I just got back from driving Ford’s new Explorer, both on road and off, but I can’t tell you anything about it until next Monday. For now, I can tell you that the Explorer’s base engine, a 3.5 liter V6, has received a best-in-class (midsize SUV, V6 engine) fuel economy rating of 25 MPG highway. To put things in perspective, that’s 25% better fuel economy than the outgoing V6, which only managed 20 MPG on the highway. The 2011 motor makes more power as well: last year’s 4.0 liter V6 only managed 210 horsepower and 254 ft lb of torque, while the 2011 mill manages 290 horsepower and 255 ft lb of torque, thanks in part to Ford’s Ti-VCT variable camshaft timing system. Sometimes, technology is our friend.
If 25 MPG highway still doesn’t do it for you, the 2011 Explorer will also offer a four cylinder, turbocharged EcoBoost engine option. The EcoBoost engine is rated at 237 horsepower and 250 ft lb of torque, and is expected to get fuel economy rating around 27 MPH highway, which is more on par with midsize sedans than with midsize SUVs. Ford will launch the 2011 Ford Explorer with the 3.5 liter V6 first, with the EcoBoost turbo four expected to be available later in 2011.