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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Dec 06 2011, 9:00 AM

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Car and Driver has published an article expressing its gripes with J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study, stating that its results tell us less about a vehicle’s defects then we might think. J.D. Power’s IQS measures new-vehicle quality after 90-days of ownership and has done so since 1987, but the advent of more technologically advanced features are now impacting quality results.

Take Ford for example. From 2010 to 2011, Ford dropped 18 places (from fifth to 23rd) in J.D.’s IQS, but one would argue that Ford’s quality has only increased over the past year – surely not decreased that significantly. The reasoning behind it is the fact that J.D. Power is voicing the opinion of the consumer and consumers are complaining about design issue rather than a functionality problem. That is, a customer finds it frustrating to use Ford’s MyFord Touch system and notches it as a problem, rather than observing a loose electrical connection, something that really impacts the quality of a vehicle.

Another great example from Ford is the new PowerShift dual-clutch automatic found in their new Fiesta. Customers are complaining about its shift quality compared to a conventional automatic transmission with a torque converter, but there has hardly been any actual mechanical issues problems with the transmission, if at all.

Unfortunately a lot of the manufacturers are actually changing the functionality of the vehicle because of these complaints, such as Porsche consumers complaining about brake pad dust. Obviously the better-performing a brake pad is, the more dust it produces; but the general laymen finds it an inconvenience and even a quality issue if a brake pad produces so much dust. As a result, Porsche vehicles are probably equipped with less-capable pads than they originally were, all because of these “quality” issues being reported by J.D. Power.

At the end of the day though, it’s still the voice of the consumer that manufacturers care about.

[Source: Car and Driver]

 |  Feb 07 2011, 9:11 AM

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Ford‘s brand-new 2011 Explorer has just been hit with a recall for faulty second-row reclining seats. Recently awarded North American Truck of the Year, the recall affects just under 2,000 vehicles build between July 15 and December 13 of last year and sold in both the U.S. and Canada.

Customers will begin being notified on February 14th, and Ford dealers will not sell any of the affected vehicles until a new mechanism has been installed.

[Source: Detroit News]

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Ford Explorer Review Here

 |  Jan 10 2011, 9:24 AM

The 2011 Ford Explorer beat out the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee to win the North American Truck Of The Year award. The winner was announced at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, where the Chevrolet Volt was also announced as the Car of the Year.

Ford took the honors last year with their Transit Connection van in 2010 and the F-150 in 2009. The Explorer is all new for 2011, with a new car-based platform, rather than the truck chassis that underpinned the car throughout its life since its introduction in 1991. 49 journalists from the United States and Canada voted on the award.

Read Autoguide’s review of the 2011 Ford Explorer here

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 |  Dec 10 2010, 1:55 PM

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Ford has finally released the official EPA fuel economy stats for the new 2011 Explorer, carrying through on a promise to be an mpg leader with every new vehicle it rolls out.

That being said, the new Ford Explorer gets a rating of 17-mpg city and 25-mpg highway, a solid 2-mpg getter than any of its competitors – among which Ford includes the Honda Pilot, Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Grand Cherokee. AWD models are rated at 17/23-mpg.

In total, the Explorer is now 25 percent more fuel efficient than the outgoing 2010 V6 model and 32 percent more efficient than the V8 – despite being just 2-hp down on the old V8.

Ford credits numerous advancements for the fuel savings, notably a new V6 engine with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), a six-speed automatic transmission, improved aerodynamics and electric power steering.

GALLERY: 2011 Ford Explorer

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Stay tuned for AutoGuide’s review of the new 2011 Ford Explorer when the embargo lifts this Monday.

 |  Dec 01 2010, 12:04 PM

Putting a new spin on “reduce, reuse and recycle,” Ford has announced they’re going to give old blue jeans a new lease on life.

If you’re buying a 2012 Focus (on sale early next year in North America and Europe), Ford will be using cotton from recycled clothing for carpet backing and sound-absorption materials inside this car. Thanks to the recycled jean material, drivers will be treated to a much quieter cabin.

“Ford is continually looking for greener alternatives,” said Carrie Majeske, product sustainability manager. “Recycled content is a way to divert waste from landfills and reduce the impact of mining virgin material.”

This isn’t the first instance of Ford using non-metal recycled and bio-based materials in new vehicles. In vehicles such as the 2011 Explorer, the automaker uses soy foam seat cushions, recycled resins for underbody systems, recycled yarns on seat covers, and natural-fiber plastic for interior components.

In every new Focus, Ford will use the equivalent of two pairs of blue jeans in each new Focus.

“The good news is these jeans didn’t end up in a landfill, nor did we use the water, fertilizer, and land to grow virgin cotton,” said Majeske. “It’s an alternative that our customers can appreciate, it’s cost effective, and it’s better for our planet. These are the kinds of sustainable solutions we are looking for in all our vehicles.”

 |  Nov 29 2010, 7:19 AM

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Long before it has hit dealers, or even been driven by the automotive press, Ford‘s new 2011 Explorer is already shaping up to be a success for the Blue Oval.

Ford has revealed that it currently has 15,000 pre-orders for the new crossover, with 3,000 retail orders, 7,500 orders from dealers and 4,500 from companies. Again, 15,000 units might not sound like much, but it exceeds initial orders for the Taurus and the much-hyped Fiesta – and Ford won’t even begin marketing the new car-based Explorer until January.

Better yet, Ford looks to cash-in on the Explorer with half of all pre-orders being for the top-trim Limited model, priced at $40,000. On top of that, two-thirds are opting for 4WD, half are adding in Navigation and a full 87 percent are ordering their new 2011 Explorer with Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment system.

The Explorer’s name is certainly helping it gain initial sales, while the fact that a new Explorer is long overdue has led to a strong demand by current owners in need of a replacement vehicle.

Ford’s launch of the new Explorer couldn’t come at a better time either, with a resurgence of interest in the large SUV/crossover segment that has seen a full 25 percent growth in the segment in the third quarter, and the utility vehicle segment now representing one-third of all vehicle sales in the U.S.

GALLERY: 2011 Ford Explorer

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[Source: The Detroit News]

 |  Aug 26 2010, 8:39 AM

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Ford will build a Police Interceptor version of the new 2011 Explorer with the vehicle set to debut next week. LeftLaneNews has confirmed the crossover model will join the Taurus Police Interceptor in Ford’s lineup of offerings to law enforcement agencies across America.

No details are yet available, but rumors suggest the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine from the Taurus could be made available for this package, with an AWD system.

Ford currently has a 27 member panel made up of from different law enforcement groups that is advising Ford on just what is needed by agencies across America and how best to modify the current models in order to deliver Police Intercepts that best meet the needs of those in uniform.

[Source: LeftLaneNews]

 |  Jul 29 2010, 4:15 PM

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Ford is keeping up their relentless web campaign to help promote the 2011 Explorer, and they’ve released three new videos to demonstrate what their new SUV crossover is capable of.

The three videos highlight the Ford Explorer’s Terrain Management System, Blind Spot Information System and the Trailer Control System. All three are pretty neat, although the Terrain Management System and the Blind Spot Information System are respectively, a gussied-up all-wheel drive system and an increasingly common technology respectively. The Trailer Control System is pretty cool, and considering that 30% of Explorer buyers tow, perhaps the most relevant.

[Source: Ford]

Hit the jump to see all three videos

Continue Reading…

 |  Jul 26 2010, 2:36 PM

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Having unveiled the all-new 2011 Explorer earlier today, Ford has now announced pricing for its newest SUV-turned Crossover, with the reborn utility vehicle starting at $28,995 including the $805 destination charge. Along with the standard Explorer, Ford will offer a mid-level XLT model and a Limited, which will begin at a more pricey $37,995. Comparatively, entry-level Explorer undercuts the newly released 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee which starts at $30,995.

Based on the same architecture as the Taurus and Flex, the Explorer makes huge improvements in fuel economy, up 20 percent from last year’s model. This is due in part to a new EcoBoost 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 237-hp at 5500 rpm and 250 ft-lbs of torque from 1700 to 4000 rpm. A V6 engine is also offered, with 3.5-liters of displacement and 290-hp with 255 ft-lbs of torque. Both engines get a 6-speed automatic transmission. V6 models also come with Ford’s new intelligent 4WD system with a terrain management system that allows the driver to use a simple console-mounted dial to choose between settings for snow, sand, mud and a normal mode. There’s also a hill descent mode. This should help pacify most potential buyers looking for SUV capability.

As for the other supposed drawback of a crossover, well, the V6-equipped Explorer is rated to tow 5,000 lbs. While that’s not that close to the 7,100-plus lbs. the old V8 Explorer was rated at, it’s 1,500 lbs more than the old V6 model.

As for interior room, there’s a three-row setup and while we’ve yet to sit in the new Explorer (later today), sized like the Flex third-row room should be adequate. And even with all seven-seats used, there’s still a solid amount of space for groceries – with a total of 80.7 cubic feet of space with 2nd and 3rd row seats down. The first two rows also gain head room over the previous model.

Along with the new EcoBoost motor, innovations on the new 2011 Explorer include a seatbelt airbag on the outboard second row seats. This system expands the size of the seatbelt in an accident while providing some added cushioning – particularly important for smaller second-row passengers (ie. your kids). Other safety features include Roll Stability Control, Curve Control (essentially a more potent form of stability control that corrects understeer, rather than oversteer) and an emergency braking feature that will slow or even stop the car if an impact is deemed unavoidable. Another technology highlight is a cross-traffic alert system that uses the onboard radar system to look sideways to let you know if there’s oncoming traffic when pulling out of a tight parking spot. And let’s not forged Ford’s MyFord Touch driver interface system.

With impressive new sheetmetal that actually gives the 2011 Explorer a more truck-like appearance, there’s some worry that a third crossover (joining the Flex and Edge) in Ford’s lineup could hurt the existing models. That may be true, but Explorer sales are almost certain to return to record pres-recession and pre $4.00 a gallon levels. The reason? Simple, Ford has rejuvenated the Explorer. Most people who owned one didn’t need the truck capability and they’re sure to be impressed by the added on-road functionality of the new Explorer, not to mention the improved style, features and interior trim. As for those who do need more truck-like functionality, Ford’s intelligent 4WD system and impressive (for a crossover) tow rating should keep a significant number of truck-lovers (though not all) coming back.

GALLERY: 2011 Ford Explorer

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GALLERY: 2011 Ford Explorer Live Photos

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 |  Jul 26 2010, 8:05 AM

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When Ford execs announced that the company would revamp its lineup, switching from a product line consisting of mostly trucks to one where the majority of vehicles sold are cars, some wondered how this would be possible. Ford’s solution is to transform trucks into cars, or, more accurately, into crossovers. Using a car-based unibody platform rather than a truck frame allows for better on-road driving dynamics and often numerous other efficiency improvements. The usual down sides are reduced utility, like true off-road capability and towing capacity.

Based on the same architecture as the Taurus and Flex, the Explorer makes huge improvements in fuel economy, up 20 percent from last year’s model. This is due in part to a new EcoBoost 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 237-hp at 5500 rpm and 250 ft-lbs of torque from 1700 to 4000 rpm. A V6 engine is also offered, with 3.5-liters of displacement and 290-hp with 255 ft-lbs of torque. Both engines get a 6-speed automatic transmission. V6 models also come with Ford’s new intelligent 4WD system with a terrain management system that allows the driver to use a simple console-mounted dial to choose between settings for snow, sand, mud and a normal mode. There’s also a hill descent mode. This should help pacify most potential buyers looking for SUV capability.

As for the other supposed drawback of a crossover, well, the V6-equipped Explorer is rated to tow 5,000 lbs. While that’s not that close to the 7,100-plus lbs. the old V8 Explorer was rated at, it’s 1,500 lbs more than the old V6 model.

As for interior room, there’s a three-row setup and while we’ve yet to sit in the new Explorer (later today), sized like the Flex third-row room should be adequate. And even with all seven-seats used, there’s still a solid amount of space for groceries – with a total of 80.7 cubic feet of space with 2nd and 3rd row seats down. The first two rows also gain head room over the previous model.

Along with the new EcoBoost motor, innovations on the new 2011 Explorer include a seatbelt airbag on the outboard second row seats. This system expands the size of the seatbelt in an accident while providing some added cushioning – particularly important for smaller second-row passengers (ie. your kids). Other safety features include Roll Stability Control, Curve Control (essentially a more potent form of stability control) and an emergency braking feature that will slow or even stop the car if an impact is deemed unavoidable. Another technology highlight is a cross-traffic alert system that uses the onboard radar system to look sideways to let you know if there’s oncoming traffic when pulling out of a tight parking spot. And let’s not forged Ford’s MyFord Touch driver interface system.

With impressive new sheetmetal that actually gives the 2011 Explorer a more truck-like appearance, there’s some worry that a third crossover (joining the Flex and Edge) in Ford’s lineup could hurt the existing models. That may be true, but Explorer sales are almost certain to return to record pres-recession and pre $4.00 a gallon levels. The reason? Simple, Ford has rejuvenated the Explorer. Most people who owned one didn’t need the truck capability and they’re sure to be impressed by the added on-road functionality of the new Explorer, not to mention the improved style, features and interior trim. As for those who do need more truck-like functionality, Ford’s intelligent 4WD system and impressive (for a crossover) tow rating should keep a significant number of truck-lovers (though not all) coming back.

GALLERY: 2011 Ford Explorer

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jul 23 2010, 11:35 AM

By now, everybody’s patience is wearing thin with Ford‘s Explorer marketing campaign, whereby the automaker is obnoxiously revealing slivers of the Explorer’s exterior and interior design. It’s one thing to build hype for a car, but it’s another to have people inclined to hate your product before it’s even been revealed.

Ford has added yet another layer of tedium by choosing to reveal the look of the new Explorer’s grille after the car’s fan page hit 30,000 fans on Facebook. We hope predict that by the time Ford actually reveals the Explorer next week, the fatigue from the constant stream of teasers  that nobody will actually report on the car.

[Source: Ford]

 |  Jul 19 2010, 3:08 PM

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:

Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 16 2010, 11:28 AM

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While Ford has made the decision to turn the Explorer from an SUV into a crossover, it seems committed to making that crossover as capable as possible. Ahead of its debut, Ford has announced the new Explorer will get a “terrain management system” to help owners get the most out of the 4WD system.

After market research, and knowing full well that as a crossover the new Explorer will be marketed to less off-road savvy individuals, Ford wisely decided to do away with having to make drivers choose from two-high, four-high or four-low depending on road or trail conditions. Instead the next-gen Explorer will get a simple console mounted knob with clearly marked driving modes for normal, mud, sand or snow. Every mode will also be compatible with a new hill-decent feature, to navigate steep grades. Rather than use a traditional transfer case, Ford will use more advanced electronics to send power to each wheel. This will also reduce the overall weight of the truck crossover and combined with a new V6 engine will see a reduction in fuel consumption by as much as 25 percent.

See the official release and a short video demonstration of the system after the jump:

Continue Reading…

Ford to Add EcoBoost Turbo Engines to F-150, Explorer, and Flex by the end of 2010

With 90 percent of Ford models to get EcoBoost technology, are the Mustang and Fiesta next?

 |  Apr 12 2010, 12:14 PM
The 2011 Ford Edge will be the first vehicle to receive the new 2.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine
If you were wondering which U.S. automaker was making the biggest strides toward next-generation powertrain technology, wonder no more.
In a bold move, if you’ll excuse the reference, Ford will be introducing turbocharged engines on some of its largest and smallest vehicles by the end of 2010. Here’s our run down of the increasingly prolific application of EcoBoost motors in the Ford lineup:

If you were wondering which U.S. automaker was making the biggest strides toward next-generation powertrain technology, wonder no more.

In a bold move, if you’ll excuse the reference, Ford will be introducing turbocharged engines on some of its largest and smallest vehicles by the end of 2010. Here’s our run down of the increasingly prolific application of EcoBoost motors in the Ford lineup:

  • Ford C-Max: 1.6-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost (2010 availability, Europe)
  • Ford Explorer: 2.0-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost (2010 availability, North America, preview)
  • Ford Edge: 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost (2010 availability, North America, preview)
  • Ford Flex: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (on-sale now, review)
  • Ford Taurus SHO: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (on-sale now, review)
  • Lincoln MKS: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (on-sale now)
  • Lincoln MKT: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (on-sale now, review)
  • Ford F-150: 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost (2010 availability, North America)

Ford says they plan on having EcoBoost engines in 90 per cent of the company’s North American models. By 2013, the company will be producing 1.5 million such engines per year. That means you should expect to see the engine pop up in nearly everything, from the Fiesta to the Mustang. Dan Kapp, Ford’s director of powertrain research and advanced engineering says that they’re tuning EcoBoost to deliver better efficiency in future models.

“We are trying to get in front of the pack in leveraging EcoBoost for fuel economy,” Kapp said. “It’s going to be a trend in the industry, and we can’t rest on our laurels for one minute. We are going to keep wringing more efficiency out of EcoBoost.”

Other than EcoBoost, Ford has some exciting technologies on the horizon, including a fully electric version of the Focus, the promise to have 98 per cent of its North American models fitted with six-speed transmissions, and to have 20 per cent of its vehicles worldwide fitted with stop/start systems by 2014. Those systems, which turn off the engine at a stop light (just like a hybrid), can contribute to a five per cent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions.