Torture-testing the new Ford Explorer in Dubai

You might say that the engineering team went to extremes when testing the new Ford Explorer. Extremes as far away as Dubai. While the atmospheric conditions of eastern Iowa can be closely replicated in Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan, facilities, there’s no substitute for the arid and rugged terrain around Dubai.

Ford Explorer Chief Engineer, Don Ufford, and his team make the trek to Dubai for more than the opportunities that are inherent in the extreme-condition testing the humid desert climate provides. They are here to listen to customers, too.

“We regularly sell close to 10,000 Explorers per year in the Middle East market,” Ufford says. “SUV drivers in this part of the world regularly use the broad range of capabilities these vehicles offer. Our rationale for testing in Dubai is simple: If we can perform well here, we can do well anywhere.”

A recent Dubai trip for Ufford and the team offered the opportunity to test interior air conditioning effectiveness and occupant comfort in the combined desert heat and high humidity of the adjacent Gulf of Oman. With a 50 percent humidity factor, the equivalent temperature can exceed 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Engineers fitted an Explorer test vehicle with interior temperature sensors in the very places where occupants would be sensitive. A majority of the adjustments the team makes to improve air conditioning performance will find their way into all Explorers.

Dubai also offers unique terrain characteristics to validate Explorer 4WD capabilities. Terrain management sand mode allows for some wheel spin at initial throttle tip-in to gather momentum, while limiting slip as vehicle speed increases. Once in motion, the sand setting on Explorer’s terrain management system constantly monitors traction to send the right amount of torque to the wheels for optimal performance in the soft and hilly conditions, without the need for customer intervention.

Intelligent 4WD with terrain management – including the sand setting – will be an added convenience to experienced SUV drivers and a confidence-builder for those new to the segment. Click here for more information on the Terrain Management System.

The all-new Ford Explorer will be available in North American Ford dealerships later this year with exportation to more than 90 markets globally.

For the latest information about the all-new Explorer, click here to visit the Ford Explorer Facebook page.