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Ford Explorer SUV with new 2.0L EcoBoost engine delivers EPA-rated 28 mpg highway

Explorer
City/highway EPA ratings for select MY2011 SUVs. Click to enlarge.

Ford’s Explorer is now the most fuel-efficient seven-passenger SUV on the market, delivering an EPA-certified 28 mpg US (8.4 L/100km) on the highway with an all-new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. This is the first application of this engine in North America.

The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine combines gasoline direct injection and turbocharging with smaller overall displacement, delivering comparable power to a standard V6 engine while delivering the fuel efficiency of a four-cylinder engine. Ford holds more than 125 patents on its EcoBoost engine technology. The four-cylinder unit delivers 240 hp (179 kW) at 5,500 rpm and 270 lb-ft (366 N·m) of torque at 3,000 rpm.

The combination of fuel efficiency and responsiveness is enabled by direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). Efficiency is further enhanced through employment of low-friction 5W-GF5 motor oil; a variable-displacement air conditioning compressor; electric power-assisted steering (EPAS); and a unique 6F35 six-speed automatic transmission developed to reduce friction and increase efficiency.

The Explorer with its standard V6 delivers up to 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway to lead the full-size V6 SUV segment in fuel efficiency. The Explorer with EcoBoost delivers 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Explorer2
Fuel economy, power and torque. Click to enlarge.

Explorer fuel efficiency also benefits from a smooth vehicle shape and careful aerodynamic detailing like optimization of the front air dam and rear liftgate spoiler lip, as well as lightweight components such as an aluminum hood.

In the first six months of 2011, Explorer sales totaled 65,823 vehicles, exceeding the full-year 2010 total of 60,687 Explorers. More than half of early buyers of the redesigned 2011 Explorer cited fuel efficiency as a primary motivation in their purchase decision. Moreover, the majority of customers are choosing better-equipped XLT and Limited series models.

Comments

Dollared

this is very impressive. VW got there first with the 2.0T, but they get only 200HP out of the configuration. Getting 240HP out of 2.0L and driving a seven passenger Explorer with it is very, very impressive.

Now, if we could just get the 7 passenger c-Max with the 180 HP 1.6L ecoboost, we'd be doubling the MPGs of the 7 passenger vehicle...

EGeek

The Explorer is a marvelous driving car, and this is the next step.

However, Ford has denoted that their Truck Line will soon get the auto/stop-start feature for up 8% reduction in fuel consumption via no-idle at stop lights. The question now is when will Ford roll this out feature on top of this Eco-Boost Engine and would he 8/10's improvement bring in ciy numbers to 21.6ish and change?

Nick Lyons

So, with a towing capacity of just 2000# and front-wheel drive only, the Ecoboost Explorer is really just a glorified minivan with less interior room.

HarveyD

Amazing what can be done with (only) ICE improvements. More could be done with the rest of the vehicle to get 40+ mpg.

ToppaTom

Impressive.

Herm

"So, with a towing capacity of just 2000# and front-wheel drive only, the Ecoboost Explorer is really just a glorified minivan with less interior room."

Exactly, but a lot of people dont like to be seen driving a mini-van, they have gotten a bad rep, and you still have the height advantage of a large SUV. Large SUVs are very popular with people that never tow.

Note that depending on how you drive, the 4 cyl version may get worse mpg than the V6 or even an older V8.. remember how Top Gear got 17mpg out of a Prius?

Dollared

Herm, you are right. I loooooovvvveeeee my 1.8T Jetta, and it gets a solid 24.5 MPG in 50/50 driving, but it drops to 23 if I put a rockabilly CD in. Any my leadfooted wife gets 19MPG in city driving in her 2.0T Passat, which is probably 700lbs lighter than an Explorer.

Engineer-Poet

Height is just an arms race, trading stability and drag for visibility. Over-tall (and over-wide) vehicles and ones with darkened or no windows should be restricted; they make it harder for drivers behind to see trends ahead and decrease traffic safety.

28 MPG highway isn't impressive. My 5-passenger vehicle is rated at 38 but does better under most conditions, while burning about 30% less fuel.

cujet

While I like the Ford Explorer in concept, it seems the Toyota Highlander Hybrid outperforms, out tows and gets better MPG. Ford is asking quite a lot for vehicles today, putting the Toyota on similar pricing with the higher end Explorers.

alpha1847

I get how Ford is trying to maximize fuel economy, and maybe this will be corrected the following year, but I have to agree that the omission of AWD in an SUV is completely ridiculous. It's not a question of whether you need it or not - many people that live in northern climates simply won't buy an SUV without AWD. That would seem to take a huge market away.

My guess is that they simply cannot produce enough of the ecoboost engines the first year to satisfy demand, so they will push the Ecoboost FWD in the south and west.

It's not like this is some big, heavy 4x4 system that they use. Their light duty system adds less than 200lbs and little drag. With the V6, you only lose 2mpg highway and nothing in the city. The highway drop probably has more to do with the higher axle ratio they use in the AWD. With the low-end torque of the Ecoboost, I'd have to imagine that they could get by with the same ratio, meaning the drop might be 1 mpg.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'd buy a non-hybrid AWD SUV that hits 20/27 as soon as it was available.

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