Unlike many of Ford’s newest products such as the new Fiesta and Focus, they have been keeping their new Explorer SUV under wraps until the last minute. The Fiesta and Focus were shown to the world over a year before they will arrive at dealerships. The all new Ford Explorer will start production later this year and we still have not seen the vehicle in production form. Obviously this is a strategy to make sure it is fresh and exciting when it arrives.
What Ford has been doing is slowly letting little details out in a drip drip drip fashion to build interest. They confirmed earlier this week that the all new Ford Explorer will have an EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine as its base powerplant. A V6 will also be optional. The new Ford Explorer will be built on a modified version of the platform that underpins the Ford Flex, Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS and MKT. In so doing the body-on-frame trucked based Explorer will be no more.
While its architectural lineage may be shared with cars, Ford is already showing it plans to differentiate the new Ford Explorer from its other CUV models like the Flex and Edge by announcing a unique 4WD system that is geared toward all terrain and all weather capability. The new Ford Explorer will obviously be themed for rugged individualism.
The new system Ford says will offer an advanced terrain management system that takes the mystery out of four-wheel drive by optimizing powertrain behavior for specific situations and road conditions.
“Talking with customers told us that flexibility and freedom to tackle any road, anytime is important to them,” said Explorer Chief Nameplate Engineer Jim Holland. “We saw the opportunity to eliminate a compromise by adding an intuitive and efficient terrain management system that can demystify four-wheel-drive control and enable the driver to properly match 4WD traction to the situations and road conditions they encounter.”
Anecdotal customer feedback indicated the potential for driver confusion with previous systems as to the best use of 4×4 high- and low-range engagement.
Ford Explorer with intelligent 4WD and terrain management eliminates guesswork, using simple icons to help drivers choose the correct setting at the simple turn of a dial for the climate or surface situation they may be driving. The icons depict the various settings to best suit driving conditions:
“One of our goals with the new Explorer is to deliver four-wheel-drive capability with easier and intuitively operated control,” said Holland. “The selectable settings are contingent upon weather and conditions, so the system is easily operated and understood. Ford terrain management makes it easier for SUV veterans, while making confidence-building Explorer capability even more accessible to segment newcomers.”
Employment of intelligent 4WD with Ford terrain management allowed Explorer engineers to deliver the “any road, anytime” capabilities that SUV buyers expect, while eliminating weight.
Less driveline mass helps the new Explorer with V-6 power deliver an estimated 25 percent better fuel economy than the 2010 model.
“Intelligent 4WD with terrain management works by optimizing Explorer powertrain and braking systems to best suit a variety of situations, allowing vehicle behavior characteristics to provide appropriate traction and driver control,” said Holland. “We anticipate the system will really be a stress-reducer and confidence-builder, especially when driving in adverse conditions.”
Ford says it will unveil the all new Ford Explorer soon and that it will go in to production later this year.