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Posts Tagged ‘explorer review’

First Drive: 2013 Ford Explorer Sport

Big crossover conquers the only jungle that really matters.

by on Nov.30, 2012

The Ford Explorer Sport is the perfect vehicle for conquering the concrete jungle.

The Ford Explorer Sport is the perfect vehicle for conquering the concrete jungle.

It’s a jungle out there and you need a vehicle that can handle it. Pitted trails, obstacles to avoid, narrow spots to fit through.

Yep, the parking lot can be a real test for any vehicle … Oh, you thought this was about the REAL jungle? As in vines, mud holes and “roads” that are more like deer trails? Ha, while SUVs may purport to go there, virtually everyone knows that the only time the large majority of these beasts ever leave the road is to enter the parking lot at the mall.

So it is with that in mind that we put Ford’s new Explorer Sport to the test. In fact, we subjected Ford’s biggest crossover – sorry, Ford may want you to view this as a sport utility vehicle, but it’s based on the same platform as a Ford Taurus – to the most grueling test possible: Black Friday shopping.

Back from the Jungle!

The test actually began with what became a reconnaissance mission on Thanksgiving Eve Wednesday night – go ahead, call us geeks – to Carson’s where we were able to scout locations for bounty which would become critical Thursday night/Friday morning.

As is typical these days, Black Friday actually begins Thursday night as families are wrapping up their Thanksgiving Day celebrations. So having a sure-footed CUV with a commanding driving position becomes important in the battle to avoid other motorists in their tryptophan-induced stupors.

There were presents to buy, deals to be had and mobs of people to be crushed by. Our Black Friday escapade was on.

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Crossover or SUV? It Doesn’t Matter Because New Explorer Impresses

by on Nov.02, 2011

Ford has remade its Explorer sport utility vehicle, giving it car bones, but also the tools to leave the roads behind.

So, what is the difference between a crossover and an SUV, anyway? In the past, auto writers tended to classify an SUV as one of the old-style body-on-frame bruisers. Real trucks, based on their makers’ pickup truck, capable of going off-road. They came standard with rear-wheel drive, with optional four-wheel drive, no, not all-wheel drive, we’re talking about a system where the 4WD is engaged either by a lever, or more recently with buttons or a knob.

Ford wants us to classify its redesigned Explorer as an SUV, not a crossover. If it’s a crossover you want, then Ford would like to sell you a Flex. But can this completely remade Explorer still claim to be an SUV? Based on the same Volvo bones that underpin the Lincoln MKT and MKS and the Ford Taurus and, yes, even the Flex crossover, base Explorers are now front-wheel drive riding on a unibody platform.

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Sure, much of this is just autowriter flimflam that matters little to the people who buy these rigs. When you boil it down to its essence, car buying revolves around three things: styling, capabilities and how it makes you feel. Oh, and we suppose the niggling issue of cost, and that whole price of ownership thing, has a little to do with it, as well.

So what about this Explorer’s capabilities? Not surprisingly, it handles better than the clunky old Explorer. The stiff unibody makes a big difference compared the old truck’s traditional frame.

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First Drive: 2011 Ford Explorer

Best-in-class?

by on Dec.13, 2010

The 2011 Ford Explorer aims to throw sand in the face of its competition.

Few products have dominated the market like the original Ford Explorer.  It was the poster child for the light truck boom of the ‘80s and ‘90s, as millions of Americans traded in their sedans, coupes, wagons — and later, their minivans — for sport-utility vehicles and pickups.

At its peak, the Explorer was racking up sales of as much as 445,000 a year, making it a single nameplate franchise bigger than brands like Subaru, Mazda and virtually every one of the German marques.  But for Ford, the good times couldn’t last.  And whether it was due to the Firestone/Explorer rollover debacle or simply shifting trends – as crossovers began to overtake classic SUVs – Explorer sales took a sharp tumble soon after the start of the new millennium.

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Through the end of November, Ford has sold just 51,000 copies of the outgoing Explorer.  But the maker is far from ready to write the old workhorse off.  Anything but.  The 2011 model is getting ready to roll into showrooms and it justifies the term “all-new” better than most launches we’ve seen in recent years.  It also offers the possibility that a new generation of buyers may soon discover the Explorer name – while past owners will be drawn to the showroom to check out what is arguably the best offering in its segment.

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2011 Ford Explorer To Be 30% More Fuel-Efficient

2011 Ford Explorer To Be 30% More Fuel-Efficient

by on Jul.19, 2010

The production version of this Explorer concept vehicle will hit showrooms for 2011 -- and deliver a 30% bump in fuel economy, the maker says.

It’s been a decade since former Ford Motor Co. CEO Jacques Nasser pledged to increase the fuel economy of the maker’s trucks and sport-utility vehicles by “25-in-5.”

But while Ford will be a little late in that pledge to boost mileage 25% in 5 years, it will actually exceed the former chief executive’s goal, at least with the next-generation Ford Explorer, which the company has announced will get 30% better fuel economy than the old SUV.

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Breaking News!

A key reason behind that improvement is the complete shift in the design of what was once the most popular sport-ute in the U.S.  Since its launch, Explorer relied on a truck-like, body-on-frame platform.  The 2011 Ford Explorer will switch to a lighter, more car-like unibody platform.

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