I use to have a 2004 model explorer. Which year is yours? And yes, I hated it. I mean the room was nice for the kids, but it didn't take long for it to have serious problems. AND, I took good care of it too! If I was going to buy another one, I'd look into a Honda, or Toyota SUV.
I personally like the Chevrolet Suburban. It's roomier yet is a work horse. Well built all around and it handle pot holes very well. If you going to spend your hard earn money then buy a vehicle that is going to last you for many years.
id look towards a japanese one if you don't like any of the domestic ones. as a mechanic i will caution you to avoid aything made europe. expensive finicky there's not much good i can say about them and yes I'm talking all of them. saab volvo bmw mercedes porsch landrover.
I have an Armada, the ride is smooth and awesome,there's plenty of room with the third row seat, and the third row seat sits like a regular set. Love the back up camera the most, you can back in any parking spot.