What you absolutely need to know (first) about the 2011 Ford Explorer:
1. This is a unibody, front wheel drive vehicle that can use a 4-wheel drive (4WD) system that has no, traditional locking differential.
2. No V8 will be offered. In fact, you CAN get a 4-cylinder! The only engine you can get if you want 4WD is the V6.
3. Towing capability goes from 2,000 to a maximum of 5,000 lbs.
4. There will be a 6-speed offered in all variants and 4-wheel disc brakes on every model.
5. Seating will be for 6 or 7 people – 8 if you drive like that idiot Brittany Spears with a baby on your lap.
Click HERE to watch an exclusive video preview of the 2011 Ford Explorer.
Yup, F – W – D people! AND ‘YES’ no more body on frame! No more V8! No more transfer case! No more crap mileage! No more dump-truck handling! No more old school folks!
So, I’ll pause while traditional (read: archaic) Explorer fans finish their tirade…
Okay, so you panicked when you saw this, thinking it had a 4-banger right? Ah, well it’s a freakin’ 237 horsepower, turbocharged 4-cylinder that can tug on the ground with 250 lbs of torque from 1,500 rpm all the way up to 4,000 rpm.
Yes indeed, an EcoBoost (single) turbocharged 2.0 liter, all aluminum engine powers the front wheels. Ford is mum about why this engine has no 4WD hook-up (it might be the configuration). Either way, the EcoBoost is a hell of a good start.
There is a new 3.5 liter V6 that cranks out 290 horsepower and sends 255 lbs of torque to the ground at 4,000 rpm. Unlike the direct injection EcoBoost, this V6 is a multiport fuel injection unit and the whole enchilada is made of aluminum.
I’m guessing that the 4-mode 4WD system that Ford is using is similar to some of the units found in Land Rover products and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee in terms of functionality. It is a rotary knob located aft of the gear select with: mud, snow, sand and normal drive settings. A hill descent control button is situated in the middle of this rotary knob.
The entire system will work like an all wheel drive system that can change the gear’s algorithm based on software that tells it to minimize power to the wheels given the surface selected. Add to that a smart traction control and you have 4WD that should be useful for about 75% of Americans who buy 4WD vehicles.
As for the interior, all kidding aside, it’s fantastic.
Seats feel cozy, headroom can even accommodate a giraffe like Roman Mica and there is 80.7 cubic feet of cargo room with the back two rows folded down. The third row is small-ish like the Ford Flex (I think they are more than kissing cousins), but second row room is top notch. Nearly all of the instrumentation is über modern, sporting digital enhancements throughout.
Some might ask, “Are they still makin’ that bee-zar-lookin’ Explorer Sport Track?”
No, thank god.
Nobody likes that thing and if you own one, nobody respects you and your friends make fun of you behind your back. Sorry – but that’s the hard truth. Seriously.
Price? No announcements yet – but we’ll throw in that information when it comes our way. I’m guessing it will base at around $24,000 give or take a grand.
Others may ask, “Is it still an Explorer?” I honestly do not know. I know that the only carryover was the name. When I get my greedy hands on one, the first thing I intend on doing is trying some off road excursions to test Ford’s new gizmos. So, it’s wait and see for me.
One thing’s for sure – it’s mighty good looking.
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