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Ford Offering 2.0L I-4 EcoBoost Engine in 2011 Explorer SUV; Projected 30% Improvement in Fuel Efficiency Over V6 Model

Ford will offer a 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine (earlier post) version of the 2011 Ford Explorer SUV, achieving at least a 30% increase in fuel efficiency with comparable power compared with the current V-6-powered Explorer. (Earlier post.) The 2010 Ford Explorer 2WD with a 4.0L V6 is EPA-rated at 14 mpg US city, 20 mpg US highway and 16 mpg US (14.7 L/100km) combined.

Overall vehicle weight in the 2011 Explorer 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% lighter.

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.

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.

The EcoBoost I-4 pairs a turbocharger with direct gasoline injection to provide SUV buyers with projected class-leading fuel economy, pending EPA certification, Ford said.

US sales of the Ford Explorer are up 30.9% by volume for the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, climbing from 24,334 units to 31,864 units.



Well Duh of course if you replace an antique motor with a modern one fuel economy will increase, the 30% is disappointing.
Ford says nothing about the HP and torque of the new motor. This I-4 will be rejected by the marketplace unless it has the torque needed for towing. Market headwinds against an I-4 in this segment; the buyer wants a V-8.

Thomas Pedersen

"The 2.0L EcoBoost will be comparable in performance to a 3.0-liter V-6, with at least 230 hp (172 kW) and 240 lb-ft (325 N·m) of torque, she said."

Seems enough, when combined with weight savings and aerodynamic improvements. Towing may still be an issue, however.

It strikes me as odd that this engine is being compared to the 4.0 when the title of the article says that it is supposed to be an improvement over the 3.0 V6..?


This is interesting and certainly shows some real guts on Ford's part, but I think a Diesel engine would be more appropriate for this application and would address the towing concerns.


I wouldn't even look at it.

Now if it was a diesel hybrid and got 60+ mpg ... Maybe?


2010 Ford Explorer 4X2
Curb Weight AT 4455

It would need to be a LOT lighter.

Justin VP

Towing? I rarely see an Explorer towing anything more than a herd of kids to soccer practice. The soft suspensions make towing anything heavy a bit dodgy, anyway.

I bet Ford will offer a V6 with plenty of power and towing capacity if that's what the buyer wants.

I'm still waiting for a Ranger 4x4 with the Ecoboost 4cyl engine and 6 speed auto transmission. I'd really like one as a work truck. A bit smaller than the current ranger wouldn't hurt either. It seems like 30mpg hwy in a small 4x4 shouldn't be all that hard... but no one is doing it in the U.S.

Will S

Nordic said;

"the buyer wants a V-8."

Perhaps if the buyer has little foresight and is "addicted to oil", as GWB put it....


Seems like a direct injected small turbo V6 would be more appropriate. Chrysler had a turbo 4 in their minivans years ago, but they did not sell many of them. Perception is a big part of the buying decision.

Multi-Modal Commuter Dude (formerly known as Bike Commuter Dude)


The 4.0L "Cologne" V6 produced 210 hp @ 5100 rpm, and 254 lb-ft @ 3700.

The 2.0L "EcoBoost" I4 currently produces 200 hp @ 5500 rpm, and 221 lb-ft @ 1750-4500 rpm in European applications (Mondeo, Galaxy, S-Max). The press release says 230 hp, 240 lb-ft.

In any event, when I pull a trailer, I don't care about what the engine is doing at 3700rpm (screaming in a Cologne V6), I want that torque immediately (1750 on up).

If they can leverage variable valve timing and/or sequential/variable geometry turbochargers to eliminate turbo lag, they will have a success.


Downsizing, downspeeding and reducing the number of cylinders is the way to go, whether you like it or not (or if the comparison is biased as in this case). Who bothers about towing capacity when the impacts of Peak Oil kicks in within a couple of years...


Peak oil may be a fact of life or a state of condition. If OPEC and future's markets hedge fund bidding take oil above $100 per barrel soon and keep it there going ever higher, we could see maximum production peak through pricing mechanisms and substitution.

I would say that we may see a peak of around 100 million barrels per day in the next 10 years just because of pricing and availability. The world COULD produce more, but because of FFV/M85, EV, PHEV and HEV we may not need more. India and China are not dumb, they see the writing on the wall as big as a bill board.

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