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2011 Ford Explorer Heads to the Top of the Class in Fuel Economy

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On: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 10:58AM | By: Chris Weiss

2011 Ford Explorer Heads to the Top of the Class in Fuel Economy

Ford announced today that the upcoming 2011 Explorer will be the leader in fuel efficiency for the midsize SUV class. When equipped with Ford's 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, the new Explorer will deliver a 30 percent increase in fuel economy over the outgoing V6-equipped model, offering up to 26 mpg. The Explorer is set for a debut on Facebook within the next week and will make its physical debut in New York City on July 26.

The EcoBoost engine that will deliver the Explorer's class-topping numbers is a 2.0-liter V4 that features both direct injection and turbocharging. In addition to the EcoBoost engine option, Ford uses a variety of technologies including electric power-assisted steering, battery management, fast engine warm-up, and a variable-displacement air conditioning compressor to increase fuel efficiency while enhancing drivability. Also helping, Ford has moved away from the truck-based, body-on-frame construction of past Explorers and toward car-based, unitized construction, which will cut weight over older models. The new Explorer is based on the same platform as the Taurus. Lightweight materials like boron and aluminum deliver further weight savings.

According to Ford, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost will deliver V6-level power while enjoying class-leading efficiency (EPA certification still pending). No specific output numbers have been given yet.

In light of a market that constantly craves smaller, more efficient vehicles over capable but gas-guzzling behemoths, Ford has refocused the Explorer on providing enough towing and off-road capability for the average driver, but in a trimmer, lighter, more eco-friendly package. In a teaser and public relations campaign, Ford has been careful to stress the Explorer's continued off-road readiness, showing the SUV in rugged, wilderness settings, while outlining its more modern, streamlined design.

Sticking with this message, Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas, said in today's press release: "The all-new Explorer will give a huge universe of existing and prospective customers the capability they expect and the luxury and convenience they want, all combined with the fuel economy they need."

The new Explorer will also get enhanced aerodynamics and updated styling. Teaser images have shown a more Land Rover-esque Explorer, an update that reflects the influence of chief engineer Jim Holland, a former Range Rover engineer.

After making its debut later this month, the 2011 Explorer will hit showrooms by the fourth quarter of this year. It will face stiff competition from the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, which hits showrooms this month.

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imwithcoco | 11:03AM (Wed, Jul 21, 2010)

It is still funny to hear stuff will debut on Facebook.

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