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!