• Dec 8, 2010
Click above to watch the video after the jump

The outgoing Ford Explorer was a rear-drive-based body-on-frame SUV with a substantial thirst for fuel yet little in the way of off-road capability. The 2011 Explorer is built off a front-drive architecture, which would lead the uninformed observer to believe that dirt and rocks won't get along with the newly redesigned CUV. But Ford has worked its magic with a clever all-wheel drive system that works in tandem with a Terrain Management System that promises a modicum of off-road capability. Without skid plates and higher ground clearance, we're not talking hardcore rock crawling, of course, but perhaps there's more ability here than one might otherwise expect out of a unibody three-row crossover.

Of course, it will take time to get this message across to the car-buying public, and the first effort in Ford's educating process comes in the way of this sand-filled video. Ford put its newest 2011 model on display at the "San Diego Vision" media event, taking a bright red Limited model for a spin on very loose dirt. There are no rocks and no obtuse articulations; instead there are a bunch of different angles of the new Explorer doing dirt donuts with earth flying everywhere. It's far from the most impressive off-road video we've seen, but it sure is pretty. Hit the jump to watch the video for yourself. Hat tip to Yaroukh!



Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Ford via YouTube]



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  • 38 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks terrific in that color. Loved how the grill with the same color of the rest of the car blends perfectly with it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a lameass vid. I used to own a 4Runner before I bought my MINI and if I was ever to buy another SUV this might be the only USA vehicle I'd buy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And I absolutely hate spammers.

      Reported.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No skid plates and no low range, but they're trying to convince us it is an offroader? Um, that would be a big "no."

      If the extent of your offroading is parking on the grass to watch your 11-year-old Megan play soccer, then this will do.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Gruv:

        The SUVOTY Porsche Cayenne would like to disagree with you. Read through the Motor Trend article about it(if you dare), the Cayenne set handling and braking records and managed to do very well off-road also using the same tires. I'll even give you the link, http://www.motortrend.com/oftheyear/suv/1012_2011_motor_trend_sport_utility_of_the_year_porsche_cayenne/performance.html

        Yes, the Cayenne is expensive, but nonetheless, it counters your argument and as technology advances, more and more SUV's will be equally or more capable at both as the Cayenne.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, it actually will do, since 95% of all SUVs made never leave the pavement. SUVs are for people who can't admit they need minivans. They are not cool, nor are they REALLY designed to offroad. In fact, the very things that make them better offroad have an inverse relationship with how good they are ON the road. Long suspension travel, soft springs, knobby tires, high ground clearance, all contribute to poor handling, road noise, poor emergency manuvers, etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Look out, Raptor, Explorer's on the prowl... NOT!
      • 4 Years Ago
      wow it drove on some sand..bring that thing to the rio puerco in new mexico and lets see it keep up with my 88 jeep cherokee.....that thing is a joke.....ford is good but show it doing something......sand...wow im immpressed....not
      • 4 Years Ago
      Come on guys this thing isn't supposed to compete with the jeep offroad, it supposed to compete in things that people actually want a third row crossover with decent fuel mileage and the ability to take it in mild off-road situations. less than one tenth of one percent of these things will ever see a situation that will actually challenge it off road.

      If you want a hard core off roader buy an FJ/Raptor/ etc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        quote from MGM: - "it supposed to compete in things that people actually want a third row crossover with decent fuel mileage and the ability to take it in mild off-road situations." -

        What makes the Explorer any different than the Flex(which already covers yourstated wants)? The Flex is also a 3-row crossover(built on the same Taurus platform as the Explorer). Give the Flex a slight lift and the intelligent AWD system and it's virtually identical.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yet the Durango is within 1 MPG and has better off road credentials and better towing in a much nicer looking PKG. I would still Rather have the Hemi than any Turbo 4 or 6 that Ford will offer. Tho ONLY advantage that Ford has is there tranny is a true 6 speed but that will change in time! I laugh when people cant give credit where credit is due! P.S. I will take the speed challenge if you have matching drive train for drive train!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yet I am willing to bet the new Durango will still kick this things butt off road and look better doing so with three rows of seats!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't take any issue with the fact that the new Explorer won't have the off road chops of a true body on frame 4x4 with locking diffs, etc. At least show it doing something that even an ordinary car can do. The "Explorer Loves the Mountains" video shows the thing driving on plowed roads. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW3Qpo0Z_hY&feature=player_embedded
      WTF?
        • 4 Years Ago
        LOL, thanks for that.

        Yes, the new Explorer loves the mountains............as long as the snowplow gets there before you.

        I much prefer an an SUV that can get me there in front of the plow and before all the other traffic. It's definitely come in handy for me before. Nothing like being "stuck" at a resort on a huge powder day when nothing but trucks and legit SUV's will get your through the deep stuff and to a nearly deserted slice of heaven.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is more offroading than 95% of these will ever do. Ever.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Indeed! Thats why they changed the platform to be more car like!

        It reminds me of times when my mom would say "don't wreck my car" as I drove the car into the back yard* on the grass! lol as if the grass would destroy something.

        *drove car in back of house to move large amounts of food and drinks for big bbq - lol it was faster
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bella Bella. That's all I can't think when I see this car. What a wonderful looking vehicle.

        Like you say, most of these will only see offroad action when someone clips a curb, and it will only "tow" when someone puts cargo in the back, so I'm looking forward to see the economy numbers yielded by the 2.0L Ecoboost.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I would love to see what this thing does with the V6 in AWD guide compared to the Durango Pentastar V6 AWD when it finally gets that new transmission. I sense a great comparison set between these 2 from C&D, MT, and all the other car publications...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is this the extent of the new Explorer's off road capabilities? The new Grand Cherokee for the win!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, it pretty much is actually. There's definitely a reason that Ford isn't countering Jeeps ads by showing the Explorer doing more agressive off-roading. It can't do it.

        It's a FWD crossover with AWD capabilities. Any Subaru can keep up with this thing off road.

        This video is somewhat laughable, I was at least expecting sand dunes or something, not a flat sandbox. Downrank if you choose, but there's almost nothing about this Explorer that says off-road and it's hilarious that Ford even entertains the idea of it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The answer to your question is: no.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As a Ford guy I am disappointed in the new Explorer. No Eddie Bauer model, unpainted plastic plastered all over the bottom, no real tan interior anymore, no body on frame, etc etc. The Explorer as we know it is gone. The better have a bof Bronco in the works!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't worry, I'm sure they'll be along shortly to introduce a unibody, I-4 powered thing with independent suspension on all four corners and call it a bronco ;)

        I kid, I kid, Ford seems to have been alright at doing old names justice, at least until the new explorer.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ouch!
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