Taking a page from its Taurus playbook, Ford is launching a completely reinvented version of an old favourite with the debut of the new 2011 Explorer today.
Called the “vehicle that defined a segment,” Ford says it has completely “reinvented” the once popular SUV that would raise “customers’ expectations of sport utility vehicle (SUV) fuel efficiency, safety, technology, capability and quality.”
Launching in Canada and U.S. today to its Facebook friends through a social media campaign – to be followed by reveal events across the country – the Explorer nameplate was a huge winner for Ford throughout the 1990s as a mid-sized replacement to the Ford Bronco.
The SUV had four generations and was a major sales volume winner for the Blue Oval until a tire controversy set sales sputtering in the early 2000s.
Today’s model is the fifth generation of the vehicle that includes a bevy of technology features including:
- MyFord Touch
- Roll Stability Control
- Class-leading array of airbags including industry-first inflatable rear seat belts
“The all-new Explorer will deliver today’s SUV buyers the attributes they really want and value, and a few they might not even have dreamed of,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas.
“We’re proud to introduce the new Explorer to customers and fans around the world today and pleased to begin a whole new era that blends strong SUV fuel economy and performance.”
Explorer’s standard powertrain combines front-wheel drive with a 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine, delivering an estimated 290 horsepower and 255 lb.-ft. of torque.
Ti-VCT allows individually optimized camshaft timing of valve opening and closing events to improve mechanical efficiency while delivering increased power and reducing part-throttle emissions.
Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, this powerful, flexible and efficient V6 is projected to deliver more than 20 percent better fuel economy versus the previous Explorer V6 model.
Ford says weight reduction was a key element in improving Explorer fuel efficiency.
The automaker says engineers were able to reduce total vehicle weight by almost 100 pounds through the use of lighter materials such as an aluminum hood.
There is an available advanced 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 delivers the power of a normally aspirated V6 without compromising four-cylinder fuel economy.
Aimed at the SUV buyer whose top priority is fuel economy, this turbocharged and intercooled I-4 engine delivers a projected 237 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 250 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,700 through 4,000 rpm. The EcoBoost employs direct injection of gasoline, Ti-VCT, direct-acting mechanical bucket (DAMB) valve lifters and four valves per cylinder.