The new Explorer may not be a fully body on frame SUV, but that doesn’t mean it’s not like any other Explorer. New technology, engines,and features allow the Explorer to do what the last few generations could and couldn’t do.
For 2011, the Explorer is redesigned inside and out. Not only is it a new design, but it’s also an all new design direction for Ford SUV’s and CUV’s. The front end takes cues from the last Edge and expands it into a smoother, and somewhat sleeker look. The rear end is simply smooth and sleek. The taillights flow with the body and the dual exhausts really add to the sporty feel you get with the Explorer.The metal finished nameplate centerpiece above the license plate area flows into the lights, it doesn’t look like it was pasted on as an after thought.
The side of the Explorer speaks SUV, but look at it from the front or rear, you feel like the Explorer is a sporty vehicle. Now the inside is a whole different story.
On the inside, you’ll find that the interior is well designed. The center console buttons aren’t busy and are far enough apart where you won’t hit all the buttons at the same time. Which I believe is a problem with the Chevrolet Traverse.
Besides buttons, the interior is laid out very well. Softer materials are used and add a sense of quality to the inside of the Explorer.Even the mirror adjustment buttons are placed nicely and into the door,and not a knob sticking out. Although I feel the buttons on the steering wheel can become a bit confusing for some, but this is an issue on all Ford vehicles (except F Series trucks), as I had trouble trying the functional wheel on the 2011 Fiesta. The layout is the same and the buttons aren’t labeled and are the same look on each side of the wheel.
There is plenty of space in the Explorer. Seating for up to 7 and even power folding third row seats at the touch of a button. Behind the 3rd row, there is 21 cubic feet of space, when the second and third row seats are folded, there is 80.7 cubic feet of space. That’s a good amount of space and best of all, the seats fold flat.
The Explorer comes with two engines. First is the 3.5L V6 engine which produces 290hp and 255 ft lbs of torque. While getting 25mpg highway, and 18mpg city.
For the 2012 model,which is now available, the new 2.0L EcoBoost four cylinder has been added to the Explorer. It produces 237hp and 254 ft lbs of torque. Best of all, it gets 28mpg highway and 20mpg city.
Technology is not really the Explorer’s strong part. It’s not the engine, or the wicked AWD system, it’s the infotainment system.
Ford has a new system called MyTouch. It has SYNC,traffic,navigation,and other goodies all packed into one system. It is actually very difficult to use, especially since a Ford salesman couldn’t even explain well to two guys trying it out at an auto show.
It’s a good feature, but it needs to be simplified. MyTouch is basically all the stuff in a navigation system, plus phone,plus music, and traffic,weather,etc. all packed into one system. Another good technology bit is the AWD Terrain Select system. It is a dial that allows you to choose from different road conditions. This system is the same one found in Land Rover vehicles as well. It works very well,and gives the Explorer the ability to go to more places.
If you want a long lasting SUV, the Explorer may not be where to go. A good example is the last version. I have been driving one with 130,000 miles on it and it has been having a lot of problems. Now 130k miles is a load of miles right? But there are other issues, such as gas mileage isn’t what it really says. This Explorer should be getting 20mpg on the highway, instead it’s topping at 18mpg highway, and that’s on cruise control going 70mph.
Now quality in Fords has improved, and so far, the Explorer has gotten awesome reviews. The Explorer is really something to check out if you have a larger family, do a lot of camping, sports, or hauling.
The Explorer has the lowest price tag. With a starting price of $28,995, it undercuts the Dodge Durango and Chevrolet Traverse by a few hundred dollars. It also gets the best fuel economy between the Traverse and Durango.
The Explorer is great. It has a rich history and has been a family hauler for quite some time, and it shows no signs of every slowing down. The Explorer has once again caught the eye of auto journalists and customers with it’s looks, features, and value.
You’ll like the Explorer if you are looking for an efficient but powerful SUV with 7 passenger seating, towing capability,and loads of entertainment.
You won’t like the Explorer if you are looking for V8 power, serious off road capability,and top notch infotainment systems.