Redesigned in 2006, the 2008 Ford Explorer is well positioned to compete against other truck- or car-based mid-sized SUVs. The body-on-frame construction will please those in need of towing capacity, while the independent rear suspension and stiffer frame enhance handling on paved surfaces. Optional third-row seating on all trim levels expands utility for larger families. For those with the occasional boat or basketball-team-sized contingent of kids (or both) who choose not to pop for a large SUV, the mid-sized Explorer must be considered. The standard V6 engine produces 210 horsepower while the optional V8 cranks out 292 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. The V8 is paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox, which is a nice segment-leading plus. At just a hair over $26,000, the base 2WD V6 XLT offers impressive standard equipment for the price, including air conditioning, fog lamps, stability control, aluminum wheels, anti-lock brakes, privacy glass, remote keyless entry, side seat air bags, and more. Options available include a power moonroof, navigation system, and heated windshield, leather seats, keyless entry, and Sirius satellite radio so even the XLT can be generously loaded.