By on July 26, 2010

One week ago, I was given a “sneak peek” of the new Explorer at Ford’s Product Development Center in Dearborn. I learned then what you all probably know by now: The new Explorer is a D3-platform vehicle, offering reasonably spacious seven-seat packaging, the myFordTouch in-car entertainment system, a twin-LCD dashboard, and a 237-horsepower turbo four as the base engine.

In other words, it’s a car, just like the Honda Pilot is a car and the Toyota Highlander is a car.

Faced with the prospect of engineering a clean-sheet body-on-frame midsized truck to meet all possible safety, efficiciency, and feature-content concerns, Ford did the easier thing and simply revised the Flex a bit.

Some commentators are hitting Ford hard for “abandoning the authentic Explorer”. That’s mostly nonsense. As we’ve discussed on TTAC for the past few days, the average Explorer customer simply wanted a modern, feature-packed family wagon with four-wheel-drive. The new model meets those needs easily, and better than ever before. Nobody ever cared that the Explorer was body-on-frame. If anything, they were annoyed by it. Those annoyances have disappeared.

With the exceptions of tow capacity and suitability for “mudder” conversion ten years after the original owner trades it in, the new Explorer is simply superior to anything Ford’s ever put the nameplate on. From the Audi-esque interior to the rather fascinating new “curve control” that should all but eliminate freeway off-ramp accidents, it’s chock-full of technological innovation.

I’m particularly impressed by the way Ford has chosen to take a full-throttle approach to occupant safety. Name a concern with the previous models — from tippiness to passive safety to handling issues — and you will see that it’s been more than addressed in the new Explorer. I expect it to post a very impressive safety record. Ford’s not taking chances here.

In a world where the Ford Flex did not exist, this Explorer would represent the ultimate domestic family wagon… and that’s the problem. Compared to the Explorer, the Flex has more room, more available power, and styling that is far less “me-too”. It dispenses with the “high and mighty” idiocy and provides a seating position that is neither Corvette low nor traffic-blocking high. The electronic goodies will find their way over in the near future — the 2011 Edge already has them — and the third-row seating is, frankly, non-trivially better. If you want an Explorer, you probably really want a Flex.

In the real world, however, people buy cars based on bizarre notions of prestige, protection against unreal threats, and the likely effects on their neighbors’ libidos. Look for the Explorer to do well in the real world. It plays the same game Honda and Toyota play, and plays it to win.

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87 Comments on “The 2011 Explorer: It’s A Car...”


  • avatar

    The majority of Explorers never saw anything but pavement, but for the bulk of the Explorer’s existence, it was the only SUV Ford made in its size. Now they’ve got the Edge, Flex and Escape all in a similar size bracket-the Explorer’s one edge on all those was its potential for off-road capability, and now that’s gone. It may be a great on-road CUV/uberwagon…but Ford already has, at the very least, two of those.

    There’s a right way and a wrong way to convert your mainstream, rugged SUV into a modern, efficient, comfortable but still supremely capable, on-and-off-road, CUV. Jeep’s done it the right way with the new Grand Cherokee. Ford is doing it wrong.

  • avatar
    SomeDude

    Like this one. More than enough goodies to beat the ugly MDX out of the water. And I don’t think that the Pilot and the Highlander can even compete with this one.

  • avatar
    shortthrowsixspeed

    Baruth is 100% right on why “most” people buy cars.

    my wife owns an 02 explorer. what she really wants is a Flex, but she hates them. she’ll probably get this explorer. but i’ve been trying to sell her on the new grand cherokee.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Get your wife to test drive a new Grand…that’ll help your argument more than anything else. It’s seriously nice inside…hard to believe, but true. I was even impressed with the base Laredo interior when I saw/sat in one while picking up some parts at the dealer for my old Wrangler. The Laredo had more soft touch points (i.e. dash, door trim, etc) than I expected on the base model…sure, it was lacking the warmth of the of the top-of-the line interior, but it was also like $10,000-ish cheaper than those. I never did like the 2005-2010 Grand Cherokees in spite of my general desire to want to like Jeeps thanks to my 2 Wranglers that have treated me well.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Shortshtowsixspeed, listen to you wife. The Grand Cherokee is built by a government owned bankrupt automaker managed by an oversees company with no equity stake, assembled by angry UAW members, with parts supplied by the absolute lowest bidders who are not confident they will get paid in full. Would you buy a house built under the same circumstances?

      Ford is financially stable and profitable, not government owned, with a reasonably content workforce, good management, and a good reputation for building a quality product.

      Unless you have $40k to gamble with, the Ford Explorer is a smarter buy. You married well; count your blessings. Your wife could want a Fiat 500.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Oh please…have you actually looked at a new Grand? I have and it hardly looks (both inside and underhood/underbody) that it was assembled from the cheapest parts. I have yet to read a negative review about it…apparently everyone who’s driven it is an idiot? And can we get get over the government “bailouts” already…? It happened, get over it. If the US taxpayer ends up getting their money back and then some, will that finally shut you whiners up?

    • 0 avatar
      shortthrowsixspeed

      wheeljack: thanks. i do intend to drive one at some point. like you, everything i’ve read and heard has been positive.

      toad: i do have reservations about buying a product built by a struggling company. that said, Ford did not always have the best reliability record in my neighborhood either. still, i think ford has turned a corner. as their products here begin to fall in line with their offerings across the pond (focus), i think they’ll only get better recognition. in the end though, I’m buying a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Explorer, not Chrysler Corp. or Ford Motor Co. If this offering from Jeep is solid (like the wrangler) as opposed to soft (like the compass), i think it’s still a good buy.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Not to sound like your dad, but it sounds like you really want to love the Grand Cherokee in the same way you want to think the smoking hot but crazy chick will not screw you over. Your brain, experience, history, and logic are telling you one thing, but lust is telling you something else.

      But if you buy it, I hope it works out well and you love your purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I don’t intend to buy it (assuming that was directed at me) – I’m not in the market (nor am I likely ever to be) for this type of product. Having said that, I have 2 Jeep Wranglers of different vintages and both have been excellent vehicles that have provided reliable service, and yes I do off-road them – hard. Because of the good service I’ve received from both of my Wranglers, I’m not ready to dismiss the Grand Cherokee out of hand like you are. Have you considered that maybe Chrsyler, free of the Daimler and Cerberus shackles, might actually be trying to turn a new leaf and build good products from here on out?

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      To continue my dating analogy, if your sister started dating a guy who used to abuse drugs and beat his ex-wife, would you be impressed with her claims that she can change him and that he is a much better person now?

      I am the current owner of a Dodge (and fairly happy with it), so I have no ill will towards Chrysler or the Jeep Grand Cherokee. But there are many very good products from manufacturers with much better track records; why gamble with your hard earned money?

      Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Maybe bad automakers can start producing great cars (Hyundai did). And maybe meth heads make great credit risks, and wife beaters can become good dating material. But high risk decisions usually produce bad results, and $40k is a lot to risk.

    • 0 avatar
      shortthrowsixspeed

      interesting how this has turned into a JGC thread rather than anything about the explorer.

      Toad: would you take the advice to not date hot girls b/c they’ll only break your heart from the guy dating the head cheerleader? if you bought a dodge (if it was given to you – nevermind), you made the same investment that you’re warning against. That would be fine if you’re point of view was: learn from my mistakes. But you clearly said that you have no ill will about your dodge.

      in the end, if we do go with the JGC, it will be in a few more years and i’ll almost definitely buy lightly used. I’m a big fan of the whole “buy 80% of the car for 50% of the price” thing. If most of the population has the same feelings for chrysler as you do, hopefully the JGC will depreciate like a snow cone in summer and i’ll get a great deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Shortthrow: I wrote hot but crazy, not just hot: very big difference. Hot is fun, crazy not so much. And I should have written that the Dodge I purchased was a reasonable purchase at the time I bought it (Consumer Reports even liked it)…but I would not make the same choice in 2010.

      But if you want it, buy it, love it.

    • 0 avatar
      shortthrowsixspeed

      thx for the advice. in the end, i think we just need to drive them both.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I get all that, but if it’s a Flex, what’s the point in making 2 vehicles?

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      It’s a way to sell a Flex to people who refuse to buy the genuine article, while still keeping it available for people who make purchase decision based on logic rather than emotion.

      It’s also quite possible that if this new Explorer succeeds, the Flex will be phased out.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The Flex doesn’t look enough like a truck for people who’ve been marinated in truck- marketing for the last two decades. And you can see it in the Flex’s sales: it’s too out of the box (pun intended) and wagon-like to sell in serious numbers.

      It’s the same reason Toyota makes the Highlander even though the Sienna is effectively the same vehicle. Ditto the Pilot. Heck, ditto the Acadia versus the Traverse.

      What this lets Ford do is pitch either the Explorer or the Flex at a lower price point. I think the Explorer will be the low-ball, as the Flex does draw a more affluent and less suburban-family-truckster crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Most people buy what the want and what they think makes them look good … not what they need. In a rational world, the Flex would sell like gangbusters. In the real world, the Explorer version will probably outsell it many times over.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    This is actually what most people want…GM Lambda proved that.

    The body-on-frame is just aweful for driving…These ridged unibodies are wonderful to drive and this Explorer has a lot more usable space than the old one. Ford should sell a ton of these.

    The Flex is too goofy looking and it does not appeal to women at all.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    This vehicle might not have come to existence if the Flex hadn’t been such a sales failure. We all remember Ford’s early talk of selling 100k+ Flex’s a year. They thought it would be the volume seller on the D3 platform, but the design was too polarizing. Women in general were turned off by the Flex stying, and most people I’ve suggested it to personally say “thats the one that looks like a hearse right?”.
    The new Explorer is just bland enough that it might work, (look at the sales of the Escape) and along with the new Taurus (esp. if the cop model catches on) Ford may just be able move the number of D3 units it hoped to have with the Flex alone.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    This looks like a winner to me…modern looking but still tough enough to make the Moms/Pops want it rather than a dreaded mini-van…and what percentage of Explorer buyers use them for heavy towing anyway? Any Ford loyalist with a large boat or trailer to tow is going to buy an Expedition.

    This is a much more credible contender against the Traverse/Acadia and the larger 3-seat Japenese/Korean competion than the Flex could ever be. I kind of dig the ‘retro-wagon oversized Mini’ look of the Flex, but the mass populus either doesn’t get it or doesn’t like it…the Flex is obviously on the way out with it’s too polarizing design.

    Now Ford can modernize the Expedition, keep the body-on-frame towing capacity, and update the engines to either Ecoboost and/or Hurricane and increase the mileage/power to better compete against GM’s offerings.

    Shame they couldn’t upgrade some version of this into a decent Lincoln, instead of the godforsaken humpback-whale MKT.

    • 0 avatar

      Any Lincoln version of this would also look like a whale, as the baleen inspired grill is going to be common across all Lincoln models.

      P.S. Will this be the first car with the Ecoboost branding for a four cylinder engine?

  • avatar
    EChid

    Since I love the Flex, I therefore hate this vehicle, since this is designed to allow Ford to end production of its most interesting vehicle.

    Boo Explorer.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    Looks too much like the Edge (at least from the front) to me, although I get that the Edge is shorter/smaller. Do they really need so many different CUVs/SUVs?….Escape, Edge, Flex, Explorer. Expedition…The only one who seems to have more is Toyota. I also think that the turbo four would be more appropriate in the Edge since it’s theoretically lighter – it’ll be interesting to see how well a 4 cyl (albeit a healthy one) can move this (undoubtedly) 2+ ton beast.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      Wheeljack,

      237hp for a 2ton+ vehicle doesn’t sound out of line. My personal pickup truck weighs in around 5400 lbs empty with driver and has a 230hp V8 (forget the torque spec off the top of my head 290-ish? but it’s mid-range torque from a SOHC engine).

      A vehicle that’s a half-ton lighter with the same power and most likely a much broader, lower-reaching torque plateau similar to other turbo-4 vehicles should scoot around quite a bit better.

    • 0 avatar
      frozenman

      Ecoboost be damned, where is that 305 horse 3.7 from the Stang? Oh heck ,just stuff that new that new coyote v8 into it really put the fear of Ford into the competition!

  • avatar
    don1967

    Wow, the SUV really is dead. Kudos to Ford for continuing the Explorer name for one more generation, however, in an effort to help smooth the emotional transition.

    They should call it the Eddie Bauer Withdrawal Edition.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      don1967
      I agree. MOST people buy cars by the heart or image. Very few buy cars simply because we fell in love with them regardless of what our neighbors will think.
      My daughter still refuses to drive the 05 Mazda3 with it’s strange orange/red color. I LOVE the color!

      NulloModo

      If I could, I would click on the Flex then drag the corner in until it is just slightly smaller.
      Just like editing a Jpeg.

      They let me down with the ecoboost in this car(?).
      I was hoping for more power.
      I just wanted more power!

  • avatar
    dwford

    “In the real world, however, people buy cars based on bizarre notions of prestige, protection against unreal threats, and the likely effects on their neighbors’ libidos.”

    So, so, true.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Thirded. The only reason the Flex hasn’t lit up the sales charts is the styling. This looks like it has most of the benefits of the Flex, combined with the more SUV-ish styling that people like, so it should be a huge success.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      I’m worried that includes having a ‘real’ (body on frame) truck, regardless of how it’s used.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Nullo,

      What’s the ride, step, hip and roof height of this versus the Flex?

      I ask because one of the things I really liked about the Flex was the low floor and step-in (lower than the Sienna, if I recall, and about on-par with the Caravan), but I could see it being too car-like for most people.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Psar – I couldn’t tell you specs yet. Ford doesn’t have the sourcebooks posted yet for it and I haven’t seen one in person. I’d imagine it is going to sit higher than the Flex, it looks like it is up at least several inches, but I don’t have any exact numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      Psar, specs are http://www.fordvehicles.com/suvs/explorer/2011/

  • avatar
    shaker

    So, any guess as to weight? Looks like around 4500 lbs to me. (I’d like to be proven wrong).

  • avatar
    mtypex

    and if you want a Flex, you really want a Ford Fairlane wagon.

    But I digress. I have a problem using the Explorer nameplate on a vehicle that’s not a truck. To me, Explorer means business, and business means discomfort. I would have named this vehicle the Ford Sorryforthe1990s, that is, a total break with the “America needs to drive a bunch of trucks around” past.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    While I think the Explorer will compete well against the Highlander, Pilot, Lambas, etc, I feel like it is redundant with the Flex. I like the Toyota-style solution better: make 2 midsized SUVs, one that doesn’t compromise the car ride and interior space (Highlander) and one that has some real offroad capability (4Runner). The Flex’s main offering versus the Explorer is wonky styling. The Flex should really be dropped for a proper minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The Flex should really be dropped for a proper minivan

      Not that I don’t think Ford doesn’t need a minivan, but the Flex does serve a purpose. It’s problem is similar to the dearly-departed Dodge Magnum’s: it has design cred and sells at a premium, but it doesn’t sell en masse (like, say, the Charger). A minivan is the opposite of the Flex: utilitarian in the extreme and certainly moreso than the Explorer.

      Ford can’t abandon the family-hauler market, and without a minivan platform in the cards, Acadia-izing the Flex is not a bad idea.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    It’s odd. All the reviews keep talking about the ecoboost 2.0, but the only engine available when I try to build one is the 3.5.

    Are they launching the turbo 4 later than the veicle itself?

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    The TTAC Article: +1
    Body color grill: -1
    237hp turbo four: +1
    down 2100lbs in towing capacity: -1

    The two Explorer owners that I personally know purposefully bought them to tow boats. Boats that are more than 5000lbs to tow. A by product of lower towing capability in the average SUV is that people who bought mid-size SUVs to tow will have to move up to full size SUVs or full size trucks. Oh well.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    2011 Ford Explorer, 2011 Chevrolet Traverse, or 2011 Dodge Durango?

    I’ll take the Durango since it still drive the correct wheels and the engine isn’t sitting in a funny position

  • avatar
    Monty

    Very well equipped base model at US$28,995. It’s not on the Canadian Ford website yet, however, but the 2010 Canadian version starts at CDN $34,064.

    It looks like Ford is continuing the trend started with each new vehicle since the original Fusion – start with a slightly higher price, but load up even the base model with more gizmos and features than the competition.

    This looks like a winner, and should be the big seller that the Flex never will be.

  • avatar
    radimus

    So it’s an Edge with 7 seats then? I figured that is what it would be. I think that’s a good thing, actually. The old Explorer was stuck in a bad spot between the Expedition and Flex/Edge. If you wanted something for towing, for a little more money you could get the Expedition and much more room, power, and tow capacity. if you just wanted a tall wagon, the Flex and Edge are nicer vehicles with better fuel mileage for less money.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      The Edge is on the CD3 platform shared with the Fusion, MKZ, Mazda6. The Flex was supposed to be CD3 based but was switched to D3 as the latter platform is larger.

      But, yeah, lots of similar vehicles in the showroom.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I know a woman who has owned the last two Explorer iterations – she might see this and like it, but her boyfriend is a mechanic, and once he sees that it’s “car-based” and FWD biased, it might be the last one she owns (he’s a “Ford Truck Guy”).

  • avatar
    Len_A

    Absolutely gorgeous. I love it. Just went on my list of vehicles I will definitely look at for my next purchase.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    So let me get this straight:

    Lincoln MKS
    Lincoln MKT
    Ford Taurus
    Ford Flex
    Ford Explorer

    What else are they planning for D3? What happens AFTER D3?

    That said, this new Explorer looks gorgeous. Props for the blacked out A, B and D pillars.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    All of that stupid media hype for this??? What a let down. I thought we were going to see something class-changing…class-leading. All we know is that the terrible designers at Ford struck again.

    This thing should have been called the 2011 Taurus X.

    The headlights are terrible, the whole rear is terrible and the interior is once again, Toyota bland.

    There is no reason to buy this appliance. It does nothing different than the dozens of limp-wristed, so called “SUVs” on the market…it only does it much uglier.

    This will be yet another failure on the D3 platform. Maybe someday, Ford will pop out a winner on that decade old Volvo platform. But this half-assed Explorer isn’t it.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      Z71_Silvy/P71_CrownVic/Matt doesn’t like a Ford product.

      In other news, the Pope is a Roman Catholic, and it isn’t a good idea to put Chinese drywall in your home.

      Hey, Matt, did you finally get banned from Autoblog? Haven’t seen you there recently.

    • 0 avatar

      The fact SimpleSilvy hates it is all the evidence I need to know this Explorer will be a Grand Slam homerun for Ford.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    The Expedition wasn’t around when the Explorer first came out so it makes sense to get rid of the body on frame design especially considering the success of the GM Lambdas.

    For those that use their SUV’s to tow most will opt for the more capable full size truck considering the fuel economy is so similar.

  • avatar
    DaveA

    Z71_Slvy,

    You would poo-poo it regardless of how good or bad it looked. I am no Ford loyalist but your coments “. All we know is that the terrible designers at Ford struck again.” is unjust given the inability of GM to offer better.

    CUV’s are the answer for most people due to the incapability of normal cars for things other than just people moving on pavement. Towing a small garden trailer, having a little more ground clearance, etc….

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It’s amazing how truck-esque crossovers are so indistinct in their styling. This isn’t a whole lot different than the Pilot and Acadia.

    Which is good, I suppose. In a way.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      While I still think it looks too much like the Edge, it’s light years better looking than the current uglified Pilot – what were the designers at Honda thinking…?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    True, the Explorer is no longer a truck, nor even an SUV (SUVs are truck-based in my books)…but it doesn’t have to be. Nor did it ever have to be for the millions who bought (and bought into) the previous generations.

    It turns out a body-on-frame construction and transfer case aren’t necessary to sit up high (while looking down on others), feel confident and powerful, and occasionally cart around large amounts of cargo or kids, all big reasons why most people buy tall wagons. Most Explorer customers won’t miss the truck that’s been filtered out, so this is a pragmatic move for Ford.

    The potential backlash from the trucky-Explorer faithful might be mitigated somewhat (or hell, totally) by a new Bronco to compete with the likes of real SUVs like the (currently best-selling) Wrangler, as well as the very capable Toyota FJ Cruiser.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The “trucky Explorer faithful” can buy a crew-cab F-150 and a throw a cap on the bed.

      The problem with catering to hard-core idealists is that, honestly, they don’t tend to buy new cars. I remember this from my days of Saab ownership: a bunch of guys who, quite honestly, were going to keep buying 900 Turbos for as long as they could find them used.

  • avatar
    mythicalprogrammer

    Shrug, nice one. This is for all the soccer moms out there that wants an SVU without the bad mpg. The inline4 cost more though, but the mpg is the similar to a Camry.

  • avatar

    Have they released the dimensions? I wonder how they compare to the Edge and Flex. My first impression is that the new Explorer will have much less room inside than the Flex, and the larger question will be how it relates to the Edge.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Probably similar to the way the Highlander and Venza relate to each other. One is a truck for people who like the idea of driving a truck rather than a minivan but not the experience of an actual truck, and the other is a tall, chromed way to go out for dinner, theatre and apres-theatre coffee.

      The Edge will probably have more room in the second row because it’s not trying to cram three rows in, but I’m not sure. I was never impressed with the Edge’s interior packaging: it was much higher to step into than the Flex and no roomier.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      From just the dimensions on the website it looks like most measurements fall in between the Edge and Flex, except for height and width, both of which are greater than either of them.

      Ford doesn’t seem to have all of the data populated into the comparison tools yet, so it’s a bit difficult to do a side by side, but just glancing at things it looks like the Explorer is going to have slightly less second and third row leg room compared to the Flex, but more second row leg room than the Edge. Shoulder and hip room both look to be improved compared to the Flex (which would make sense with its greater width) and headroom is virtually identical.

      Ford has said that the third row seat has at least as much space as the current Explorer, which isn’t great praise compared to the Flex whose third row is pleasant enough for 6′+ adults on long trips, but it isn’t any worse than competitors like the Acadia, Pilot, or Highlander.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    Sent this article to a buddy of mine with an 03 V8, towing package, roof racked Exploder. He bought it new, has put 150k miles on it, and it’s starting to show its age. But with the exception of a howling rear diff (which I think has finally been fixed) and the annoyance of paying for 17″ tires, it’s been dead reliable towing race cars, hauling kayaks, going on camping trips, etc.

    I think the “soft ute” of the 2011 model cemented his plan to get some rust work done and just run his current ride into the ground. Or maybe look at a 4Runner.

    At least my $187 investment in Ford stock is worth $1300 right now…

  • avatar

    Now everyone who was waiting for the new Explorer may finally let go and buy a crew cab F-150.

  • avatar
    jj99

    Car looks good. 2 major problems:

    1) PRICING – Toyota Highlander that seats 7 with a 4 cylinder can be purchased in the high 24,000s on the east coast. That vehicle scores 27 MPG on the highway, and 20 in the city. Explorer price starts higher than this, and the 4 cylinder option makes the price even higher. Explorer pricing is many thousands too high to get the same mileage as the Highlander.

    2) RELIABILITY – In the latest Consumer Reports used car guide available now at your local bookstore, Ford Flex and Edge rank poorly. Highlander and Pilot get top grades. Since Flex is the same as Explorer, it is hard to imagine someone paying a higher price for an Explorer over Highlander and Pilot since Ford has not proven long term reliability and durability. Ford products only seem to do well until 3 years if the data I see is correct.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Consumer reports sucks.
      Use TrueDelta.

      The 4 cylinder Highlander is a slug and I personally couldn’t take the straining every green light.
      The ecoboost twin turbo makes for far better living.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    The new Explorer is not D3-based. It has a double A-arm front suspension, not the Flex’s (and Volvo S80′s) MacPherson struts. Like the Fusion, the Explorer is a relative of the previous generation Mazda6.

    • 0 avatar
      SupaMan

      All the associated paperwork says the 2011 Explorer is Taurus based. Even if the front suspension was altered.

      The Edge/MKX twins are relatives of the Fusion.

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      I guess it’s a mixture of the two platforms.

      Fusion is the closest relative of the last Mazda6.
      Edge is related to Fusion but has strut front suspension.
      Explorer combines passenger-side fuel filler of Taurus/Flex (D3) with the double A-arm front suspension of Fusion.

      I wonder if the Explorer is also without a spare tire, like Taurus/Flex.

  • avatar
    George B

    Jack, you have actual experience selling Explorers. I would guess that 1) Women hold veto power over family vehicle purchases and 2) women like the high seating position of SUVs (and to a lesser extent minivans) so they can see over and around traffic. SUVs and CUVs are all about height. The problem with the station wagon in the US market is women reject them and single men don’t need them. Does this sum up why station wagons don’t sell in the US?

  • avatar
    Invisible

    So Ford built this as a Freestyle, it failed.
    Ford built this as a Taurus X, it failed.
    Now they are trying again using the Explorer name!

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The problem with the mass market appeal of the Freestyle, Taurus X, and Flex is all in the styling, otherwise they all were, or are, great vehicles.

      GM showed one of its rare but incredible moments of brilliance when they decided to make the Traverse, Acadia, and Enclave look more like traditional SUVs. What GM saw, and what Ford has finally caught on to (well, at least for full size vehicles, they seemed to know it all along with the Escape) is that by and large the US public doesn’t want to give up their SUVs, they just want to get better fuel economy and a more carlike drive in them. The new Explorer addresses those concerns.

  • avatar
    Power6

    This thing will sell. Its all about the styling. It looks great, so much more style than an Explorer ever had. Why not base it off another platform, and just get the looks, interior and technology right.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Personally, I think it’s boring, in a “just another indistinguishable SUV/CUV clone” sort of way. I can’t imaging choosing this over a comparable Flex.

      But I do agree, this sort of cookie-cutter styling will go over well with the intended buyers.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ll mostly give Ford a pass for turning the Explorer into a CUV.

    I’ve never really thought of the Explorer as some type of rugged workhorse like the Wrangler or Suburban. Honestly, many of the people that bought an Explorer for the past decades probably really wanted a CUV.

    This isn’t any worse than Kia’s move with the Sorento, and, IMO, deserves less scorn than the new SHO and SRX.

  • avatar
    Ooshley

    May as well have re-badged the Australian Ford Territory.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Looks much better than an prior Explorer and much, much better than the ugly Flex. Beauty is in the eye of the beyholder. Lighter, more nimble, better riding and with better mileage than the old body on frame truck based SUV. I think there is room for this and the Flex. I’m not sure there is room for this and the Edge.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I said it elsewhere…$29k and it comes with 17″ steelies and plastic wheel covers? Seriously?? WTF…

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Nice wagon. Explorer sure is a funny name for it. Wait, what, oh never mind…


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