Ford Motor Company is clearly hedging its bets on this EcoBoost thing. For the 2011 Explorer, it will be dropping one of these engines between the frame rails, though unlike those found in the Flex, Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKT, this will be a four-cylinder version, a 2.0-liter mill that; via direct injection, forced induction and electronic trickery, is claimed to deliver 30 percent better fuel economy than the hoary old V6 in the current truck.
If Ford’s claims are to be believed, that means the 2011 Explorer will likely get 18 miles per gallon in town and around 26 on the highway, versus the 14/20 cycle for today’s truck. Factor in other such features on the 2011 model such as a six-speed automatic transmission, unit-construction (versus a heavy separate frame), electric power steering and a variable-capacity air-conditioning compressor designed to reduce parasitic loss and it would appear Ford has the right ingredients for helping achieving these fuel economy targets.
The 2011 model will also employ a terrain management system to aid four-wheeling ability and other current Ford fads such as Blind Spot monitoring, collision warning with brake support, cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. Who said nothing good came out of the Premier Automotive Group?
Official release after the jump:
2011 FORD EXPLORER WITH ECOBOOST LEADS SEGMENT; DELIVERING AT LEAST 30 PERCENT BETTER FUEL ECONOMY
- All-new Ford Explorer SUV offers best-in-class fuel economy with technologically advanced powertrains featuring multiple enhancements to improve mechanical efficiency
- Explorer offers an optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ I-4 engine delivering V6 power with four-cylinder fuel efficiency
- Electric power-assisted steering, battery management, fast engine warm-up and the first North American Ford application of a variable-displacement air conditioning compressor all combine to improve drivability, increase efficiency and save fuel.
DEARBORN, Mich., July 19, 2010 – The Ford Explorer has been reinvented to shatter long-held myths about SUV fuel efficiency and performance.
The 2011 model equipped with an optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ I-4 engine will be the new class leader in the mid-size SUV segment, achieving at least a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency compared with the current V-6-powered Explorer.
“The all-new Explorer will give a huge universe of existing and prospective customers the capability they expect and the luxury and convenience they want, all combined with the fuel economy they need,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas.
The new Explorer, due in Ford showrooms later this year, has added comfort and convenience features, while overall vehicle weight is reduced compared to the previous model. Extensive use of lighter and stronger high-strength steels such as boron add durability while saving weight. An aluminum hood is used, while a one-piece composite front bolster – the radiator support between engine and grille – is 65 percent lighter. Lighter weight equates to fuel and money saved.
Sophisticated engine controls and advanced technologies are key contributors to the Explorer’s improved fuel economy. Electric power-assisted steering, battery management, fast engine warm-up and aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff all combine to improve drive dynamics and save fuel. Explorer also features the first North American Ford application of a variable-displacement air conditioning compressor that reduces parasitic engine drag.
Powertrain advancements like twin independent variable camshaft timing and six-speed automatic transmissions help Explorer deliver responsive performance when needed combined with low-rpm efficiency when cruising.
SUV buyers placing highest priority on fuel economy can choose the available EcoBoost I-4. Delivering the power of a normally aspirated V6, this advanced engine pairs a turbocharger with direct gasoline injection to provide SUV buyers with projected class-leading fuel economy – pending EPA certification – with no compromise in performance.
Finally, all of these fuel economy enhancements are wrapped in a smooth, distinctive Explorer design that was extensively refined in wind tunnel testing. Designers and aerodynamicists collaborated to reshape sideview mirrors and harmonize the front air dam with the rear liftgate spoiler to significantly increase fuel efficiency on the highway. Reduced wind noise at speed is an incremental benefit.
“Explorer owners told us they want capability with convenience, and improved fuel economy without compromised performance,” Fields said. “We believe we’ve hit the mark with the next-generation Explorer. It has the potential to change perceptions of what a modern SUV is all about.”