Ford’s new Explorer SUV is a big departure from the previous model.
Gone is the V8 engine option, replaced by either a 3.5-litre V6 or 2.0-litre Ecoboost four-cylinder. And under the plastic body cladding sits a car-based platform.
The 3.5-litre Ti-VCT V6 will put out 290hp and 345 Nm of torque, which “is projected to deliver more than 20% better fuel economy versus the previous Explorer V6 model.”
The 2.0-litre features 237hp and 339 Nm of torque.
Front-wheel drive is standard and an intelligent 4WD system is optional, featuring terrain management (with four modes: snow, sand, mud and normal) and hill descent control.
The 2011 Explorer is 45kg lighter than the outgoing model, thanks to the use of “lighter materials such as an aluminum hood.”
In terms of safety, the Explorer features inflatable seatbelts, Curve Control, side curtain airbags, and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Customers can also order adaptive cruise control (with collision warning and brake support), BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert, and active park assist.
Three different trim levels will be offered: base, XLT and Limited. The base model has a 4.2-inch LCD screen, cruise control, power windows / locks, and a tilt / telescoping steering column. The XLT adds automatic headlamps, heated sideview mirrors (with integrated LED turn signals), a reverse sensing system, and a perimeter alarm. The range topping Limit boasts ambient lighting, adjustable pedals, dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, remote start, and a push button ignition.
According to Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development, “The new Explorer simply does everything well. It raises the bar for ride and handling on the road and transforms the off-road experience. It’s the hands-down winner for towing capability and ease. All this capability – and three rows of seating – with amazing fuel economy will make Explorer the absolute right choice for families with a sense of adventure.”
The new Explorer is expected to go on sale later this year.