2011 Ford Explorer
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  • 2011 Ford Explorer
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Ford's reborn Explorer has been selling at a brisk clip since being introduced for the 2011 model year, with some 65,823 units finding homes through June. While that's a far cry from the line's salad days back in the '90s, that total already pips the previous generation's 2010 sales figures for the entire year. And that's with just one engine, the 3.5-liter V6.

The Explorer's naturally aspirated six is about to get a more frugal companion, with Ford finally announcing that it will deliver the promised 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost soon. The new model will arrive toting some handsome fuel economy numbers, too – 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway (23 combined).

Ford is quick to note that those EPA figures mean that the 240 horsepower (at 5,500 rpm) and 270 pound-feet (at 3,000 rpm) EcoBoost engine will garner best-in-class highway economy ratings for the Explorer – some 12 percent better than the Toyota Highlander and a whopping 20 percent better than the Honda Pilot (though the latter is slated to get a new six-speed gearbox and improved mpg for 2012). Like most newer turbo DI engines, the 2.0-liter will run happily on regular 87-octane fuel.

For comparison's sake, the standard TiVCT V6 generates more horsepower – 283 ponies at 6,500 rpm– but less torque (252 lb-ft at 4,100 rpm), with commensurately lower economy figures of 17 city and 25 hwy (20 combined). That means EcoBoost intenders can expect to save about three miles per gallon across the board. Click through the jump to continue reading.

We spoke with Scott Makowski, Ford's North American I-4 manager, and he notes that great efforts have been made to deliver a quiet and efficient engine, something that can be a particular challenge with direct-injection powerplants. Special measures to reduce noise and increase efficiency include isolated injectors to reduce 'tick,' polished tappets and lightweight, low friction pistons. Ford has not published what sort of weight-savings (if any) can be expected from this new, smaller engine versus the 3.5-liter model, but Makowski did note that the new engine is about 100 pounds lighter than the last Explorer's less powerful 4.0-liter V6.

This 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine will only be available on front-drive models, and despite similar power figures and superior torque, towing capacity suffers, dropping from 5,000 pounds to just 2,000 pounds (both when properly equipped with the Class III towing package).

The 2012 Explorer 2.0 will roll into showrooms beginning late August carrying a $995 premium versus comparable V6 models. Is the EcoBoost's improved fuel economy worth the cost premium and diminished tow rating? We'll soon find out...


Show full PR text
Ford Explorer Sets New Standard for SUV Fuel Efficiency

• The completely reinvented Ford Explorer powered by EcoBoost™ delivers a class-
leading EPA rating of 28 mpg on the highway, besting Honda Pilot by more than 20
percent and Toyota Highlander by 12 percent

• The hot-selling Ford Explorer – the 2011 North American Truck of the Year –has
already doubled 2010 Explorer model year sales volume, with Ford seeing the
strongest customer preference for well-equipped, range-topping models

• EcoBoost engine technology combines turbocharging and direct fuel injection on
smaller engines to provide customers the power they want and fuel efficiency they
need

DEARBORN, Mich., July 28, 2011 – Ford's hot-selling Explorer is now the most fuel-efficient
seven-passenger SUV on the market, delivering an EPA-certified 28 mpg on the highway with
an all-new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. This is the first application of this advanced engine in
North America.

"Today's SUV buyers place a high priority on miles per gallon, so Explorer has expanded its
portfolio of fuel-efficient engines with an all-new EcoBoost offering," said Amy Marentic, Ford
group marketing manager.. "SUV buyers deserve efficiency with their capability, so Explorer
now offers best-in-class V6 and four-cylinder fuel efficiency."

Building on Explorer's current class-leading V6 fuel efficiency, the addition of EcoBoost power
and a 28 highway rating now puts Explorer over the top. On the highway, Explorer now beats
Honda Pilot and Jeep Grand Cherokee by five mpg, Chevrolet Traverse by four mpg and Toyota
Highlander by three mpg.

Delivering best-in class fuel economy in both V6 and EcoBoost variants, the full-size, three-row
Explorer with EcoBoost even delivers better highway fuel economy than the compact Subaru
Impreza (one mpg better), while matching the most-efficient gas-powered BMW 3-Series.

Now launching in the Explorer, this advanced EcoBoost four-cylinder engine provides the
optimum balance between fuel efficiency and responsive power, delivering 240 horsepower at
5,500 rpm and a generous 270 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm.

Ford's new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine combines gasoline direct injection and turbocharging with
smaller overall displacement, delivering comparable power to a standard V6 engine while
delivering the fuel efficiency of a 4-cylinder. Ford holds more than 125 patents on its EcoBoost
engine technology.

EcoBoost is a global Ford strategy to provide affordable fuel efficiency for millions of drivers
while also delivering the power they desire EcoBoost will eventually be offered on 90 percent of
Ford nameplates by 2013.

The combination of superior fuel efficiency and ample responsiveness is enabled by direct
gasoline injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). Efficiency is further
enhanced through employment of low-friction 5W-GF5 motor oil, a variable-displacement air
conditioning compressor, electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) and a unique 6F35 six-speed
automatic transmission developed to reduce friction and increase efficiency.

The Explorer with its standard V6 delivers up to 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway,
to lead the full-size V6 SUV segment in fuel economy. The Explorer with EcoBoost continues
this class-leading fuel economy momentum.

Explorer fuel efficiency also benefits from a smooth vehicle shape and careful aerodynamic
detailing like optimization of the front air dam and rear liftgate spoiler lip and lightweight
components such as an aluminum hood.

In the first six months of 2011, Explorer sales totaled 65,823 vehicles. This figure exceeds the
full-year 2010 total of 60,687 Explorers. More than half of early buyers of the redesigned 2011
Explorer cited fuel efficiency as a primary motivation in their purchase decision. Moreover, the
majority of customers are choosing better-equipped XLT and Limited series models.

The 2012 Explorer is assembled at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 159 Comments
      Drakkon
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm all for stuff like this, but then again, I second the comment below: small Diesel! It's time America. Especially if they can ramp up making Diesel substitute out of algae. Anyway, I still can't figure out why Ford needs a wagon-crossover Flex, a crossover-crossover Edge and a supposedly not-a-crossover front wheel drive Explorer. Three products doing the job of one or two.
        nardvark
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Drakkon
        I'm pretty sure the days of the Flex are numbered. It never sold as well as they hoped, despite the fact that everyone I know who has one absolutely loves the thing.
      xder345
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't get it. My 2005 Freestyle (which is using the same chassis as the new Explorer, Flex, etc). with AWD and the 3.0 V6 gets 21-22 mpg in the city and 25-26 on the highway. I took it to Pittsburgh from the Raleigh, NC area a couple of weeks ago, with 6 people loaded and their luggage for 3 days, and I averaged 23mpg. I took the route over the mountains with substantial areas of 6 to 10% grades which kill mileage. Running speeds of over 85 most of the way. Seems to me that the EcoBoost 2.0 could do better.
        mylz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @xder345
        i thin it would do worse,. that engine is going to be working a lot harder than a V6, the 4banger is great for house wife or old fart that just goes around town. Other than that peole are stupid if they expect to get good mpgs when you load that sucker up and turn on the AC
          oRenj9
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mylz
          Stop being a putz. You obviously have no clue and are just spouting your worthless opinion shitting up this thread. Fact is, the turbo version of this car gets better gas mileage and makes more torque. You can sit there and try to pretend that those facts aren't true because of this or that, but they are the truth. The turbo engine is flat out better in this application. I know this makes you all but hurt, but...Get. The. ****. Over. It.
      SheldonRoss
      • 3 Years Ago
      Disappointed in the no AWD and lowered towing capacity. Why does the Ecoboost in the F150 get great tow ratings, but somehow the 2.0 can't tow 5000? Maybe the transmission behind it is different? Makes no sense to me.
        The_Zachalope
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SheldonRoss
        They're two different engines. The EcoBoost in the F-150 is a Twin Turbo V6, not a single turbo Inline 4.
        XT6Wagon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SheldonRoss
        Its the FWD transmission I'm 75% sure of being the cause here. It seems that Ford has to use the AWD transmissions to pull off some of the torque to the rear wheels. So towing heavier than 2K lbs would overstress something. The only other thing I can think of is thermal issues from constant high HP output while towing heavy. Whats fine for a 1/4 mile drag race isn't fine for a 10+ mile slog up a steep hill towing heavy. Ford has to design around the hill, not the racetrack.
      Big V
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ok, so you drive 18k a year save about $40 a month over the V6? Really? Is this what the hoopla is all about? I guess a buck is a buck, but this is a marginal savings at best and depending on how you drive in the real world you may not see it, the Explorer is still a but piece of sheet metal. But get this, they will charge you an EXTRA $1000 ($995 PREMIUM) for all these savings. I'm not impressed and I am usually easily impressed.
      • 3 Years Ago
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      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      No thanks. I'm not going to pay more money for a less powerful engine option that isn't available with AWD and can barely out-tow most sedans. I'd be better off with a mini-van at that point. I mean, the Honda Odyssey is FWD like this Explorer, has similar power, similar fuel economy; but yet can tow up to 3,500lbs and, with sliding doors, is significantly more practical for family use.
        P
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        You sir are a fool. This is the Explorer for people who can do basic math. You know what $995 amounts to when added to your financing? Practically nothing. You know what around 15% savings is at the gas pump at $5 a gallon nation-wide (next spring)? a LOT. And do you know how many people need to tow? A fraction of buyers. They can get V6's still. With more torque and livable fuel efficiency, this will be a very entertaining, capable vehicle.
          Shiba
          • 3 Years Ago
          @P
          I think that's why they wouldn't bring the normal Grand C-Max over. It would be too much in competition with this version of the Explorer. Both being FWD 7-seaters. Wouldn't surprise me if the Grand C-Max got better fuel economy too.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @P
          [blocked]
        arumage
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        If vehicles were all about practicality, sports cars wouldn't exist. The Ecoboost Explorer looks much better (IMHO) than the Odyssey, weighs less, and has much more usable torque at a lower rpm. Sure, it tows less, but I'd say that only is a factor for maybe 5% of Explorer buys.
      mylz
      • 3 Years Ago
      so lets see how that 4bangers works when its got 5 people in it, bags, and the AC on... FAIL. i know engines have come a long way but come on, i cannot believe how stupid people can be. The 4banger is going to be working its butt off and not get those mpgs. I would bet any money on it
        oRenj9
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mylz
        You must have never been in a modern car with a low-lag turbo setup. The Ecoboost with an automatic will be making boost off the line and have a flat torque curve from 1800-5000 rpms. Did you read where the V6 makes LESS torque? You will literally have to rev up ot 5,500 RPMs to make more torque in the 6 than with the turbo.
        nardvark
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mylz
        The Ecoboost engines have been lauded for their utter lack of turbo-lag. You really don't know what you're talking about.
        Darnell Robeson
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mylz
        I think thats why it has 2 turbos and 270 lb ft...it should be effortless
          mylz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Darnell Robeson
          its called turbo lag... the typical american idiot will buy it though. i have been in a turbo, stay in the turbo and good bye mpgs. common sense idiots... its sad that people do not know their stuff. i am right and the people who are putting minus on my statment are either ford lovers or are dumb. but hey its american look who is our president
      fastalan
      • 3 Years Ago
      A turbo diesel would work better for SUV of this size.
      Ducman69
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you're buying a Ford Explorer with a 2.0 liter Ecotec under the hood, you really need to ask yourself if you NEED a Ford Explorer in the first place. If you don't need a big heavy truck chassis, then don't get one. Buy a lighter crossover that is biased for onroad cruising that will do much better. Better yet, make it a wagon, and you'll get much better highway fuel economy thanks to simple aerodynamics.
        TORO Rojo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        Ford Explorer is based on Taurus chasis. It is higher off the ground, as you noted, which reflects SUV look, but this is no truck and has very little ability to go off road.
        JaredN
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        It's not a heavy truck chassis any more. The previous Explorer was body-on-frame. The current Explorer is a crossover, with monocoque construction like most other crossovers. And show me crossovers of similar size that gets better highway fuel economy.
      Matt Frawley
      • 3 Years Ago
      People have buys 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee or Dodge Durango are part traditional SUV with RWD/AWD will bet to 2012 Ford Explorer are crossover FWD/AWD . I love old Ford Explorer are traditional SUV RWD/AWD. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matt Frawley
        [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Mike
          • 3 Years Ago
          for some people, english may be their second/third language
          donnieorama
          • 3 Years Ago
          It's English. Just a bit jumbled up.
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Mike
          • 3 Years Ago
          touche
      swarmofkillermonkeys
      • 3 Years Ago
      " Is the EcoBoost's improved fuel economy worth the cost premium and diminished tow rating?" No. I keep trying to get excited about the new Explorer, but it just doesn't add up. Even based on my 2 hour / day commute, this saves me almost $4,000 over the next 5 years at $5.25/gal gas (on average) -- or a whopping $60 per month. For front-wheel drive only. For something that tows _significantly less_ than a Subaru Forester with a 4 cylinder! I'm not saying that is a better vehicle over all (about 80 ft^3 cargo is perfect), but I am not buying a pickup or SUV without 4WD or AWD. I'm guessing it is slower than the V6 too, just to keep up with the "eco" image. Yeesh.
        NightFlight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @swarmofkillermonkeys
        The Forester tows 2,400 pounds. Since when is 400 pounds in the tow weight world significant? It isn't. The Forester also has a garbage interior and a terrible base motor, and an outrageously outdated 4 speed automatic with both engine options.
      MPC Motorsports
      • 3 Years Ago
      Most efficient seven passenger SUV? Bull! The 2012 Kia Sorento with the GDI 2.4 liter four banger is rated at 22-32MPG in FWD guise and 21-27 in AWD. The 3.5 V6 is rated at 20-26MPG and both are available with 7 passenger seating. The Kia only has 1650-3500lbs towing capacity depending on engine selection but how many folks tow with these things anyway. My 2011 Sorento SX with the V6 gets 27+mpg at 75mph on the highway and 21-22mpg in town. The 2.0 Ecoboost would do much better in a vehicle that weighs 1000-1500 lbs less than the Exploder. The Kia with the V6 has a curb weight under 4,000 which no doubts helps the fuel economy. Sorry Ford, I think I'll keep my Kia.
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