• Jun 18, 2010
2011 Ford Explorer Facebook teaser shots – Click above for image gallery

The slow burn of Ford Explorer Facebook teasers continues today as the Blue Oval has seen fit to update its online photo gallery with three new images showing off various bits of its new 2011 unibody-based sport ute. This time, we're teased with a view of an open rear cargo hatch (above), a gearshift lever conspicuously absent of PRNDL markings and a power liftgate button. Sure, they may not be the three most interesting photos you lay your eyes upon today, but there are useful bits of info to glean with a closer look.

For instance, just how thick are those D-pillars? Judging by the size of the suitably active outdoorsey family being focused on, it would appear that the rearmost pillars could swallow an entire fleet of subcompacts in the rearview mirror. Also, unless there are some super tricky optical-illusions going on due to an awkward camera angle or there's some sort of dual opening rear hatch arrangement, it sure looks like the cargo opening is a wee bit compromised for the sake of style and/or structural integrity (the last thing Ford execs want is more Explorer rollover headaches).

In any case, we should be privy to a full web debut sometime in July. At that time, all our questions will be answered, but in the meantime, check out all the teaser images in our gallery below.



[Source: Ford Explorer Facebook]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 60 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm anxious to see how the new Explorer looks like but damn those pillars are huge. Those might be a very bad blindspot when backing up or changing lanes. And, last SUV I've driven was my sister's 2003 Grand Cherokee and those D-pillars were manageable. These I would have to try something new-- cameras on the sideview mirrors or on the hatch?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ouch!--I could never buy anything with blacked-out A-Pillers. Thought those went out of style in the late '80s.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Whoops-whoops-whoops. My goof. It's the LRX that is being heavily borrowed from, which I was misidentifying as the LR2. (Don't ever get old.)

        Here are the main pictures from which I am making my judgments:

        http://www.autoblog.com/2010/03/25/spy-shots-2012-ford-explorer-caught-completely-disrobed/

        ...(I was still hoping at this point that the black A-piller was part of the camouflage)

        http://www.autoblog.com/photos/land-rover-lrx-concept-1/#530180

        It's not plagiarism but there's an uncomfortably close resemblance between design elements & form development (not unlike the Passat and Ford 500 of a few years back...only more so).
        ----
        As for black A-pillers, I should have been more specific. There are exceptions to every rule and the Mini is certainly one. It simply wouldn't look right with anything other than blacked-out A-, B- And C-pillers and its design is built around that fact (despite the original Mini having body-colored pillers). But IMO the designs of the Enzo, Vette and Spyker would all benefit greatly from body-colored A-pillers, which help establish a visual flow and cohesiveness of design. Their construction is such that this would be a very expensive and impractical proposition...but from a purely aesthetic standpoint, their black A-pillers are styling weak points. They're still stunning vehicles (well, at least the first two) and I wouldn't turn them down...but the Porsche 911's design exemplifies cohesiveness and holds together comparatively well (but for the large overhangs which, of course, are unrelated to A-piller design).

        In the case of this Explorer, however, the blacked-out A-pillers amount to placing black tape over body-colored A-pillers (or some equivalent), which you may or may not like...but I can't find any recent design manuals that exhort the use of black tape as great design. It's a cheap & outdated gimmick...like fake scoops & vents should be. On the plus side, it looks like Ford could easily offer body-colored A-pillers should it so choose. Or maybe I could get out the heat gun and start peeling.

        Finally, I wouldn't rule out that this is all because I've been traumatized by an ill-advised past relationship with a 1990 Pontiac Bonneville. I'll seek professional help immediately.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Well then, there are lots of new vehicles that I won't be buying.

        As a rule-of-thumb, black-out is used because the designer couldn't make that area aesthetically acceptable so is instead trying to hide it. What is particularly surprising to me is that Ford has been doing a first-rate job of design for the last several years and this kind of immature blunder is beneath them--as is the fact that this is a blatant rip-off of Land Rover's identity (which, yes, Ford helped cement). Still, to me this is more evidence that their American design studios aren't up to snuff with Marty Smith's team in Europe. And so I'm disappointed. I want them all to be good. I own too much stock to be accepting of lesser efforts. This will be a decent design but head-and-shoulders above the Equinox or Magnum/Durango? Don't think so....

        Get that Kuga over here!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I apologize for the perceived personal attack. In retrospect your posts are pretty even handed and you seem to be more interested in pointing to areas you don't like rather than trashing an entire vehicle or company like most on these blogs. It's my opinion that the blacked pillars work on this vehicle. I think that without them it would look worse. The problem with the Explorer is that it looks like they went safe. I agree that it does look too much like a Land Rover but without the blacked pillars it would probably look like a GMC Acadia. I guess when all else fails, go with the more expensive:) New vehicles that look like ones that have been on the road for 3 years don't really show a lot of design initiative or daring. My feeling is that too much stock is put into consumer research and trying not to "scare" people. But there are areas on the Explorer that are much more glaring to me in their lack of resolution than the pillar color. The lower front fascia I've seen in spy shots for instance. Looks like they ran out of time and gave up.

        I'm a designer as well, and as such have opinions. I actually agree with most of the things you said when taken together with your later qualifications. I just didn't agree with the initial blanket statements. My fault for not reading all of your posts and over reacting. I'll agree that my harsh response was unwarranted and apologize again for it. But name dropping who you went to school with was an equally juvenile response in my opinion. Simply saying you have been a designer for many years would have been enough to rebut me without dragging other people into it. Oh well, I started it I guess:)
        • 4 Years Ago
        The resolution of the hood, fenders, & headlights are highly similar/derivative of the LR2 and the grille pattern as well as those @&%! blacked-out A-pillers are also not-so-subtle reminders of Rovers of Land...at least to my eyes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Corrrection:

        "....goes for the new Saab 9-5 and CR-Z as well. The price of being different for difference' sake does NOT make it good design. "

        (God knows I'm no editor....)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, if the black pillars are anything like those on my Taurus, it is indeed something similar to electrical tape that covers them. Obviously not *really* electrical tape, but the material is certainly similar to it.

        I don't mind the look, in fact I think black pillars look better on vehicles with tinted windows.
        • 4 Years Ago
        melmac...what are they ripping off of Land Rover?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Obvious Correction: That should be A-"Pillar" of course...and not A-"Piller."
        • 4 Years Ago
        melmac...I don't see it.

        If anything the current Explorer and LR2 share more in common. Have you even see pics of the new Explorer?
        • 4 Years Ago
        LOTS of new vehicles have them.

        Get used to it all over again.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not to be a negative Nancy, but why are people so excited about a rehash of yet another SUV?
        • 4 Years Ago
        True dat.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Alex

        "Because it will be completely new from the ground up. "

        It's the first time Ford has called these parts an Explorer but there's not a lot of new here. Same cheapened 12 year old Volvo platform that's underneath the Taurus, Flex, MKT, etc. Same Duratec 35 / 6 speed base powertrain that showed up in the Edge 5 years ago.

        • 4 Years Ago
        The Tranny on my moms 98 Sport is going out...oh well that's what our taurus is for ^^
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, a couple reasons I'm anxious to see the new Explorer:
        1.I have already narrowed down my choices to a 2011 Pilot, 2011 Grand Cherokee when it's out, and now want to see what Ford has to offer.

        2. Hope new details of the Dodge Durango/Magnum gets released, but probably won't be out before the new 2011 Explorer.

        3. SUVs have gotten a lot better since their fuel thirsty days. Many SUVs at least have 17 to 19 MPGs City, and 19 to 23 MPGs Highway for the non-CUVs/non-crossover SUVs.

        4. And, wanting to upgrade from a sedan to something a little larger for a while now.

        So, there is something to be excited about the new Explorer. Their current model is atrocious on fuel-- 13 MPG City and around 15 to 17 on Highway. That's pretty bad compared to what you can get with the Pilot and the 2011 Grand Cherokee. I'm eager to see what Explorer has to offer in that area, and hopefully it's improved.
        • 4 Years Ago
        First...the OP has no clue

        Second, Dan, you don't really keep up on auto news do you? This thing isn't getting just a V-6. It's also getting a turbo four. And who said the V-6 would be the 3.5L? Who knows, maybe it will be an updated version of it. HOLY CRAP! There's a concept.

        Go look at the amount of cars Toyota's 3.5L is in. It's ridiculous. Oh but I'm sure that's OK with you...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Because the Explorer has always been a big deal to American consumers since its inception. It does everything it was intended to do very well.

        I don't like SUVs all that much but I am VERY interested in seeing how Ford plays this one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Because it will be completely new from the ground up. The name is about the only thing it will have in common with the current Explorer.

        Besides, we are a bunch of gearheads and car nuts. We get excited about everything from the Tata Nano to the McLaren MP4-12C.
      • 4 Years Ago
      im not impressed with it! hell, its not even an suv, but a cuv... i still think if you want something efficient on gas, then get a freakin hybrid! these things were never meant to get eccelent mpg's! they were originally to replace station wagons cause they could do more than the wagons could... now they just seem to be tall station wagons... i think we are going backwards!
      • 4 Years Ago
      "....goes for the new Saab 9-5 and CR-Z as well. The price of being different for difference' sake does NOT make it good design. "

      (God knows I'm no editor....)
      • 4 Years Ago
      She looks out of his league.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I were king, I would delete o/s mirrors & make the inside mirror a wide angle screen. I like the backup cam on my terrain.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As someone who drives a wheelchair van that is about 8 inches in the rear, that rear pillar is nothing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They are about the right size, but the D pillars are huge.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My guess is, the large pillars are due to it having a power lift gate. And the picture of the shifter isn't significant because of the lack of PRNDL, my guess would be your attention should be on the knob to the rear of it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dear Ford;

      The new explorer is a nice little car. You killed the great truck it was... Just let the Explorer name die in peace. Give your new vehicle a new name... like Orchid, or Daisy, or something fitting. Give us a real truck with better gas mileage. Give us what a man wants to drive. A tough but comfortable truck...like the Explorer was...

      Explorer owner..
        • 4 Years Ago
        Apparently, as a man, I'm not allowed to appreciate things like a comfortable ride and improved mileage. Who knew.

        Not everything needs to ride like a HMMWV, macho man.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you ever get the chance to look at a Ford Flex from the same angle, it also appears to have massive D-pillars.

      http://www.leasetrader.com/photos/actual126776/640x480/Ford-Flex-SEL.jpeg

      The Explorers look a little bigger, but I'm thinking that might just be because it has more angular rear windows with an all black interior, whereas the Flex has more squared-off rear windows (and the one pictured above has a split tan/black interior).

      Personally, I can't wait to see the new Explorer in its entirety, as well as see it reviewed (especially as to how well it does off-road and how well it tows). I think it will make for a couple of great articles when this and the new Grand Cherokee go head to head.
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