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Ford Introduces 2011 Explorer SUV

The 2011 Ford Explorer SUV. Click to enlarge.

Ford has introduced the new 2011 Explorer. Offering two new engines—a new 3.5L V6 and the new 2.0L I4 EcoBoost (earlier post)—the new Explorer offers up to a 30% improvement in fuel economy over the current Explorer. 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.

3.5L Ti-VCT. The Explorer 3.5-liter V6 is offered as standard equipment across base, XLT and Limited models and delivers an anticipated improvement in fuel economy of more than 20% versus the current Explorer. Using Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing, earlier post) for optimized fuel economy and reduced part-throttle emissions, this engine delivers an estimated 290 hp (216 kW) and 255 lb-ft (346 N·m) of torque.

Mechanical efficiency, performance and fuel economy have been improved through Ti-VCT, a low-tension drive belt featuring a one-way clutch for the alternator, a direct-acting mechanical bucket (DAMB) valvetrain with polished buckets to reduce friction, piston-cooling jets, improved bay-to-bay breathing through the cylinder block and composite cam covers that reduce engine weight.

Ti-VCT allows precise, variable control of valve overlap, or the time when intake and exhaust valves are open concurrently. This enables increased mechanical efficiency for improved response and performance, while optimizing fuel economy. In part-throttle conditions, Ti-VCT helps reduce emissions.

The 3.5-liter V6 also features improved deceleration fuel shutoff technology to maximize fuel economy in closed-throttle situations.

The Explorer V6 has been engineered for durability with a chain-driven camshaft, high-strength forged powder metal connecting rods with floating pins, fully counterweighted forged steel crankshaft, a die-cast aluminum deep-sump oil pan and four-bolt main bearing caps with side bolts through the engine block.

Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics are controlled and reduced through a tuned composite upper and lower manifold, the silent-chain cam drive and an acoustic engine cover.

The Explorer 3.5-liter V6 offers power to tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.

EcoBoost 2.0-liter I-4. Combining direct injection of gasoline and turbocharging, the EcoBoost2.0-liter I-4 delivers performance comparable to normally aspirated competitive V6 engines. Developing up to 237 hp (177 kW) at 5,500 rpm, this I-4 delivers 250 lb-ft (339 N·m) of torque.

Estimated fuel economy improves by more than 30%, putting the fuel efficiency of the Ford Explorer in line with sedans such as the 2010 Toyota Camry V6.

As in other Ford EcoBoost engines, peak torque is generated at a low 1,700 rpm across a broad band to 4,000 rpm. This torque plateau makes for flexible, efficient power delivery across a wide range of engine and vehicle speeds, while helping save fuel by making power at lower rpm levels. Ti-VCT, four valves per cylinder and DAMB valve lifters increase mechanical efficiency through improved engine breathing across the broad power and torque bands.

A relatively high compression ratio is enabled by the use of direct gasoline injection, operating at fuel pressures from 2,200 to 2,800 psi. The unique turbocharger is optimally matched to the EcoBoost I-4 engine and SUV vehicle performance behavior. Precise fuel pressure control allows the Explorer I-4 to deliver boosted power at low rpm, without annoying turbo lag.

The EcoBoost I-4 uses 5W30-GF4 oil to reduce friction and reduce cost of ownership through 10,000-mile oil change intervals.

Targeted durability is 10 years, or 150,000 miles. Durability actions include enhanced oil filtration and cleanliness, the addition of an aluminum oil cooler with improved heat dissipation and cast inter-bore cooling inside the aluminum engine block. This engine represents the initial US-market application of the brick-style charge-air cooler, delivering increased thermal efficiency.

The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is being introduced globally by Ford Motor Company, with applications in various products in Europe, Asia and Australia, in addition to the new Explorer.

Each Explorer engine is paired with a unique six-speed automatic transmission, combining lowered initial gears for improved off-the-line acceleration and higher gearing for improved efficiency at lower engine rpm when cruising.

Weight reduction is also a key element in improving Explorer fuel efficiency. While adding significant content to the vehicle, engineers were able to reduce total vehicle weight by almost 100 pounds through the use of lighter materials such as an aluminum hood.

Explorer’s EPAS system allows for variable rates of assistance based on speed, turn-in and direction. In addition to optimized steering feel, tight on-centering and appropriate resistance, EPAS provides a fuel economy benefit in comparison to traditional hydraulic power assist systems. EPAS also enables a competitive turning radius for optimum maneuverability in parking situations, combined with increased assistance at low speeds for parking ease.



"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." No quantum leaps here in mileage...but at least it doesn't look as cheap as Exploders from years past.


The mileage improvement is good. The fact that it's still got a long stopping distance and a high bonnet means it remains a particular threat to pedestrians and cyclists alike, and that ain't good.

This vehicle simply doesn't belong in an urban environment.


This article fails to mention the fuel economy for the Ecoboost variant.

According to the Detroit Free Press, it will get 19 city and 26 highway... that is pretty darn good for a full sized SUV


Those gas guzzlers appear to be good survivors. Just amazing.....


26 mpg is a vast improvement over previous models. Unless you'd like an economically fascist government banning products... this is a great vehicle. you're giving people what they want, while improving a glaring weakness.

There is a need for large vehicles.

Will S

This might be a good vehicle if we want to deepen our dependence on foreign oil, reducing our national security.

Even Lloyd's of London is warning of the risks of the peak oil, the final oil crisis;

Will S

And Ford has exaggerated potential fuel economy ratings in the past, I have no reason to assume that they would get 19/26.

22 mpg is an embarrassment for a nation that still struggles to understand what happened in 1973 and 2008, and what those warnings hold for the future.

Bryan, this is Green Car Congress, btw. You seemed to have wandered into the fast lane on the Internet highway. If you don't like or understand Green Cars, you're wasting your time here. A 22 mpg vehicle is far from being a green car, not even close...


Everyone gets to express an opinion, there is no ideological
litmus test for people to comment on this site. I agree, people want it all. They would like a vehicle that seats more than a few people, can carry lots of stuff and gets great mileage.


I don't see where 14/20 mpg is very good. I have a 2007 Silverado pickup that the sticker claimed to get 14/19 and I'm quite sure I get more than 20 on it on the highway.


By the way, it looks an awful lot like a Ford Edge to me. Could someone point out the difference?


This is a disgrace - the government should confiscate Ford and give it to the unions.

Ford has been able to maintain, and increase market share against GM because they know the market, prompt downsizing (of Ford, not Ford cars) and they obtained a source of cash a few years ago to weather the storm.

GM however, has even deeper pockets; yours and mine.

I wonder if GM will price the Volt at $19,900?
Why not, they'll make it up on volume.


"And Ford has exaggerated potential fuel economy ratings in the past, I have no reason to assume that they would get 19/26."

No longer the trend. Most significant model releases introduced lately have tended to underestimate the "preliminary estimates". This allows them to get a double-bump in the PR when the final EPA estimates are published. I would absolutely bet that the Ecoboost comes out higher than 19/26.

The only disappointing decision to me is to only offer the Ecoboost in FWD. Clearly, it has enough torque to handle the lightweight AWD system. This is a marketing decision I do not understand. They have basically disenfranchised most of the northeast market. No one wants a FWD SUV. I was holding out on upgrading my RX330 for this to come out, but now it's not a lock, since the difference with the V6 Explorer might not be enough to justify the change. Unfortunate.



This new Explorer gets better combined mileage than a 2006 Toyota Camry V6 (and only 1 mpg less combined than a 2010 Camry V6), while having more power and torque, and seating two more passengers. I'm no SUV fan, but you are delusional or heavily biased.


Will S-
Not sure where you live, but here in DC we're still occasionally allowed our freedom of speech and debate. I like green cars; that's why I frequent this site. I understand a need for new technologies that will revolutionize the auto industry. This advancement is an incremental improvement in Ford's ever improving car portfolio. You clearly haven't followed the updates in EPA estimates or even the time lag for commercializing new technolgies. Ford is now beating foreign and domestic automakers in fuel economy and initial quality in most car segments. Don't ever speak down to someone with such a sophomoric argument, it just makes you look like a fool.


Ok, let's read the first paragraph VERY CAREFULLY:

"Ford has introduced the new 2011 Explorer. Offering two new engines—a new 3.5L V6 and the new 2.0L I4 EcoBoost (earlier post)—the new Explorer offers up to a 30% improvement in fuel economy over the current Explorer. 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."

Translation: the outgoing, 2010 (note current model year) Explorer gets 14/20/16. The incoming, new 2011 Explorer will get 30% better than that. So, 21 combined, 26 highway.

Reading is fundamental.

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