Car Tech Video: 2011 Ford Explorer
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Car Tech Video: 2011 Ford Explorer

2:35 /

Winner of the Truck of the Year award, Ford unveils a redesign of the Explorer at the Detroit auto show.

-You know, Ford's Explorer was a huge seller for eons, not until a few things changed. Gas went through the roof. The economy went through the floor and we kinda lost our appetite for SUVs, especially truck-based ones. This is the new Explorer, 2011 going forward. It's a unibody vehicle, doesn't tow nearly as much as the old Explorer did, but it does a lot of other things well, and no V8 available anymore. 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6, that's Ford's latest advanced valve train V6; does 290 horse, 255 foot-pounds of torque, and 17/25 mpg or 23 if you get all-wheel drive; way different on the vehicle; much more smoothed out, rounded, and, of course, picking up the latest look of Ford's face. Let's go inside for a second. Now, a lot more car-like inside than in the Explorer you remember. It's got Ford's look and feel on the wheel, and here's the MyFord Touch Dual Controllers here. They have their own screen, the 8-inch LCD up here. It's got a Sony touch-panel radio. Some of this touch stuff has gotten a little bit fuzzy on Fords lately, but hopefully, they've got it all calibrated real nicely; but really good materials in here. It's also available with a lot of tech that is more car-like. You've got adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, cross-traffic alert when you're backing out of a blind driveway into traffic. It'll also have those inflatable seat belts I've shown you before. Those will be available in the rear seat. They say they put them there because often teenagers hate to wear belts. So these, they think, will be more comfortable, plus, when they deploy, they're a lot less damaging to your ribcage. Also, this is one of the first vehicles to have the new Ford MyKey technology, which lets you set things like top speed, block explicit satellite channels, keep the radio from going on until the seat belt's connected, and limit volume to 44%. You know what all those are aimed at--right, your kids. And there's still boasting that rear seat dual DVD systems, which are kinda yesterday's groceries right now. So, I'm dying to see an iPad dock or something instead. Oh, check this out. Rather Land Rover-ish, you have Terrain Management System I think they call it; let's you simply dial-in one of 4 different profiles for how the whole 4-wheel drive drivetrain is behaving. This is very Land Rover. You've got standard. You've got, what is that? Kinda mud and rut. This looks like sandy loney, and this is probably snowy. And there's even notches in between there, so, you can really get this thing into just the kind of drive mode you want. So, all that stuff, plus the new styling, plus the better efficiency is what got this guy North American Truck of the Year here at the Detroit Show this week.

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