Over the past week, Ford Motor Company has used social media to issue a handful of close-up shots of the eagerly anticipated 2011 Ford Explorer. These images give us a look at some of the styling of the new Explorer without actually revealing what the new SUV looks like and today’s press release does the same thing, except with information.
I usually don’t post whole press releases but today’s latest news from Ford about the 2011 Explorer provides quite a bit of detail on the fuel economy and engine technology of the Explorer without revealing any concrete statistics on the new sport ute – continuing to leave everyone wanting more.
In short, this press release teases us with the fact that the optional 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder will offer 30% better fuel economy than the current (2010) Ford Explorer with the 4.0L V6. According to Ford’s website, the 2010 Explorer gets an EPA estimated 14/20 with the 210 horsepower V6, so a 30% improvement would put the 2.0 EcoBoost in the range of 18 around town and 26 on the highway. I would also expect the 4-cylinder EcoBoost to offer more than 210 horsepower but that is completely speculative. Ford is planning to unveil a new model on July 26th and while a great many people expect it to be the 2011 Explorer; that is also an assumption… maybe Ford is going to roll out that new Mustang sedan that everyone has been talking about?
Below is the “meat” of today’s press release, chock full of bits of information about the 2011 Ford Explorer without actually revealing the specs of the vehicle before its formal introduction later this month. Have a look at the portion of today’s press release below to see what Ford offered up about the 2011 Explorer and check out the gallery below for images of the new SUV. By the way for those who do not know, that bit about a Mustang sedan was a joke – just to be clear.
From Ford’s press release this morning:
The Ford Explorer has been reinvented to shatter long-held myths about SUV fuel efficiency and performance.
The 2011 model equipped with an optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ I-4 engine will be the new class leader in the mid-size SUV segment, achieving at least a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency compared with the current V-6-powered Explorer.
“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,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas.
The new Explorer, due in Ford showrooms later this year, has added comfort and convenience features, while overall vehicle weight is reduced compared to the previous model. Extensive use of lighter and stronger high-strength steels such as boron add durability while saving weight. An aluminum hood is used, while a one-piece composite front bolster – the radiator support between engine and grille – is 65 percent lighter. Lighter weight equates to fuel and money saved.
Sophisticated engine controls and advanced technologies are key contributors to the Explorer’s improved fuel economy. Electric power-assisted steering, battery management, fast engine warm-up and aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff all combine to improve drive dynamics and save fuel. Explorer also features the first North American Ford application of a variable-displacement air conditioning compressor that reduces parasitic engine drag.
Powertrain advancements like twin independent variable camshaft timing and six-speed automatic transmissions help Explorer deliver responsive performance when needed combined with low-rpm efficiency when cruising.
SUV buyers placing highest priority on fuel economy can choose the available EcoBoost I-4. Delivering the power of a normally aspirated V6, this advanced engine pairs a turbocharger with direct gasoline injection to provide SUV buyers with projected class-leading fuel economy – pending EPA certification – with no compromise in performance.
Finally, all of these fuel economy enhancements are wrapped in a smooth, distinctive Explorer design that was extensively refined in wind tunnel testing. Designers and aerodynamicists collaborated to reshape sideview mirrors and harmonize the front air dam with the rear liftgate spoiler to significantly increase fuel efficiency on the highway. Reduced wind noise at speed is an incremental benefit.
“Explorer owners told us they want capability with convenience, and improved fuel economy without compromised performance,” Fields said. “We believe we’ve hit the mark with the next-generation Explorer. It has the potential to change perceptions of what a modern SUV is all about.”
Remember Facebook users, head on over to the Ford Explorer page (click here) and “like” the page for your chance at a free 2011 Ford Explorer! Stay tuned to your Detroit Autos Examiner for all of your breaking news from around town and around the world!