• Jul 26, 2010
2011 Ford Explorer – Click above for high-res image gallery

For part two of our in-depth look at the 2011 Ford Explorer, we'll take a look at its new powertrains and improvements in fuel efficiency, as well as how well it can still tow a trailer. But first let's see what kind of techno-goodies Ford has applied to this new SUV.


Technology

This being 2010, technology has to play a big part in any major new vehicle introduction. On the inside, the Explorer joins the new Edge, Focus and Lincoln MKX in adopting the MyFord Touch interface. We first saw this new touch sensitive interface when the MKX and Focus were unveiled at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show in January. Much like modern smartphones, the center stack has a smooth surface with capacitive touch buttons to manage the audio and climate controls. Continue reading after the jump or check out part one of our introduction to the 2011 Ford Explorer first.




The MyFord Touch system will be standard on up-level XLT and Limited Explorers. The base Explorer comes equipped with a non-touch version dubbed simply MyFord. The non-touch version has an instrument cluster with a single 4.3-inch LCD display alongside the analog speedometer and a second non-touch 4.3-inch display in the center stack. Buyers can then add Sync along with that popular technology's newly improved voice recognition capabilities.

MyFord Touch upgrades the instrument cluster to the same dual 4.3-inch display system that debuted last year in the Fusion Hybrid as SmartGauge. The center stack display is also replaced by an eight-inch touch screen. MyFord Touch also adds several data inputs including two USB ports and an SD flash card slot. With most phones and other portable electronics now able to charge via USB, having two ports will allow charging of a phone and the use of an iPod at the same time.



One of the big complaints about manufacturer integrated satellite navigation systems has been their high cost, typically around $2,000. Because Sync now includes an integrated GPS receiver and MyFord Touch has the display, Explorer (and Edge and MKX) drivers will be able to add map-based navigation for just $795. The map data will actually be supplied on an SD card to be inserted in the supplied slot. Of course, if you are starting from the base Explorer and you add the $1,000 MyFord Touch option plus $795 for the map data on the flash card, you're back to nearly that originally two grand price tag.

Those who don't want to pay extra for map-based navigation can also use the new downloadable traffic, directions and information (TDI) system. We got a demonstration of the system's ability to download Google Maps at the preview of the Explorer. Ford owners register their cell phone(s) with the SyncMyRide website, then find a destination in Google maps (and later this year, Mapquest), click on it and send it to their phone number. Once the phone connects in the car, drivers can use Sync to download the directions. Turn-by-turn directions will then be displayed in the instrument cluster.

As part of its attempt to set the Explorer apart from its crossover siblings, Ford has also added a new terrain management system. When talking to previous Explorer owners, Ford found that most didn't understand when and how to use the four-wheel-drive low, high and automatic settings. Since the Explorer is meant to be an SUV with real off-road capability, engineers came up with a system that manages the throttle response, transmission shift points and torque distribution management based on the driver selecting the conditions. A control knob on the center console allows the driver to choose from the default normal mode, as well as mud, snow, sand and hill-descent control modes.



In normal mode, the default is to send all of the drive torque to the front wheels and then redirect torque to the rears based on wheel slip. In mud mode, more of the torque is directed to the rear axle, and the transmission shift points are moved up to allow for higher engine speeds, which along with more allowed wheel slip, helps to throw mud off the tires. Sand mode takes this a step further with even higher shift points and dialing back the traction control.

The snow mode goes the opposite direction with less slip and lower shift points to help ensure vehicle stability in winter weather conditions. Finally, the hill descent control automatically manages the vehicle speed when going down steep grades so that the driver can focus on maneuvering the vehicle without having to manipulate the pedals.


Powertrain

The biggest news ahead of the 2011 Explorer's launch has been its expected fuel economy improvement. The 2011 Explorer will initially have two engines available, a normally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-four. Each of the engines are expected to provide a 30-percent boost in mileage over the Explorer's outgoing 4.6-liter V8 and 4.0-liter V6.

The previously mentioned 2008 concept coincided with the original announcement of the gasoline-turbocharged-direct-injected (GTDI) EcoBoost engines and the concept was said to be powered by a 2.0-liter engine. The production 2.0-liter actually debuted earlier this year in the European Mondeo and S-Max with 203 horsepower, while a more powerful 237-hp version was just recently announced.

For the Explorer, Ford is currently quoting the same 237 hp, although officials tell us that the version used in the Explorer and Edge will have different calibrations from the Euro edition, at least in part to meet U.S. emissions standards. Despite its small displacement, the four produces 27 hp more than the prior Explorer's ancient 4.0-liter V6.

The V6 will actually be the standard engine and the higher mileage turbo-four will be optional.
The really important characteristic of these downsized engines is the torque that's made possible by turbocharging and direct injection. The charge cooling effect of the direct injection allows Ford to run 16 psi of boost, which helps the 2.0-liter engine generate 250 pound-feet of torque from 1,750-4,000 rpm. The old 4.0-liter peaked with 254 lb-ft at 3,700 rpm, but didn't have the flat torque curve of the new smaller engine.

It will be several months before we know for sure if this is enough engine for a 4,500-pound SUV. However, based on our experiences with Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and other similar turbocharged four-cylinder engines, it will likely do just fine and should achieve EPA mileage numbers of at least 18 mpg city and 26-27 mpg highway.

The 2011 Explorer's other available engine is the 3.5-liter V6 which we've come to know and admire in other Ford vehicles over the last several years. For this new application, it retains its port fuel injection system but output has been bumped from 262 hp in the Flex to 290 hp with torque up from 248 lb-ft to 255. That's only 2 hp shy of the old V8 but a deficit of 60 lb-ft. Ford is projecting that the V6 will get 20 percent better fuel efficiency than the old V6 and 30 percent better than the V8. Like other new Fords, both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. For those who want to manually control gear selection, an up-down switch is mounted on the side of the shift knob.

You might expect that the four-cylinder EcoBoost would be the 2011 Explorer's base engine with the V6 optional, but you'd be wrong. The V6 will actually be the standard engine and the higher mileage turbo-four will be optional. The hope is that customers will be willing to pay extra for more fuel efficiency. Ford still isn't talking pricing yet, but hopefully the EcoBoost option will only be a few hundred dollars at most.



With fuel economy and capability being the two primary factors in which customers are interested, Ford appears to have hit the target on the first and mostly hit the latter. We say mostly because there is one specification where the 2011 Explorer falls short of its predecessor: towing. The old V8 Explorer could tow a 7,000-pound trailer while the old V6 ranged from 5,100-5,300 pounds depending on the configuration.

The 2011 Explorer with its base V6 now has only a 5,000-pound towing capacity, beating the Flex by 500 pounds but falling short of the Chevrolet Traverse by 200 pounds. A couple hundred pounds probably won't matter much to most customers, but the 2,000-pound drop compared to the old V8 could be a deal breaker for some. People who need 7,000 pounds or more will have to step up to a full-size SUV or pickup from Ford, or look elsewhere, such as at the diesel-powered German SUVs from Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

The real towing deficit comes with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, which is limited to a mere 2,000 pounds. With the torque available from the turbo-four, we would have thought it could handle more than one ton on its trailer hitch. The difference is likely due to the fact that the EcoBoost engine is only available with front-wheel drive, while the V6 is offered with either front- or all-wheel drive. The four-cylinder Explorer is clearly only for those who need go-anywhere capability without a trailer.



When Ford first announced EcoBoost, Derrick Kuzak talked about engine downsizing as part of a holistic approach to improving fuel efficiency. In conjunction with smaller engines, the amount of structure required to support the powertrain can be reduced, leading to lower vehicle mass. This leads to lower mass brakes and suspension, which then comes back around to reducing the powertrain requirements. Hyundai clearly demonstrated this by limiting its new Sonata to four cylinder engines only and thus reducing the weight of the car by over 100 pounds.

Similarly, despite the increased size and drastically increased equipment on the Explorer, Ford has managed to cut the weight of the V6 model by about 100 pounds compared to the old V8 model. Other positive changes include the structure now containing twice as much high-strength boron steel as well as an aluminum hood.

At this point it's too early to tell how capable the Explorer really is as an SUV and whether or not the engineers have succeeded in their goal of reinventing it. Certainly Jeep has demonstrated that a unibody structure is no detriment to off-road ability, and the Grand Cherokee can tow over 7,000 pounds. Based on its heritage with the Flex/Taurus platform, we expect the Explorer's on-road dynamics to be among the best in its class. The 2011 Explorer will be available in November and we'll make certain to get behind the wheel before then to determine if it's really any good at all the other stuff that makes an SUV what it is.




Check out part one of our introduction to the 2011 Ford Explorer.

Show full PR text
MAJOR SUV FUEL ECONOMY GAINS, TECHNOLOGY, STYLE HIGHLIGHT REINVENTION OF FORD EXPLORER

• Ford reinvents the Explorer SUV with best-in-class fuel economy, improved driving dynamics and terrain management system – all wrapped in a modern, weight-saving design

• Explorer raises the bar on safety with a class-leading array of airbags including industry-first inflatable rear seat belts, Trinity front impact structure, AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control™) and Curve Control functionality

• Explorer features MyFord Touch™ driver connect technology and SYNC® integrated communications and entertainment system to help keep a driver's eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Explorer offers more technology than in-class competitors, rivaling content found in premium SUVs

DEARBORN, Mich., July 26, 2010 – Ford Explorer – the vehicle that defined a segment – has been completely reinvented, raising customers' expectations of sport utility vehicle (SUV) fuel efficiency, safety, technology, capability and quality.

"The all-new Explorer will deliver today's SUV buyers the attributes they really want and value, and a few they might not even have dreamed of," said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. "We're proud to introduce the new Explorer to customers and fans around the world today and pleased to begin a whole new era that blends strong SUV fuel economy and performance."

The all-new Explorer launches today to its Facebook friends in a unique social media initiative, followed by reveal events throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Shattering SUV fuel economy and performance expectations
"The new Explorer simply does everything well," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "It raises the bar for ride and handling on the road and transforms the off-road experience. It's the hands-down winner for towing capability and ease. All this capability – and three rows of seating – with amazing fuel economy will make Explorer the absolute right choice for families with a sense of adventure."

The 2011 Explorer with V6 power is expected to deliver more than 20 percent better fuel economy than the 2010 model, shattering conventional expectations for SUV fuel efficiency. When equipped with the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ I-4 engine, Explorer fuel economy is expected to improve by more than 30 percent and exceed the 2010 Honda Pilot and 2010 Toyota Highlander V6.

Chief Nameplate Engineer Jim Holland said the team targeted two key objectives when developing the 2011 Ford Explorer.

"It had to look modern and contemporary – inside and out – yet be instantly recognizable as an Explorer," said Holland. "Next, the new Explorer needed to deliver the fuel economy today's customers want, combined with the performance, capability and empowerment they expect from an SUV."

Driven by the commitment to give customers unsurpassed fuel efficiency with each new vehicle, Ford attacked every detail to transform Explorer with significantly improved fuel economy:

• Twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT)
• Latest Ford EcoBoost engine
• Six-speed automatic transmissions
• Electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) to significantly reduce parasitic power loss
• Intelligent four-wheel drive (4WD)
• Variable-displacement air-conditioning compressor
• Optimized tires for reduced rolling resistance
• Slippery aerodynamics with harmonized front air dam and rear liftgate spoiler

Weight reduction is a key element in improving Explorer fuel efficiency. While adding significant content to the vehicle, engineers were able to reduce total vehicle weight by almost 100 pounds through the use of lighter materials such as an aluminum hood. Explorer weight loss is even more impressive, as the latest versions of Honda Pilot and Toyota 4Runner have added pounds versus previous models.

Explorer's available advanced 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 delivers the power of a normally aspirated V6 without compromising four-cylinder fuel economy. Aimed at the SUV buyer whose top priority is fuel economy, this turbocharged and intercooled I-4 engine delivers a projected 237 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 250 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,700 through 4,000 rpm. The EcoBoost employs direct injection of gasoline, Ti-VCT, direct-acting mechanical bucket (DAMB) valve lifters and four valves per cylinder.

Explorer's standard powertrain combines front-wheel drive with a 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine, delivering an estimated 290 horsepower and 255 lb.-ft. of torque. Ti-VCT allows individually optimized camshaft timing of valve opening and closing events to improve mechanical efficiency while delivering increased power and reducing part-throttle emissions. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, this powerful, flexible and efficient V6 is projected to deliver more than 20 percent better fuel economy versus the previous Explorer V6 model.

Explorer's variable-displacement air-conditioning compressor provides a fuel economy benefit with less drag and smoother transition for improved driveability.

Each Explorer engine is paired with a unique six-speed automatic transmission, combining lowered initial gears for improved off-the-line acceleration and higher gearing for improved efficiency at lower engine rpm when cruising.

Explorer V6 models are available with an intelligent 4WD system that adds terrain management. Situation-selectable, this powertrain advancement takes the guesswork out of 4WD range choice.

A driver need only turn the console-mounted knob to the proper setting among snow, sand, mud and normal modes. This system also includes a hill descent mode.

Simpler and more convenient for SUV veterans, the system will be a confidence-builder for drivers new to the segment.

Contemporary design with segment-leading craftsmanship and quietness
In addition to its clean, modern design inside and out, Explorer aims to please SUV shoppers with a thoughtful, flexible interior package that abounds with clever storage capacity. The new SUV features more head and shoulder room, three rows of flexible seating, and room for everything families want to take along on their adventures.

The Explorer design – inside and out – is executed with world-class craftsmanship. Tight margin gaps are just one indication of the immense attention to detail applied to craftsmanship across the spectrum, from design to engineering to manufacturing.

The Chicago facility where Explorer will be produced raised the bar on initial quality measures with the recent Taurus launch, which is good news for customers.

"Crafting a high-quality vehicle is like preparing a gourmet meal," said Peter Bejin, craftsmanship supervisor. "You start with high-quality ingredients, execute your recipe with flawless preparation and finally, present it with flair and panache."

Quietness – another profound advancement in the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer – also will signal quality to customers.

The team enhanced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control for the all-new Explorer using an advanced technology called NoiseVision. A ball with hundreds of tiny cameras and microphones, NoiseVision allows engineers to pinpoint and address potential noise issues earlier in the development process.

Explorer is expected to be superior to in-segment competitors and rival premium SUVs in quietness and NVH control.

Explorer safety – strength, technology and innovation
The all-new Explorer targets top safety ratings with a stiff unibody structure and a class-leading suite of active and passive safety features and technologies, plus another Ford safety innovation – the world's first second-row inflatable rear belts.

Rear seat passengers – often children or mature passengers – can be more vulnerable to head, chest and neck injuries. Ford's unique inflatable rear belts spread impact forces across more than five times the area than conventional seat belts, reducing pressure on the chest while helping to control head and neck motion. Belt comfort should also help increase usage rates. Studies show inflatable belts to be more comfortable for passengers due to padding.

From the boron front bumper beam through the hydroformed front frame rails and high-strength steel side-impact tubes, Explorer's rigid body structure is designed to provide robust protection for occupants. In the instance of a crash, these elements come together to protect Explorer driver and passengers inside a safety cage of strength.

Standard Explorer safety features include:
• AdvanceTrac with RSC features Curve Control functionality to provide braking – optimized by each individual wheel
• Second-generation first-row airbags, side seat airbags
• Belt-Minder® for driver and first-row passenger
• Front passenger sensing system
• Energy-management system pretensioning for height-adjustable first-row seat belts
• LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system for outboard second-row positions, for safely securing child safety seats
• SOS Post-Crash Alert System™
• Safety Canopy® side curtain airbags
• Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Available Explorer safety features include:
• Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support
• BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert

Stretching the breadth of capability
The 2011 Ford Explorer redefines customer expectations for driving dynamics and comfort – on any road, anytime, anywhere – while stretching the breadth of SUV capability. Transforming Explorer's driving quality was central to creating an SUV for 21st century customers.

"Our objectives for Explorer dynamics were threefold," said Carl Widmann, vehicle engineering manager. "The first element was to greatly increase on-road comfort, capability and driving dynamics. The second was to maintain the 'any road, anytime, anywhere' capability of the previous model. Finally, we aimed to apply technology to the task of safely towing, as V6 Explorer models are rated up to 5,000 pounds. We think customers will be pleased with the
next-generation Explorer on all three counts."

The theme of the all-new Explorer dynamics development was balance. The team sought to provide an engaging driver experience in harmony with the extended breadth of 4WD capability to build driver confidence.

The shift to a unibody construction platform enabled a reduction in road noise and significantly decreased Explorer body roll in dynamic cornering situations. Independent front suspension is of the short- and long-arm configuration with a 32-millimeter front stabilizer bar. Independent rear suspension is the SR1 configuration, so-named for its one-to-one shock absorber ratio, which enables precise ride control.

Explorer's EPAS system allows for variable rates of assistance based on speed, turn-in and direction. In addition to optimized steering feel, tight on-centering and appropriate resistance, EPAS provides a fuel economy benefit in comparison to traditional hydraulic power assist systems. EPAS also enables a competitive turning radius for optimum maneuverability in parking situations, combined with increased assistance at low speeds for parking ease.

EPAS allows for the addition of Curve Control, a new feature that senses when a driver enters a turn too quickly and applies brake pressure to stabilize the vehicle.

In addition, EPAS enables the optional active park assist technology. When activated, the system scans for a suitable spot, calculates the trajectory, and steers the vehicle. The driver continues to control brake and throttle inputs, but the system steers the vehicle throughout the parking maneuver.

Off-roading standout on a variety of surfaces
The key to Explorer 4WD capability is Ford's new terrain management system.

Replacing the traditional SUV transfer case configuration, the new system takes the guesswork out of maximizing 4WD and the capabilities it enables. Rather than employment of four-high, four-low and auto settings, Explorer terrain management is selectable by situation. The four settings – available by shift-on-the-fly – include normal, mud, sand and snow.

Each setting provides unique engine behavior, throttle tip-in, transmission shift scheduling and calibrations for traction and stability control systems. Terrain management also includes Hill Descent Control™, which provides engine braking to increase driver confidence and control when descending a steep incline.

Explorer models with V6 power are rated to tow a maximum of 5,000 pounds. To aid with hookup – especially when alone – a reverse camera with zoom-in functionality is available, allowing a driver to back up to the trailer on-center. The Explorer towing package includes trailer sway control – a stability package shared with the Ford F-150 pickup – to help minimize trailer sway. Trailer brake controller wiring is also included, as is a tow/haul mode. Engaging tow/haul mode increases engine braking to help slow the vehicle and trailer when descending steep grades.

Loaded with features, convenience and connectivity
The all-new Explorer is available in three trim series levels – base, XLT and Limited. Each offering presents a robust array of standard features, with a class-leading selection of additional convenience and connectivity options so a buyer can tailor a new Explorer to his or her individual needs and desires.

Standard convenience features include:
• MyFord driver connect technology including 4.2-inch LCD screen
• MyKey™ owner control feature
• Air filtration system
• Media hub
• Easy Fuel® capless fuel filler system
• Cruise control
• Power windows, with one-touch down for driver
• Power door locks with child safety rear door locks
• Tilt/telescoping steering column
• Four 12-volt power points
• Cargo hooks

Explorer XLT includes standard content and adds:
• Automatic headlamps
• Six-speed SelectShift Automatic™
• Heated sideview mirrors with LED signal indicators and security approach lamps
• SecuriCode™ keyless entry keypad
• Reverse sensing system
• Perimeter alarm

Explorer Limited includes all base and XLT content, plus:
• PowerFold® sideview mirrors with driver's side memory
• Ambient lighting
• Adjustable pedals with memory functionality
• Cargo net
• Dual-zone electronic temperature control
• 10-way power driver's seat, with power recline and lumbar
• Electrochromic interior mirror
• Rear view camera
• Remote start system
• 110-volt outlet
• MyFord Touch driver connect technology
• Intelligent Access with push-button start
• Universal garage door opener


"We spent our time listening to customers and addressing their needs to launch an SUV that reinvigorates the Explorer nameplate and delivers on Ford's promise of high-quality, fuel-efficient and technologically advanced vehicles with industry-leading safety," said Holland. "The all-new Explorer will change market perceptions about SUV style, fuel efficiency, technology and user-friendliness."

The 2011 Explorer will be assembled at Ford's Chicago manufacturing facility. Production begins late this year, and Explorer will be available in dealerships this winter.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 176,000 employees and about 80 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010, and, until its sale, Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 89 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      My favorable feeling towards this vehicle just went away when reading about these powertrains...might as well get an Edge unless you need 7 seats. The Grand Cherokee is looking better and better; it's kept true to the SUV purpose. This Explorer is a CUV - no different than a Pilot.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't disagree that a lot of GC owners only use them on the road. But I do disagree with Ford marketing the Explorer as a "traditional SUV" when it's powertrains restrict it to use as a CUV. Ford already has a bunch of CUVs...the Explorer should have much better off-road capability and towing than an Edge, and it only minimally does.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @MC the Grand Cherokee is bought by the same buyers as explorers. So do think anyone really goes off road in the Cherokee either other than the usual 5% of owners?
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Ford Explorer franchise was a juggernaut for the company and in recent years sales have been highly disappointing (compared to the salad days of 400K+ units a year). So given the proliferation of CUVs and the popularity of the unit body Grand Cherokee, this new Explorer shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. IMHO it looks like Ford did their homework and have created a great looking vehicle with all the versatility and technology that anyone could want. No, it's not a body-on-frame, old school SUV with a granny gear for off road go-anywhere capability, but it will satisfy the vast majority of people looking for a 7-seat SUV that can tow 5,000 lbs.

      Is it a slam-dunk home run? And does it essentially replace the Edge? Well, buyers will decide that in the long term, but I'd say this new model will help to revive sales and if there's one criticism I'd make it's that Ford didn't bring this new model to market two years earlier.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Simply put, this CUV is what the American market has dictated. I personally think that the Ford CUV lineup has become crowded and confused, and have a feeling that the Explorer spells the death of the Edge.

      As others have said, the percent of people that genuinely use their SUV for offroad and hauling duties is extremely slim from the entire SUV market. I would say that about 85% of the time i see an SUV/CUV it is driven by a Women. And thats the market the Explorer is now targeting. Women that want a large, safe, comfy on-roader that will haul her and her friends to the shops and back. I think the Explorer will do that job excellently. But then to try and salvage it's SUV ability, they add computer controlled terrain adaptation, and a fake AWD.

      The fact of the matter is, you can not build an off road vehicle on a CUV platform that is based on a Car or Van. The idea of a CUV Is to reduce weight by combining the two super structures of the Frame and Body into one lighter more efficient structure. This has worked amazingly well for cars (AKA Unibodies or Monocoques). A CUV could be a good offroader if the structure is designed to accommodate the necessities of offroading. You cannot cram locking diffs, low gear transfer cases, and a well built suspension into what is essentially a car's platform.

      Ford knows how to build an off roader (see SVT Raptor, FX4 packaged F-150's, and the Explorers of old) But the market no longer is buying these (in the case of the Explorer) becuase people are starting to realize that it is a wast of money to drive something that can go anywhere, only on the road.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This new Explorer is more of a direct competitor to the Flex than the Edge. The Edge is a mid-sized CUV with seating for 5. This is a full sized SUV (now based on the D3) with seating for 7. It competes almost directly against the Flex, with the differences being the Flex is more 'urban' and this Explorer is suppose to be an SUV...only its not.

        Flat out, Ford dropped the ball. The styling is ok. Its not bad, but its not anything that stirs the emotion either. It certainly isn't a love it or hate it design. Looks like an evolution of the current Explorer styling. The tech packages are nice. All the various LCD displays, Navigation, SYNC, etc. The 'dummy' condition dial is good too. Driving is snow, put it in snow mode. Same with mud, same with sand. I like the concept. But the powertrain options are an epic fail.

        Ford has become obsessed with MPG. Obsessive behavior is almost always bad. And this is a case of obsessive gone wrong. Of all the modern CUV/SUV offerings of Ford...the Edge, the Flex, and now this Explorer...the Explorer is the least powerful.. Yet it certainly would be the biggest. Not sure about the curb weight compared to the Flex...but I'm sure it about equals it or outweighs it. At least the Flex came with the TTGDI V6 with 360 hp and similar torque. The Edge Sport gets you up to 300 hp in the 3.7L V6. This thing? You can't even get 300hp out of the available powertrains. Yet its the bigger than the Edge and as big as the Flex.

        Flat out, this thing has lost a lot of capability. All because Ford wants to swing the pendulum to MPG. MPG in the expense of capability is a failure. There is a line of diminishing returns...and this thing clearly crosses the line. The whole point of a CUV is that it gives you the utility of an SUV, but with more car-like manor. You make the trade for that capability in an SUV in exchange for the benefits of a car...mainly MPGs. That is the point. An SUV can't make those compromises, the CUV did it already. What is the point of an SUV with no real capability? That is what the CUV is for!

        Its hard to see the point of this vehicle. It clearly completes with the Flex. But the Flex is more capable..has better styling. You can get one with a real engine. This explorer is a shadow of the former model. Like the mustang II, its in name only. Even if Ford argues that people who had the capability to tow and all that didn't use it...the fact is...they bought it for the idea that they COULD use it. Its a fringe benefit of the vehicle...even if nobody uses it. They LIKE the idea of having it should they be in the situation when they need it. This new Explorer does away with all these fringe benefits in exchange for boasting they now have an SUV that seats 7 and gets 30mpg. Too bad it isn't as good at any of the things the Old explorer was good at. An Explorer is name only.

        Poor Ford is in the middle of an identity crisis. Obsessed with being the US version of Toyota...Ford has lost its way. They want to be the king of MPG...and they will castrate once proud nameplates for the marketing hype of a vehicle that is 1/2 the old one but turns good Fuel efficiency. Oh well....
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree 100% with morgande.

        I have no clue why anyone(and there are a lot of them based on the comments) would think that this new Explorer in any way competes with or will replace the Edge.

        It's built off the Flex platform and even has 3 rows. Why would Ford replace the Edge with a larger, 3 row CUV? Isn't that what the Flex is?? If they did that, then what would fill the Edge's space?

        In my opinion, the Explorer is more likely to replace the Flex than anything else. It's certainly a poor evolution of the Explorer though if you ask me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        you'll plenty of men driving these too. Soccer mom's don't post on autoblog so it's ok to knock them I guess but being married to one we would both drive it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Attractive, contemporary, but somewhat subdued styling, performance that hits their target market dead-center, and it fully leverages a well-developed platform; I'd say Ford stands to make a boatload of money off this vehicle.

      Hilarious reading the comments from enthusiasts who are so sure that Ford dropped the ball because it doesn't appeal to them. Guess what, statistically you do NOT exist in the sales figures. Folks who value power ("POWERRR!") over everything else, or who need (or even care about) a low-range or locking diffs, make up less than the margin of error in the sales tallies.

      This car is designed to be built to a certain price point and still appeal to people who need something that comfortably seats more than five folks, while providing high safety levels, reasonable economy, and some measure of all-weather security. Yes, that's the same target as the old Freestyle/TaurusX, and the current Flex. The difference is that stylistically, the Freestyle/TX looked far too much like station wagons, and the Flex too cool/young/urban, to appeal to the largest segment of middle-class, middle-aged, suburban America. This Explorer, on the other hand, hits the styling nail on the head.

      The power-train options are solid choices, as well. The 3.5 v6 is a great engine for the real-world, and most importantly, it's cost effective to build and sell at a given price. The turbo 4 will appeal to folks in warmer climates who don't own boats and spend more time in city traffic (as another commenter pointed out, towing with a t4 is asking for a meltdown, and as yet another pointed out, the weak spot of the 3.5 v6 is stop-and-go economy). They are missing a powertrain for the serious towing folks, but in my experience the serious horse-and-boats set usually only buy one gasoline hauler before moving on to a diesel (and they want a real frame, anyway--if this market really exists in non-truck form, I'd say it's time for a new Excursion).

      The underlying platform is paid-off and refined; the powertrains are competitive in their markets and, again, already paid for. Most importantly, by leveraging the best of their existing tooling and concentrating new development dollars on technology you can touch and design you can see, they can build the new Explorer at a low-enough cost to be able to make some profit on it. In short, it's not a halo car, but it doesn't need to be. What it needs to be is well-priced, well-styled, and well-built. Check, check, and check. Nice job, Ford.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well done Ford. Nice job...
      • 4 Years Ago
      The EB4 most likely costs a bit more to make (right now) than the 6. That, and the 'green' quotient is a profit area, so Ford can charge more for a 4 and get away with it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I dont like the rear end.. the front works better.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Listen.. it looks much better then the model it replaces... but ppl are going over board calling it sexy.. What part of this thing is sexy ??

        What female is gonna see a guy driving an FORD Explorer and go damn... whos that guy !

        This thing is not where near being sexy. Dont confuse my words im not calling it ugly cause i like the front end.. but If i a sexy and good looking suv... my money is in the X5, Porsche Cayenne, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8, Infiniti fx35..

        Im just being honest here... there's alot of bias going on AB for American autos. This ford is a much needed improvement over its previous model and I repeat for those of you that will rate me down.. I Always like the Explorer and this new model is a nice improvement.
        • 4 Years Ago
        it will definitely make the vehicle recognizable on the road, i mean it is not "another anonymous rear end" (geez that sounds nasty)

        oh and btw i don't share your opinion
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnn................. Who cares, this vehicle is not news worthy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      HAPPY FORD EXPLORER DAY!!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        SUVs have a deathrate 3x higher per 10,0000 vehicles. In a multi vehicle accident, they are 27x more likely to kill the occupants of the other vehicle. 95% of SUVs never offroad.

        Just admit that you need a minivan or a station wagon, because SUVs are not cool. You are endangering your life, your loved ones, and everyone else on the road.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gruv,
        Wow, you were one of the 6 people who bought an SVX, that explains a lot. Either way, with this
        "Yes, accidents WILL always happen, so why buy something that has a HIGHER CHANCE OF KILLING YOU (3x), and a much higher chance of killing someone else (27x)??? Please explain your logic. Oh wait, you can't, because you are dumb."

        Logic has nothing to do with it and calling people dumb isn't an arguement. I'd be nice to see where you got these stats. The last crazy stat quoter (See I called you crazy, its not a valid arguement, but it was fun, not logical.) Got all bent out of shape because he though cameras saved lives, but if you looked at the data, you saw that people were driving many fewer miles, which has a much better chance of lowering the number of accidents than any camera. Your likely falling into the same trap. Screaming random stats will get you nowhere.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gruv,
        Someone hit your dog with a sport ute and you still pouting? Sure most people aren't qualified to drive a SUV but they will sell them to anyone. The answer is better driver training, not taking usefull cars off the road.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Gruv

        Don't blame the car for inattentive or bad drivers. Accidents will happen regardless of the vehicles driven; kind of like murder will happen regardless of the availability of hand guns.

        By the way; just because you don't see the use in something doesn't mean it's not useful. I live in Southern California, and see SUV's and the like piloted by some pretty piss-poor drivers. I hate the things in general; but it doesn't mean they're worthless, and it certainly doesn't mean they shouldn't be sold.
        • 4 Years Ago
        But they don't protect themselves, so that doesn't make sense. The increased mass also leads to poor handling and braking, which leads to more accidents and a chance of rolling over, which is why the deathrate is 3x higher than passenger cars. It might look and feel tough but it's literally 3x more dangerous than a normal car, to the people inside it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Boyprodigy1

        Last winter i was driving through 18 to almost 24 inches of snow... unplowed roads. Not saying you get that on a regular basis, but i also know that i have been in positions that no car (subi) would have made it in, and i simply cant wait for a plow to dig me out. Gruv's argument is simple, since HE doesnt need an SUV, then no one should have one.

        The argument that SUV's are bad makes no sense, because its just the driver and their inexperiance. I could give lambo keys to a 16 year old, who may wrap the car around a tree, does that make the lambo a bad/dangerous car? no, its the kids inexperiance with the speed/power that makes it dangerous.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gruv
        12:25PM (7/26/2010)

        > In a multi vehicle accident, they are 27x more likely to kill
        > the occupants of the other vehicle.

        And that's the sole reason why people buy SUVs. To protect themselves more at the cost of someone else's life, who, say, cannot afford an SUV or choose different type of car to put less strain on environment. No one cares about the other guy. Well, almost no one.

        When driving an SUV, you feel its large mass and quickly associate this with your own increased safety in a collision. You look down on other road users, too, which makes you feel even safer and also caters to your ego, as looking down on somebody implicitly means dominating this person.

        It's very simple, basic psychology which fueled success of the SUV. Arguing how, say, minivans and station wagons are better alternatives is futile as they do not offer key advantages described above.

        Additionally, a minivan or an estate project you as a typical daddy. SUV makes you more of a tough guy. And everyone wants to be seen as a tough guy, even if they have a huge belly, fat ass, can't run 100 yards fast and are completely incapable of pleasing a woman sexually.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The NTHSA website. Check out this book for further reading:

        http://www.amazon.com/High-Mighty-SUVs-Dangerous-Vehicles/dp/1586481231
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gruz, we know you hate SUVs, something personal probably happened to you because of one. But from the reports I have seen people like you tend to have a 10 times higher of a chance of being beaten up, the most other people.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @some1

        Not to agree with Gruv, but I'm from Colorado, and we have to plow that snow uphill sometimes (and I mean real hills, not some wimpy little bump in the ground) and Subarus still remain the car of choice for many of the people here. If you manage to get a Subaru stuck in the snow, you mostly just suck at life. I've only seen that legitimately happen a couple of times. SUVs really aren't necessary. But yes, Gruv is a moron.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I rather pick the vehicle that's more capable, and safer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Gruv
        just let it go man... you sound like a pitbull
        • 4 Years Ago
        I knew a lady who used to commute daily along a straight highway drive in a midsize BOF SUV, and when I asked why she said confidently "cause if I get in an accident, I win". I replied, "If you hit a family in a small car and kill someone, is that considered winning?" She just walked away.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Gruv

        Well Gruv, im from NY, and I have seen snow that would turn a subi into a snow plow. After so many feet you would either get stuck, or high center on some nice compacted snow/ice. So dont tell me something with low ground clearence is perfectly fine. I have driven through crap that has made me worry even in my jeep. And yes, im in that 5% that actually off roads.

        And the people who you have seen stuck in SUV's, may either be because they dont have a 4wd, or maybe *shocker* they are just poor drivers that would slide around on ice no matter the vehicle.

        All your arguments can be traced back to bad driver skills, not SUV's.

        And you can hate on them allllllll day long, but they still have a place, and some people may actually need them, oh and we also live in America...

        How do those subi's do at towing a horse trailler? or maybe plowing a road... last i checked some people own boats and what not, but need extra space for their kids, so a truck wouldnt work well.

        Maybe some of the people who you see driving on the road (and i guess who you think are dumb, as you so stated in such a mature fasion) have other reasons for owning them, aside from being the root of all your fear.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm sick of this argument "dont buy somethnig because 'I' dont like it!"

        On the accident note, people cause accidents, so blame people, not the car.

        And not a single person here can say that, in the event of an accident, they rather be the one to die, and if you do, your just trying to stand on your soap box, but inside you dont really agree. Even more so if you have children.

        I can say right now, if im going to drive in bad weather, I rather pick the vehicle with capable, and safer.

        so please get off the soap box.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Gruv

        Live in a state with large amounts of snow, then get back to me. My jeep has saved me more times than i can count... some people HAVE to get to work, reguardless of the weather.

        And in some areas of the country, 4x4 and a decent amount of ground clearence is required.

        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Boyprodigy1:

        I'm from CO as well and I agree that Subarus are popular here. Heck, the highest volume Subaru dealer in the country is in my town. But, the fact that Subarus do well in inclement weather does not negate the need for SUV's by some people. There are many things that Subarus can't do that an SUV would.

        Plus, it's not like Subaru doesn't build SUV's too. The Tribeca and Forester are solidly in the CUV/SUV camp and the new Outback is pretty much an SUV/CUV as well after the redesign(the EPA considers it an SUV). It's not like they achieve spectacular mileage either. Subarus are middle of the pack for the most part. I was also surprised when I looked up the mileage for a Tribeca, 21mpg hwy? I can(and do routinely) get that in my V8 Grand Cherokee doing 75-80mph. Subaru severely needs DI.

        I'll also mention that I've never, never seen a Subaru plowing the roads either. I do see plenty of trucks and SUVs doing so though(many driven by private citizens and not city or state employees as well).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like the idea of the Ecoboost I-4, but charging extra and pairing it with FWD-only is a huge fail. I know that few people actually need AWD, but the percentage that don't get AWD on SUV/CUVs is very small. By forcing people to choose between paying a premium for AWD vs a premium for the EB engine, I have a feeling most people will go for the AWD.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The more I look and the more I read this isn't really a new car is it. Seems the more I study it the more it seems like an update the to the Freestyle. Freestyle for 2 years and then Taurus X for the Next two then it got stretched into the Flex so this just looks like a freshened up Freestyle with some new skin and the latest from the Ford standard parts bin. Sure saves on development time and money.
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