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.
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.