan didn’t have that system. Then when I showed him the brochure PROVING that the pathfinder came standard with ABS on ALL models…he still argued with me.

Those are just the few I can think of off the top of my head.

Let’s look at the qualifications to be a car salesman.

#1) High-School diploma.

. That’s it. No other qualifications are needed.

@stoveguy Well, this thread went into the toilet. 2 folks say they are smarter than sales people.

SMARTER is not he word I would use…Not saying that at all…lazy (just a few fortunately but enough to frustrate) is the term that actually comes to mind. All I really wanted to hear was honesty. Something like "I don’t know the answer to that question, let me write it down and I’ll have one for you before you leave (or shortly) " These guys are the ones I prefer to work with and asked for when I returned. This does require little extra effort though.

Occasionally, I got the “just make something up” guy. But, this is NOT true for car salesmen alone. Some electronics salesmen come to mind too.

Something like "I don't know the answer to that question, let me write it down and I'll have one for you before you leave (or shortly) "

That right there is the problem. They somehow think that if they have to look something up or someone asks them a technical question they somehow feel that MUST know the answer. And if they don’t…they just make things up.

We have a few salesmen for the company I work for. BEFORE they can even begin to sell anything they go through a 2 months of technical training. Some wash out. Part of the engineers duty is to be on call if any technical questions come up that the salesman can’t handle. We’ve fired a couple over the years who decided they didn’t want to bother an engineer…and GUESSED what the answer was…This caused us much grief.

Perhaps you can relate but…if a person was to do a start up on a dealership and wanted to develop a philosophy to start with for his sales department, for one of his sources, he couldn’t go too wrong by interviewing with a store manager from LL Bean.

LL Bean

GREAT store. I buy from them all the time. Been up the Freeport a few times to shop directly from them. A true GREAT American store. Sales people are ALWAYS knowledgeable. And if they don’t know the answer they’ll find it. But most of they time they know the answer. You can go there are 3am and find someone in the fly-fishing section who’ll know almost everything about the products they sell. If they sell fly-fishing equipment…MOST are fly-fishermen.

There’s a ski and bike shop not too far from where I live called Buchika’s. The people who sell bikes there all bike. Some use to be ranked racers. They know the equipment they sell.

Another place in NH called Golf and Ski warehouse. The people working there selling golf equipment are all golfers. At least 2 I know of are club pros.

Those are the kind of salesmen you want sell products. The ONE guy I met in the past 20+ years who knows something about cars use to be a mechanic. But because of back problems had to give it up. I’m not saying all car salesmen should be at this level…but they should at least know what they are selling. That’s why when I go to negotiate I’m very well informed. I know all the options of the vehicle I want to buy…I know the price MSRP and a close estimate of what the dealer paid. I know a good deal about the technical spcecs.

Let me qualify my suggestion, a little. Have a relative by marriage whose daughter works as a customer relations officer or what ever and has the job of settling disputes at the LL Bean stores. In her words…" It’s kind of a cushy high paying job with almost no pressure. What kind of pressure is there when your only job is to come up with ways to make the customer happy."

My son works for Microsoft. They are now opening stores that are more customer friendly and model Apple with their better trained staffs. It seems they are tired of being one of six leading electronics firms who together made billions less then Apple alone the last quarter.

Why do these firms, LL Bean, Bose, Apple etc. even selling Chinese made goods, charge high prices and still profit…customer service, with sales people that are knowledgeable, reflect honesty and follow up after the sales.

There’s one of the new Microsoft stores at the Rockingham mall in Salem. It’s very nice store.

“When the idiot selling you the car doesn’t know the difference between fwd and rwd.”
+1 !

I was holding off on re-telling this little story, simply because all of the veterans of this board have seen it multiple times, but perhaps it is time for the newer visitors like, stoveguyy, to see it:

Back around the year 2000, my brother and SIL were doing a lot of car shopping, and they always go about this task just as I do it. First, they educate themselves via internet resources and print materials, then they visit showrooms in order to see the cars and to speak with sales people.

After each showroom visit, they would usually shake their heads in dismay regarding how little most of the salesmen actually knew about the cars that they were selling. In other words, in all-too-many cases these sales people had apparently not even bothered to read (or, perhaps, to comprehend) the sales brochures on their desks, nor the Monroney stickers on the windows of the cars they were selling.

But, one salesmen stood out in their memory, above all other uninformed salesmen!
This was the salesman who gave an extremely…creative…answer when my brother asked about Traction Control. (You first have to bear in mind that my brother already knew how TC works, but he was trying to assess the level of knowledge of this particular salesman.)

So…what did this salesman say when asked how Traction Control works?
He said, “Oh, when you push that button, it makes the car heavier”.

My brother’s response, as related by my SIL, was, “I’m really impressed that this manufacturer has figured out how to defy the laws of physics with the simple push of a button on the dashboard”. Apparently, the salesman just gave them a blank look in response.

My relatives were barely able to stifle their laughter as they exited that showroom in search of intelligent life.