There once was a day where if you told someone you drove a “fuel-efficient SUV with seating for seven” they’d point and laugh at your craziness. But Ford is now having the last laugh: The new Explorer is delivering an EPA-estimated 28 mpg on the highway, besting the Honda Pilot and Jeep Grand Cherokee by 5 mpg, the Chevrolet Traverse by 4 mpg and the Toyota Highlander by 3 mpg. The all-new EcoBoost® powers the class-leader, and this is the first use of the engine in North America. Seems the first time’s the charm! And, the Explorer with EcoBoost is even beating the compact Subaru Impreza by 1 mpg and matching the most efficient BMW 3-Series.
The advanced 2.0-liter EcoBoost delivers 240 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 270 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm, power comparable to a standard V6, but with the fuel-efficiency of a four-cylinder engine.
This is accomplished by twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and the combo of gasoline direct injection and turbocharging with less overall displacement. 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 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. You can see a video about the work done in the wind tunnel on the Explorer by clicking here.
With the purpose-driven design and engineering, it’s not only the EcoBoost-equipped Explorer nabbing headlines for great fuel economy – it’s the Explorer period. With the standard V6, it’s delivering up to EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway to lead the full-size V6 SUV segment in fuel efficiency.
In the first six months of 2011, Explorer sales totaled 65,823 vehicles. This figure exceeds 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.
EcoBoost is a global Ford strategy to provide affordable fuel efficiency for millions of drivers while also delivering the power they desire. EcoBoost will be offered on 90 percent of Ford nameplates by 2013.