All photos by Ford
The 2011 Ford Explorer is the newest beast from the Mullaly stable. Bullz-Eye.com had the chance to test drive this iconic namesake in a totally different package. The SUV segment has been playing to the crossover crowd, a trend the 2011 Ford Explorer follows with no apologies. The Ingot silver metallic looked sharp and confident and had us anxious to drive the new Explorer!
When I first took a look at the 2011 Ford Explorer it was obvious this would be a new beginning for a familiar name. The model I drove was an Explorer Limited 4WD with fog lamps, privacy glass in the 2nd and 3rd rows, dual chromed exhaust tips, roof rack side rails 20" painted aluminum wheels and LED tail lamps. There are more than a few similarities between the 2011 Ford Explorer and the 2011 Ford Edge and I found myself doing a double take when I spotted either of the vehicles on the road. Basically both have a sleek and modern look and are both eye catching. Ford has been building the Explorer since 1991 but has not made fundamental changes to the exterior in any of the previous redesigns. The body is a few inches longer than the prior model but with the sleek new styling I don't thing anyone will notice without breaking out a tape measure. This look is the look the Ford Freestyle should have achieved a few years back.
Our Explorer Limited was loaded with options including a 10-way power driver seat, 2nd row dual bucket seats with console, auxiliary rear climate control, and power fold 3rd row seating. The seats were charcoal black perforated leather and they were extremely comfortable and stylish. The interior of the 2011 Ford Explorer Limited is sleek with a wrap around feel from dashboard to the front passengers. The technology in the 2011 Ford Explorer is as current as any crossover on the market. There rest of the feature list is strong, including the MyFord touch system, SYNC voice activated controls, a premium Sony audio system, voice activated navigation system, power lift gate and active park assist. The Explorer is built on the same assembly line as the Ford Taurus so some of the interior parts look familiar. The new stylish switches and dials that Ford is using in the 2011 Explorer really stood out - sometimes those "little" touches can make a big difference. The best way to describe the interior in the 2011 Ford Explorer Limited is smart, clean and efficient.
Don't expect Ecoboost performance from the 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 in the 2011 Ford Explorer. The 6-speed select shift transmission is smooth but after driving the V6 Ecoboost in other Ford products it felt somewhat underwhelming. The ride in the 2011 Ford Explorer was smoother and more refined than in previous models. Our model was equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, electronic power assist steering, reverse sensing and rear view camera and HID projector headlamps. I really liked adaptive cruise collision warning device. It sounds an alarm when the driver gets too close to a vehicle or object ahead. Also a big plus for your driving safety is Ford's blind spot monitoring system on the side mirrors; I always look forward to this feature when testing a Ford product. The overall performance of the 2011 Ford Explorer Limited is geared more towards efficient driving but the Terrain Management system will let you venture off road.
Designing a new Ford Explorer from the ground up can't be an easy task. Ford took a chance and created a crossover that shifted from Explorer's past to meet the needs of the SUV driver today. I use the term crossover because the new 2011 Ford Explorer is more Ford Taurus than Ford F-150 – the changes are that significant. Rear wheel drive is history and front wheel drive is now standard. The truck chassis is gone and the car chassis is in. The initial drive in the 2011 Ford Explorer confirmed that the truck-based SUV of the past 20 years is gone and a smoother and gentler Explorer has arrived. Pricing starts at $28,995 for the entry level 2011 Ford Explorer but our Limited version stickered at $45,415. The Explorer Limited’s 17mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway will surely open the vehicle to a much wider customer base. If initial sales figures are any indication, Ford made a good move with this totally new 2011 Ford Explorer.
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