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Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer (United States of America, 2011-present)

Ford > Explorer > Gen.5
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Review

Accompanied by a major social media campaign, the Explorer 2011 was unveiled on July 26th, 2010, on New York’s Herald Square. The fifth generation has a monocoque structure based on the D4 platform. Ford claims the 2011 Explorer has the best fuel economy in its class and its driving dynamics and terrain management system was improved. Safety systems and infotechnologies were also contemplated in this generation's updates.

With the new Explorer 2011, Ford attempts to follow the footsteps of the first Explorer, which is regarded as iconic in the sense that it changed the American way of driving, pioneering a large market for sports utility vehicles and being the bestselling SUV in the mid-size segment over years.



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Engine and Performance

Ford especially focused on improving the balance between structural strength and light weight. Also the SUV's fuel efficiency was enhanced, answering customers’ demands for greener and more economical cars. According to Ford, one major innovative factor is the optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine, which may improve fuel efficiency up to 30 per cent compared with the current V-6-powered Explorer, without compromising on performance. It still delivers 237hp at 5500rpm and produces 338Nm of torque. It uses direct injection, Ti-VCT, valve lifters and four valves per cylinder. Six-speed-transmission and a lightweight unibody-construction contribute to further enhance fuel efficiency.



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Design and Body

The design played a role in enhancing the aerodynamics of the Explorer 2011. It has a clean and modern design and flexible interior with three rows of seats and extended head and shoulder room. The headlamps are now similar to the Edge, Escape, Flex, Expedition and F-150 and the tail lamps were also revised. Another distinctive element is the grille which will finally receive Ford's three-bar design which is visible in the sixth generation of the Ford Taurus.

This front-wheel or four-wheel drive SUV provides seating for up to seven passengers, which can be transformed into 80.7 cubic feet of cargo space by folding down the seats.



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Safety

Features such as an Intelligent 4WD System and a smart Curve control, a Terrain Response System offer five driving modes (Normal, Snow, Sand, Mud, Hill Descent) which are designed to make the operation of the four-wheel-drive system more intuitive were included. To make rear seats less vulnerable, Ford developed inflatable rear belts that divide the impact force across the body which reduces the pressure on the chest area. The new Explorer features first-row and side seat airbags, an energy management system for height adjustable first row seat belts and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.



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Awards

The fifth generation of the Ford Explorer was awarded with the 2011 North American Truck of the Year. In addition to that, Ford's unique rear inflatable seat belts won the 2011 Best New Technology Award attributed by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.



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