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Fourth-gen Ford Explorer improves but doesn't meet customer needs

With each successive generation, the Explorer became more car-like, but this iteration proved it needed to be car-based in order to provide fuel economy to make it succeed.

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The 2006 Explorer brought about a more powerful 4.6-liter V8 engine with 292 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque channeled through a new six-speed automatic transmission.

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The fourth-gen Explorer also boasted a tougher frame, improved suspension and a refreshed interior.

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The Explorer was still a body-on-frame SUV.

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This generation of Explorer also had a more luxurious (sort of) Mercury Mountaineer cousin.

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The Explorer's all-time low of 52,190 sales came in 2009 -- roughly a tenth of what sales were at their peak nine years earlier.

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This was the last generation of the Explorer to feature traditional, body-on-frame construction.

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For the base Explorer, the previous generation's 4.0-liter V6 carried on as the standard engine paired with a five-speed automatic, also from the previous generation.

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Later model years added more tech and convenience features.

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Unfortunately, this Explorer was simply outdone by its more modern, car-based rivals.

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Keep scrolling for more photos of the fourth-gen Ford Explorer.

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2006 Ford Explorer: The 2006 Ford Explorer features a new, 4.6-liter, 3-valve V-8 with variable cam timing, delivering 292 hp and 300 ft.-lbs. of torque

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2006 Ford Explorer technical illustration: The 2006 Explorer shares the three-valve, single-overhead-cam heads used on the 4.6-liter Mustang GT and 5.4-liter Ford F-150.

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SAN DIEGO, CA., March 30. 2006--All new 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

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SAN DIEGO, CA., March 30. 2006--All new 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

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2007 Ford Explorer: Limited

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2008 Ford Explorer

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2008 Ford Explorer: Eddie Bauer

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2008 Ford Explorer: Eddie Bauer

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2008 Ford Explorer

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2008 Ford Explorer Sport Trac: LTD

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