• 73
2011 Ford Explorer – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford has promised that the 2011 Ford Explorer would achieve a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy, and now we can put a pair of numbers with that claim. Environmental Protection Agency ratings show that the Explorer will average 25 miles per gallon on the highway and 17 mpg in the city; a big improvement over the last generation model's 20/14 numbers. The fuel economy numbers for Ford's newest offering also claims bragging rights over the Honda Pilot and the V6-powered Toyota Highlander.

Ford managed such a vast improvement by switching to a lighter front-drive-based setup with a more aerodynamic body. In fact, Ford claims that the Explorer's new rear lip spoiler alone accounts for an efficiency gain of nearly one mpg. Ford's new full-size SUV will also sport a far more efficient 292 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) mated to a six-speed auto transmission and the company's new EPAS electronic power steering system.

Hitting 25 miles per gallon with a 292-horsepower engine is significant, but The Blue Oval promises more improvement once the turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder arrives early in 2011. The powerful little mill promises to be 30 percent more efficient than the 2010 model. The V6-powered Explorer is now in full production and headed to a dealer near you. Hit the jump to read over the Ford press release.

[Source: Ford]
Show full PR text
The all-new 2011 Ford Explorer V6 fuel economy ratings are now EPA-approved at 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, a 25 percent improvement over the previous V6 model
The Explorer V6 combines an enhanced aerodynamic body with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), a six-speed automatic transmission and electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) to save fuel
A fully capable SUV, Explorer V6 is available with intelligent 4WD and a terrain management system, and can be equipped to tow up to 5,000 pounds
Explorer will soon be available with an advanced 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ I-4, expected to deliver 30 percent better fuel economy than the 2010 model

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 9, 2010 – Ford Explorer, America's most popular utility vehicle and safety innovator, is now the segment fuel economy leader.

With an EPA-certified 25 mpg highway rating – a 25 percent fuel economy gain over the outgoing V6 model – the 2011 Explorer sets a new benchmark for vehicles in its class. The Explorer EPA-certified rating of 17 mpg city can't be bested by competitors, either.

"The new Explorer V6 with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) delivers a keen balance between power and fuel economy," said Jim Holland, chief nameplate engineer. "An efficient six-speed transmission mated to this efficient V6 helps Explorer deliver 25 percent better fuel efficiency. This raises the bar for full-size SUVs, and will change buyer expectations for the entire segment."

Explorer's fuel efficiency improvement is the cumulative result of multiple individual technologies, innovations and advancements.

The all-new Explorer body shape was optimized in a wind tunnel to reduce wind noise and increase fuel economy. Ford aerodynamicists and designers found that coordination between the front-mounted air dam and the rear liftgate lip spoiler could add almost 1 mpg at highway speeds.

The new Explorer marks the introduction of electric power-assisted steering (EPAS), yielding significantly improved maneuverability, reduced parasitic engine drag, weight savings and increased fuel economy.

Efficient and powerful new V6
The advanced Explorer V6 features a low-tension drive belt, aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff and a direct-acting mechanical bucket (DAMB) valvetrain with highly polished buckets to reduce internal friction. Each of these measures contributes to Explorer V6 fuel economy.

The improvement in fuel efficiency comes without compromising Explorer's legendary flexibility and capability. When powered by the standard 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine, the Explorer can be equipped to tow up to 5,000 pounds. At 290 horsepower, the all-new Explorer V6 exceeds the 2010 Explorer V6 by 80 horsepower. In addition, the 2011 Explorer V6's power compares favorably to that of the 2010 Explorer V8, rated at 292 horsepower.

When configured with intelligent 4WD and the terrain management system, the all-new Explorer honors the nameplate heritage of off-road capability, with the additional benefit of removing driver guesswork when selecting the appropriate 4WD mode. A driver need only turn the console-mounted knob to the desired setting, and the Explorer automatically adjusts drivetrain behavior to suit conditions.
Explorer will soon offer a 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4, estimated to deliver a 30 percent increase in fuel economy. This option is ideally suited to SUV buyers placing a top priority on fuel economy.

The all-new 2011 Ford Explorer V6 is on sale now.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      This Explorer is going to be a MONSTER HIT.
      I don't think Ford will be prepared for the demand.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why is this such a big deal?

      My 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe V6 w/276hp hits 26mpg on the hwy and 22mpg in the city.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's also a 13" shorter in length, 4.5" narrow, and 2" shorter in height. I sure the Santa Fe is a few hundred pounds lighter as well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ erh

        It probably has to do with the ever expanding waistline of Americans and their spawn. We have more morbidly obese adults, and more obese children than ANY country on earth. It is pretty pathetic.

        Quick, someone go get me a Big Mac and a supersize box of fries!!! I am a normal weight and I want to fit in....

        @ Upthewazzu

        How in the hell am I being pretentious???

        I already stated I can't find weight figures on Ford's site so I DID try to back up my claim, guy. All YOU need to do is look up the MUCH larger dimentions and come to your own conclusion.

        If you can't gather that the Explorer weighs more than your Santa Fe even though it is nearly 15" longer, is taller, wider, more technology and features, and has another row of seating, that is your problem.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Your comparison is apples to oranges. The Santa Fe is a mid-size crossover, and the Explorer is a full-size. When the Santa Fe did seat seven, it was cramped, and there was no room behind the third row for storage.

        I'm not knocking the Santa Fe. It's a great vehicle, but if you made it as big and useful as the Explorer, it wouldn't be getting the 20/26 it's rated at now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        A fully-optioned 2010 AWD Santa Fe weighs in around 4120 lbs and is rated at 20/26. The V6 AWD Explorer in full gear is expected to weigh around 4700 and is rated at 17/23. Pretty comparable, given the size difference, especially considering the Santa Fe's optional 3rd row (which, btw, isn't available after the 2009 model) is for gnomes only.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's why you went to Washington State University.

        - A little reminder from graduate of University of Washington
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is much larger and heavier than your Santa Fe.

        Did you not know this???
        • 4 Years Ago
        I remember when the Explorer *was* the size of the current Santa Fe. It was fine that size. People were happy with that size of SUV. What has changed that people require a larger SUV now than they had 15 years ago?
        • 4 Years Ago
        So Upthewazzu has a ridiculous comment comparing different classes of vehicle, then his defense is to boo Ford for offering a large CUV.

        Just so we're clear here, the Edge is a 5 seat CUV and nearer to Santa Fe's size, fuel economy is 19/26. Secondly, have you seen the sales figures for the Lambda triplets from GM? They're selling quite a few of them. See this is called business sense, if a there is a large demographic for a certain sized vehicle, you build it so you can sell it.

        As for Night Flight, are you really idiotic enough to think that people buy large CUVs because they're fat? Really? So the extra legroom (fat people don't necessarily have longer legs do they?) over a small 7 seater has nothing to do with it right? The extra cargo capacity while using all three rows either right?

        Really, where do they get you people?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @NightFlight: IF that is true, the boo on Ford for producing another fat bloated pig SUV. Do you have weight figures?
      • 4 Years Ago
      My 2010 Camaro with 470 HP gets 25 MPG on the highway too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My friends 2004 Cobra with over 550rwhp gets 25mpg on the highway, and will eat your Camaro for lunch.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The SUV will automatically get worse mpg because it has a higher weight.
        Just BTW, this Justin over here who made that idiotic comment isn't me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        426 hp, 24 mpg-highway. Regardless, ridiculous bragging and a moot point.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ever heard of drag co-efficient, doofus!?
        • 4 Years Ago
        And it weighs about as much.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Your point is........?

        Why did you even bother commenting?
      • 4 Years Ago
      A Jeep Grand Cherokee gets 16 city, 23 highway. So I can give up one mpg for better utility and arguably better styling....It will all come down to the intended use I guess.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I dont think .5 to a full second slower time will make that big of a difference to most people and if it does buy a Hemi that has the torque to pull it through, and on top of that has way better proven track record than any engine for will offer in the Explorer. By the way Chrysler will offer a 6 speed behind all engines!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Better utility is arguable as well. The Grand Cherokee only seats 5.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The 2011 Durango will be a 8 seater and rated the same as the Grand Cherokee, and a AWD Explorer. IMO the best looking of all three with the Grand in a close second.
        • 4 Years Ago

        The 2011 Durango weighs around 4800 lbs in RWD V6. With only 5 forward gears instead of 6 and the extra 200 lbs. of curb weight than the Explorer. The V6 Durango is going to feel pretty sluggish. Reviewers have already noted that 0-60 comes in at the low 9 second range. The Explorer is likely to hit 60 in the low to mid 8-second range while returning better fuel economy. If they get that 8-speed auto into it soon, I'm sure it will be a different story. The Durango does look great though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Like with the last guy, what you get and what it is rated are two different things. The '10 V6 Grand Cherokee is rated at 15/20, 13/19 for the V8. EPA ratings are the only apples to apples comparison that means anything.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ford continues to impress!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Amazing. More power and more MPGs than the competition. And this arguably looks better than the other two as well. I can't help but see this and lament on how Honda messed up their design with the new Pilot. This looks more like an evolution of the previous gen Pilot than the abomination Honda is selling.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agree 100%. Give me the Explorer any day.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I love everything about the new Explorer except for the front profile. It has a fat phase. The grill looks fine, I am just not a fan of the headlights or the front bumper.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is just icing on the cake for me. I've been chomping at the bit for a new Explorer since seeing the first pics. Looks better than new Durango? No question. Than the new Cherokee? Yes, though it is admittedly handsome. Regardless, Chrysler still has a way to go on quality and reliability before I would even consider their products.

        I prefer to buy pre-owned rather than new, so I can wait 2-3 years. Hopefully by the 2012 model Ford will offer the EcoBoost 6. I'll sell the wife on efficiency and enjoy the horsepower.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You really think the new Explorer looks better than the new Grand Cherokee or new Durango?
        This has the mpg going for it that's for sure though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That tank gets better highway mileage than my 2009 Forester XT.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What are we getting freaked out over?

      The Chevy Traverse gets 17/24 with about the same HP (FWD on both). And the Traverse gets 16/23 with the same HP (AWD on both).

      These figures are essentially identical to the competition. They're good but not astonishing. Now the 4-banger turbo figures might be startling, time will tell.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's not a big difference in fuel economy between the Traverse and Explorer, but the 3.5L doesn't have direct injection yet either. I guess Ford's holding that as the next step up later. On the other hand, the Traverse is 8" longer than the Explorer with a 5" longer wheelbase.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford would like you to believe that the Explorer has off capability that the GM Lambdas lack - why else would it have a terrain setting knob, right? But the AWD system is basically the same as GM uses in the basically the same, from the same supplier if I'm not mistaken. The differences will come down to programming, tires and ground clearance...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nobody's freaking out. Ford was able to eke out and extra mpg to make it a class leader with a few more horsepower than its closest rival, the Traverse and they deserve a pat on the back for it. Next year I'm sure Chevy will find a way to match it or beat it by 1mpg. Then maybe Ford will finally add DI and take the lead again and round it goes. In a few years we'll have inched our way up to 300hp full-sized CUVs that get 30mpg and that's not even counting the turbo 4-cyls. Ford guy or Chevy guy, we all win.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford has put a push on to tell you otherwise, but really neither has any off-road capabilities, they're both soft-roaders. Which is fine since that's what people use them for. In fact, most people should just have the FWD version anyway.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dave, if your idea of "going offroad" is a gravel rally stage, than absolutely your STI is superior. If offroad means getting into back country areas, however, than details like tires and ground clearance do have huge importance. That being said, I expect that the new Explorer lacks the ability to do much more than drive through a field or deep snow.

        My point was that any advantage it has over a Traverse will come from attention to those details. However, I don't expect that it will a significant advantage, especially not to most buyers. The Explorer has long departed from when it had acceptably decent off-road capability in stock form.
        • 4 Years Ago
        > The differences will come down to programming, tires and ground clearance...

        You say that as if that's just details.

        My STI has a level of AWD that makes the Explorer look like Fisher Price, but those little details you mentioned mean the Explorer is vastly better suited to going offroad than my STI is...
      • 4 Years Ago
      hahaha, limited and 292hp.
      what a joke
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not a huge deal but

      No tachometer = fail (unless it can be brought up on a side screen)

        • 4 Years Ago
        The tach can be brought up on one of the LCD screens.......
        • 4 Years Ago
        It can be brought up in 2 ways, either as a analog one or a skinny bar like one in the side screen
      • 4 Years Ago
      My Escalade ESV with 400hp and AWD gets 23mpg on the highway.

      It can also seat eight with room to spare, all their stuff, tow much more and is an honest-to-God durable truck underneath instead of being made out of a Ford Taurus.

      Crossovers are no different from fullsize SUVs in fuel consumption, especially when they are just as large and heavy as a real SUV.

      They use about the same amount of fuel overall but you don't get the durability, the towing ability or the power and performance of many real SUVs.

      The Explorer here will probably average in the mid teens overall per tank. What's the point?

        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry sir, but I call shenanigans. The EPA rating on an Escalade ESV are 13/18. (Similar to that of a Sherman battle tank.) If your experience is indeed truthful, you'll be able to muster at least 33mpg out of the Explorer...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Quite nice.
    • Load More Comments