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The 2012 Ford Explorer was shown to dealers at a meeting Tuesday, but confusion over the launch date of the vehicle put a damper on the buzz surrounding the pivotal Ford product.
The Explorer is a popular vehicle for Ford, but the new generation will change from a traditional truck-based SUV to a car-based crossover. Rather than the usual six and eight cylinder options, the new Explorer will use a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder Ecoboost engine with a six-cylinder option. It will also get a Terrain Management System, with 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.
Dealers likened the Explorer to a larger version of the Ford Edge, which would indicate a radical departure from the current Explorer. Sales of the current model are up 41% through April.
[Source: Automotive News]
Surely, being part of a much smaller company affords Land Rover employees certain…perks. Other than a company blog (rare for an automaker), it seems the U.K.-based off-road specialists also allow employees like Andrew Polsinelli, general manager of product planning for Land Rover North America to say things that would have been censored in a larger company.
In a blog post entitled: “Terrain Response or Terrain Management — Remember where it was invented,” Polsinelli begins by saying: “Naturally we’re flattered that our friends at Ford are planning to mimic Land Rover’s award-winning Terrain Response system for their upcoming 2011 Ford Explorer…”
Ruh-roh! But wait, there’s more. “You may have seen a new video that’s making the rounds on YouTube where Todd Hoevener, New Explorer Vehicle Dynamics Manager, is extolling the virtues of the Explorer’s new Terrain Management System. We would expect the Explorer’s system will work well; after all, Todd’s boss, Jim Holland, the Chief Engineer, Explorer Platform Program, spent three years working at Land Rover in the U.K. as Chief engineer for Range Rover.”
Zing! And what would a piece of feature marketing be without a subtle game of one-upmanship?
“But while appearing to be similar in concept…to custom-tune the engine and drivetrain to provide maximize traction — it won’t have the six years of sophistication and refinements of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system.”
After the jump is Ford’s official Terrain Management System video: