2011 Ford Explorer: New In Every Way Except The Name

26 Jul 2010 | 3,082 views | No Comment
The action for 2011 is--surprisingly--going to be pretty hot and heavy in the sport utility/crossover market. And one of the products that promises to be right in the thick of things is--again, not surprisingly--Ford’s all-new 2011 Explorer, which has been redesigned from stem to stern to face an ever more competitive market. It will join Jeep’s all new 2011 Grand Cherokee and we believe at least four or five other brands in the SUV/crossover market. Already this year, we have seen an all new 2011 Infiniti QX56, and there are rumors we may see an all-new Dodge Durango soon, too. Volkswagen’s got the new 2011 Touareg, too. But for now, the spotlight deservedly falls on the all-new Explorer, built for the first time on a unitized body platform coming from the Ford Taurus rather than a truck platform. That makes the new Explorer a crossover, but we think most buyers will still regard it as an SUV. The first thing you will notice are the looks. It’s a completely 21st century-themed design compared with the clearly 20th century looking model it succeeds. At first glance, we’re beginning to think of the new Explorer as a Taurus crossover because it shares so many styling cues with what is one of Ford’s prettiest cars. Explorer has the bold Ford family grille, the huge road wheels, and the overall sense of substance that makes the Taurus such an arresting looking car on the road. Ford says that the new Explorer, which goes on sale this winter, will be chock full of big improvements over the old model. For starters, it will have what the company is describing as “class leading fuel economy--with an improvement of more than 30 percent versus the current Explorer”--along with perks like inflatable rear seat belts, and Curve Control, both all-new safety innovations, along with technology innovations like MyFord Touch. Powerplants for the new Explorer include a 2.0 liter turbocharged, intercooled 237 horsepower “EcoBoost” I-4, the power plant that Ford says brings the 30 percent fuel improvement, and a 290 horsepower 3.5 literV-6 that gets over 20 percent better gar mileage than the comparable 2010 Explorer. The fuel improvements, Ford claims, allows the Explorer to have gas mileage that is better than the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander V-6. Actual mileage figures are not yet available. Ford released a long list of improvements that allowed them to get the big jumps in fuel economy. They include twin independent variable camshaft timing, electric power steering, variable displacement air conditioning compressing, a six speed automatic, and tires that are optimized for reduced rolling resistance. Better aerodynamics with “harmonized front air dam and rear liftgate spoiler” also contributed to the savings. Weight reduction also helped, with a reduction of almost 100 pounds by using lighter materials like an aluminum hood. Safety was a big factor, too in redesigning the new Explorer. The feature likely to gain a lot of intention is Advance Trac with Curve Control that a new feature that senses when a driver enters a turn too quickly and applies brake pressure to stabilize the vehicle. Other safety features include Belt-Minder for driver and first-row passenger, front passenger sensing system, energy-management system pretensioning for height-adjustable first-row seat belt, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system for outboard second-row positions, for safely securing child safety seats, SOS Post-Crash Alert System, Safety Canopy, side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system. You can also order adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support and BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert. Consumers will find an awful lot of features on the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer, given its likely price range. The Explorer is available in three trim series levels – base, XLT and Limited. Each offering presents a robust array of standard features, with a class-leading selection of additional convenience and connectivity options so a buyer can tailor a new Explorer to his or her individual needs and desires. Standard convenience features include: MyForddriver connect technology including 4.2-inch LCD screen MyKey owner control feature Air filtration system Media hub Easy Fuel capless fuel filler system Cruise control Power windows, with one-touch down for driver Power door locks with child safety rear door locks Tilt/telescoping steering column Four 12-volt power points Cargo hooks The Explorer XLT includes standard content and adds: Automatic headlamps Six-speed SelectShift Automatic. Heated sideview mirrors with LED signal indicators and security approach lamps SecuriCodekeyless entry keypad Reverse sensing system Perimeter alarm Explorer Limited includes all base and XLT content, plus: PowerFold®sideview mirrors with driver’s side memory Ambient lighting Adjustable pedals with memory functionality Cargo net Dual-zone electronic temperature control 10-way power driver’s seat, with power recline and lumbar Electrochromic interior mirror Rear view camera Remote start system 110-volt outlet MyFord Touchdriver connect technology Intelligent Access with push-button start Universal garage door opener Ford also is emphasizing the economic impact that the 2011 Ford Explorer will have on the country’s economy in various locations. The company says the new Explorer will bring over 600 new supplier jobs, along with 1,200 Ford jobs being added. At the Chicago assembly Plant where it will be built, ford already has invested $400 million in the plant. Meanwhile, suppliers providing parts for the new Explorer are spending money on new facilities and adding shifts, hiring over 600 jobs in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Each automotive job is estimated to generate an additional 10 indirect jobs, according to the Center for Automotive Research data. That means Explorer could help create up to 12,000 new jobs overall. We expect to have a lot to say in weeks to come about the interior and other aspects of the Explorer, so stay tuned.

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