> JLA wrote:
> New article about the 2011 Ford Explorer from MA
> The Ford Explorer has had a mixed past--rollover lawsuits,
relatively ancient underpinnings and styling that hasn't always kept
up with the pace of the industry. But that's all about to change with
the 2011 Explorer, and despite its move to the unibody Taurus
platform, it's upping the ante in off-roading with a new terrain
management system borrowed from Land Rover.
> In development for more than two and half years, the new Explorer
will be just as tough as past generations despite the move to a
car-based platform and the adoption of new four-cylinder EcoBoost
powertrains. That’s the promise from the vehicle’s chief engineer Jim
Holland, whose previously worked on the redesign of the Range Rover
SUV back in 2002.
> This latest teaser reveals a familial Flex-like front end and a
pumped-out Blue Oval three-bar grille but most of the details are
still covered. However, these previous spy shots of a prototype show
the design almost completely revealed.
> The 2011 Ford Explorer will go on sale in the second half of the
> Despite the enticing performance and high-tech safety gear, there's
still a lot of confusion around Ford's current lineup of crossovers
and SUVs. With the Flex and Edge seeming filling out the space
nicely, the tweener position of the Explorer makes for a tight fit.
Balancing price, features and target market will make for a high-wire
act at Ford, but given their recent ascension to the top of the
American sales ranks, it's hard to argue with their planning--for
now, at least.
> Pictures below
MAJOR SUV FUEL ECONOMY GAINS, TECHNOLOGY,
STYLE HIGHLIGHT REINVENTION OF FORD EXPLORER
• Ford reinvents the Explorer SUV with best-in-class fuel economy,
improved driving dynamics and terrain management system – all wrapped
in a modern, weight-saving design
• Explorer raises the bar on safety with a class-leading array of
airbags including industry-first inflatable rear seat belts, Trinity
front impact structure, AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability
Control™) and Curve Control functionality
• Explorer features MyFord Touch™ driver connect technology and SYNC®
integrated communications and entertainment system to help keep a
driver's eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Explorer offers
more technology than in-class competitors, rivaling content found in
DEARBORN, Mich., July 26, 2010 – Ford Explorer – the vehicle that
defined a segment – has been completely reinvented, raising
customers' expectations of sport utility vehicle (SUV) fuel
efficiency, safety, technology, capability and quality.
"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
The all-new Explorer launches today to its Facebook friends in a
unique social media initiative, followed by reveal events throughout
the U.S. and Canada.
Shattering SUV fuel economy and performance expectations
"The new Explorer simply does everything well," said Derrick
Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "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 2011 Explorer with V6 power is expected to deliver more than 20
percent better fuel economy than the 2010 model, shattering
conventional expectations for SUV fuel efficiency. When equipped with
the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ I-4 engine, Explorer fuel economy is
expected to improve by more than 30 percent and exceed the 2010 Honda
Pilot and 2010 Toyota Highlander V6.
Chief Nameplate Engineer Jim Holland said the team targeted two key
objectives when developing the 2011 Ford Explorer.
"It had to look modern and contemporary – inside and out – yet be
instantly recognizable as an Explorer," said Holland. "Next,
the new Explorer needed to deliver the fuel economy today's customers
want, combined with the performance, capability and empowerment they
expect from an SUV."
Driven by the commitment to give customers unsurpassed fuel efficiency
with each new vehicle, Ford attacked every detail to transform
Explorer with significantly improved fuel economy:
• Twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT)
• Latest Ford EcoBoost engine
• Six-speed automatic transmissions
• Electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) to significantly reduce
parasitic power loss
• Intelligent four-wheel drive (4WD)
• Variable-displacement air-conditioning compressor
• Optimized tires for reduced rolling resistance
• Slippery aerodynamics with harmonized front air dam and rear
Weight reduction is a key element in improving Explorer fuel
efficiency. While adding significant content to the vehicle,
engineers were able to reduce total vehicle weight by almost 100
pounds through the use of lighter materials such as an aluminum hood.
Explorer weight loss is even more impressive, as the latest versions
of Honda Pilot and Toyota 4Runner have added pounds versus previous
Explorer's 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.
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
Explorer's variable-displacement air-conditioning compressor provides
a fuel economy benefit with less drag and smoother transition for
Each Explorer engine is paired with a unique six-speed automatic
transmission, combining lowered initial gears for improved
off-the-line acceleration and higher gearing for improved efficiency
at lower engine rpm when cruising.
Explorer V6 models are available with an intelligent 4WD system that
adds terrain management. Situation-selectable, this powertrain
advancement takes the guesswork out of 4WD range choice.
A driver need only turn the console-mounted knob to the proper setting
among snow, sand, mud and normal modes. This system also includes a
hill descent mode.
Simpler and more convenient for SUV veterans, the system will be a
confidence-builder for drivers new to the segment.
Contemporary design with segment-leading craftsmanship and quietness
In addition to its clean, modern design inside and out, Explorer aims
to please SUV shoppers with a thoughtful, flexible interior package
that abounds with clever storage capacity. The new SUV features more
head and shoulder room, three rows of flexible seating, and room for
everything families want to take along on their adventures.
The Explorer design – inside and out – is executed with world-class
craftsmanship. Tight margin gaps are just one indication of the
immense attention to detail applied to craftsmanship across the
spectrum, from design to engineering to manufacturing.
The Chicago facility where Explorer will be produced raised the bar on
initial quality measures with the recent Taurus launch, which is good
news for customers.
"Crafting a high-quality vehicle is like preparing a gourmet
meal," said Peter Bejin, craftsmanship supervisor. "You
start with high-quality ingredients, execute your recipe with
flawless preparation and finally, present it with flair and
Quietness – another profound advancement in the all-new 2011 Ford
Explorer – also will signal quality to customers.
The team enhanced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control for the
all-new Explorer using an advanced technology called NoiseVision. A
ball with hundreds of tiny cameras and microphones, NoiseVision
allows engineers to pinpoint and address potential noise issues
earlier in the development process.
Explorer is expected to be superior to in-segment competitors and
rival premium SUVs in quietness and NVH control.
Explorer safety – strength, technology and innovation
The all-new Explorer targets top safety ratings with a stiff unibody
structure and a class-leading suite of active and passive safety
features and technologies, plus another Ford safety innovation – the
world's first second-row inflatable rear belts.
Rear seat passengers – often children or mature passengers – can be
more vulnerable to head, chest and neck injuries. Ford's unique
inflatable rear belts spread impact forces across more than five
times the area than conventional seat belts, reducing pressure on the
chest while helping to control head and neck motion. Belt comfort
should also help increase usage rates. Studies show inflatable belts
to be more comfortable for passengers due to padding.
From the boron front bumper beam through the hydroformed front frame
rails and high-strength steel side-impact tubes, Explorer's rigid
body structure is designed to provide robust protection for
occupants. In the instance of a crash, these elements come together
to protect Explorer driver and passengers inside a safety cage of
Standard Explorer safety features include:
• AdvanceTrac with RSC features Curve Control functionality to provide
braking – optimized by each individual wheel
• Second-generation first-row airbags, side seat airbags
• Belt-Minder® for driver and first-row passenger
• Front passenger sensing system
• Energy-management system pretensioning for height-adjustable
first-row seat belts
• 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
• Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Available Explorer safety features include:
• Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support
• BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert
Stretching the breadth of capability
The 2011 Ford Explorer redefines customer expectations for driving
dynamics and comfort – on any road, anytime, anywhere – while
stretching the breadth of SUV capability. Transforming Explorer's
driving quality was central to creating an SUV for 21st century
"Our objectives for Explorer dynamics were threefold," said
Carl Widmann, vehicle engineering manager. "The first element
was to greatly increase on-road comfort, capability and driving
dynamics. The second was to maintain the 'any road, anytime,
anywhere' capability of the previous model. Finally, we aimed to
apply technology to the task of safely towing, as V6 Explorer models
are rated up to 5,000 pounds. We think customers will be pleased with
next-generation Explorer on all three counts."
The theme of the all-new Explorer dynamics development was balance.
The team sought to provide an engaging driver experience in harmony
with the extended breadth of 4WD capability to build driver
The shift to a unibody construction platform enabled a reduction in
road noise and significantly decreased Explorer body roll in dynamic
cornering situations. Independent front suspension is of the short-
and long-arm configuration with a 32-millimeter front stabilizer bar.
Independent rear suspension is the SR1 configuration, so-named for its
one-to-one shock absorber ratio, which enables precise ride control.
Explorer's EPAS system allows for variable rates of assistance based
on speed, turn-in and direction. In addition to optimized steering
feel, tight on-centering and appropriate resistance, EPAS provides a
fuel economy benefit in comparison to traditional hydraulic power
assist systems. EPAS also enables a competitive turning radius for
optimum maneuverability in parking situations, combined with
increased assistance at low speeds for parking ease.
EPAS allows for the addition of Curve Control, a new feature that
senses when a driver enters a turn too quickly and applies brake
pressure to stabilize the vehicle.
In addition, EPAS enables the optional active park assist technology.
When activated, the system scans for a suitable spot, calculates the
trajectory, and steers the vehicle. The driver continues to control
brake and throttle inputs, but the system steers the vehicle
throughout the parking maneuver.
Off-roading standout on a variety of surfaces
The key to Explorer 4WD capability is Ford's new terrain management
Replacing the traditional SUV transfer case configuration, the new
system takes the guesswork out of maximizing 4WD and the capabilities
it enables. Rather than employment of four-high, four-low and auto
settings, Explorer terrain management is selectable by situation. The
four settings – available by shift-on-the-fly – include normal, mud,
sand and snow.
Each setting provides unique engine behavior, throttle tip-in,
transmission shift scheduling and calibrations for traction and
stability control systems. Terrain management also includes Hill
Descent Control™, which provides engine braking to increase driver
confidence and control when descending a steep incline.
Explorer models with V6 power are rated to tow a maximum of 5,000
pounds. To aid with hookup – especially when alone – a reverse camera
with zoom-in functionality is available, allowing a driver to back up
to the trailer on-center. The Explorer towing package includes
trailer sway control – a stability package shared with the Ford F-150
pickup – to help minimize trailer sway. Trailer brake controller
wiring is also included, as is a tow/haul mode. Engaging tow/haul
mode increases engine braking to help slow the vehicle and trailer
when descending steep grades.
Loaded with features, convenience and connectivity
The all-new 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:
• MyFord driver 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
Explorer XLT includes standard content and adds:
• Automatic headlamps
• Six-speed SelectShift Automatic™
• Heated sideview mirrors with LED signal indicators and security
• SecuriCode™ keyless 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 Touch driver connect technology
• Intelligent Access with push-button start
• Universal garage door opener
"We spent our time listening to customers and addressing their
needs to launch an SUV that reinvigorates the Explorer nameplate and
delivers on Ford's promise of high-quality, fuel-efficient and
technologically advanced vehicles with industry-leading safety,"
said Holland. "The all-new Explorer will change market
perceptions about SUV style, fuel efficiency, technology and
The 2011 Explorer will be assembled at Ford's Chicago manufacturing
facility. Production begins late this year, and Explorer will be
available in dealerships this winter.
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