After weeks of Ford’s infuriating teasers regarding the all-new Explorer, the SUV will start from $28,995 – $1,000 less than the outgoing model. The new Explorer marks a major departure from the outgoing model as the 7 seater model by switching from a BOF (body-on-frame) to a uni-body structure with independent front and rear suspension – shared with the Ford Taurus sedan and Flex. Ford said despite adding more features on the all-new Explorer, engineers were able to reduce gross vehicle weight by around 45kg (100lbs) through the use of lighter materials such as an aluminium bonnet.
Out goes the previous V8 petrol engine for a new base 3.5 litre Ti-VCT V6 engine that produces 290bhp (294PS) and 345Nm (255lb-ft) of torque. This means the 2011 Explorer is 20% more fuel efficient. However, with the towing package, the V6 can haul up to 2,268kg (5,000lbs).
Optional is the all-new 2.0 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine, producing 237bhp (240PS) and 339Nm (250lb-ft) of torque from 1,700 rpm. Front wheel drive is standard on all models, but only the AWD is available on the 3.5 litre Ti-VCT engine. Both engines are linked to a 6 speed automatic transmission. Expected is a 355bhp, 3.5 litre turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine that will be added to the range in the future.
The AWD features a Land Rover-esque Terrain Response. This terrain management system has four settings (normal, mud, sand and snow) and is controlled via a console-mounted knob. This also features hill-descent control. Bi-xenon headlamps will be standard on plusher grades, while Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support and BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert will be optional.
The entry-level Explorer, called Base will come standard with a 4.2” LCD touch-screen w/ MyFord driver connect, MyKey, air-conditioning w/ air filtration system, Easy Fuel capless fuel filler system, cruise control, tyre perssure monitoring system, x6 airbags, electric power steering, front & rear electric windows w/one touch auto down for driver, remote-control locking w/safety rear door locks, tilt & telescopic steering wheel, x4 12v power points and cargo hooks.
Mid-spec XLT adds rain & dusk sensors, 6 speed SelectShift automatic transmission, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors w/LED indicators and puddle lamps, SecuriCode™ keyless entry keypad, rear parking sensors and anti-theft alarm.
Flagship Limited includes XLT specification and electric folding door mirrors w/driver’s memory, ambient lighting, electrically adjustable pedals w/memory, cargo net, climate control, 10 way electrically adjustable fronts seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, reversing camera, remote start system, 110v power outlet, keyless entry & start and Universal garage door opener.
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."
Look for the 2011 Explorer to arrive at dealerships in Winter, just in time for the snow.