Ford has released the new 2011 Ford Explorer, an AWD unibody-built vehicle based on the Ford D4 platform used on the Flex. This brings quite a bit of weight savings, and consequently gas savings as well (25mpg highway FWD, up from 20mpg for the old RWD and 23mpg highway AWD up from 19mpg in the old 4WD). Horsepower stays the same 290hp as the old V8 even though now it has shed two cylinders and 1.1 liters of displacement. It does bring down the tow rating considerably, but it can still haul a formidable 5,000 lbs which is more than most Explorer owner would tow anyway.
The most interesting point about this new Explorer are the engine options. Or should I say, “option.” Ford had been planning on offering both the TiVCT 3.5 V6 as well as the all new 2.0 EcoBoost engine, but the latter will have to wait or may never come at all. Either way, fuel economy is up in the new Explorer.
I still want to see a new Ranger. And if we can’t have diesel, maybe we could keep the 2.3 I4 for the base model trucks, and use the 2.0 direct injection I4 EcoBoost as the optional engine. With 230hp and 250tq it would have more hp and tq than the current 4.0 V6 and would bring fuel economy to around 30mpg highway even with a 4×4 5spd SuperCab like my current rig! Come on Ford, make me the truck of my dreams!