The highly-anticipated reveal of the redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer has arrived – a rebirth for a new generation.
The 2011 Ford Explorer has a sleek, new style, that differs from the boxy, somewhat unattractive body style of previous Ford Explorers. Ford found the perfect balance between what the Ford Explorer has been known for – ruggedness – and what the new generation seeks – style and efficiency.
Rugged, SUV-like features include: 4-wheel-drive, 7.9 inches of ground clearance as well as the advanced Terrain Management System developed in conjunction with Land Rover. Despite driving more like a car, the new Explorer is actually a full five inches wider than its predecessor, with seating for seven people and cargo.
Practical, car-like features include: car-based platform, a lighter and more streamlined body, fuel efficient downsized engines and several world-firsts in safety technology.
The safety technology in the new Ford Explorer is unmatched. It will be the world’s first vehicle to offer inflatable safety belts, for the two outboard seats in the second row. The inflatable belts spread the restraint load if triggered, reducing the force on any specific body part – and they also inflate high enough up to restrain forward head motion. In addition to an array of air bags, a number of electronic safety warning systems including blind-spot assist, cross-traffic alert, radar-based adaptive cruise control with automatic brakes, new SYNC with 911 assist and SOS Post-Crash Alert, and a new curve control feature that slows the vehicle as much as 10 mph a second (and illuminates the brake lights) if it enters a curve too fast, are all part of the safety features on the new Explorer.
Despite all of these great new features, the SUV stigma of fuel inefficiency still remains, especially with fuel costs a large concern in this economy. But Jim Farley, Ford’s head of marketing, is responsible for making sure the consumers understand that the new Explorer breaks the rules with more efficient gas mileage, with the new model getting 30% better gas mileage than its predecessors.
“My job is really to myth-bust, to really tell the story authentically and re-engage those people who lost the dream of the category,” Farley says.
The 2011 Ford Explorer has two engine choices: 1. a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine displacing just 2.0-liters and developing 237 horsepower and 250 foot-pound of torque, and 2. a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 with twin independently timed overhead camshafts and an output of 290 horsepower. The two engines are 30 percent and 32 percent more fuel efficient, respectively, than the previous generation’s V-6 and V-8 engines.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, the Explorer’s most popular years, Ford sold about 400,000 a year. Last year, Ford sold just 52,000 of it’s Explorers.
Mark Fields, Ford’s executive vice president and president of The Americas, says approximately 96% of American consumers know the Explorer brand name. But the primary reason they’ve said “no” to buying one is fuel economy, he says.
“We really want to take away the reasons people have to not buy SUVs,” he says.
Ford has high hopes for the rebirth of the Explorer, and used mass marketing efforts to get the word out. They built of anticipation of the 2011 Ford Explorer reveal and used major media outlets such as Facebook, morning television shows, live events across the country and more.
To check out the Facebook reveal, visit facebook.com/FordExplorer.
To learn more about the 2011 Ford Explorer visit Ford’s website at fordvehicles.com.