Review: 2011 Ford Explorer XLT AWD

Posted on 08. Feb, 2011 by in Auto News

Ask. Imagine, for a moment, you are a business Well, not just any plant. They are Robert Plant, and go anywhere you want, people who sing on "Stairway to Heaven". I'd rather not, You tell them. Never liked that much, to be honest. We sing a much better song that I'd much prefer. Called 'Kashmir', dontcha know. Much better that one. For years, you refuse to perform the song. You cancel a proposed Led Zeppelin reunion because the promotion company insists, positively insists, They play "Stairway". They would rather be playing "Kashmir". And since you do not really need the money, that's the end.

I suspect the people running that Ford can be a bit sympathetic to Lord's work. Your "Stairway" is called a four-door SUV Explorer. You might have heard of him. Sells a bundle that Explorer, although it is always a kind of hokey tune, a Ranger truck with a cap and a couple of rows of plastic-leather seats, sky-high towers on underinflated Firestones.

The Explorer was never a really great answer to the family station wagon question, so a few years back on the Ford Flex, the is an excellent answer. It should have overtaken the Explorer, but there were two problems. It was not really an SUV, and it was not an explorer. And since Ford, unlike Zeppelin Golden God, needs the money …

The first two generations of Explorers were basically pickup trucks. This is basically a car, to say that, it's a different version of the Ford beloved (and hated) D 3/4 platform. The company makes no secret, rather out all the ways in which D3 was updated for modern services in general and in particular SUV duty. Although remain the rocker panel cover doors and bizarre pattern QIX-foot space, the driver sits in an entirely new relationship with the rest of the vehicle.

Wide is the word here. The Explorer driver's seat feels almost centrally located. There are clear air between the seat and the armrest, with the door itself appears to be a foot and a half thick. The modern tradition of shoulder-rel sill is fully respected in the car as well. My dealings with the local Burger King gave me the impression that they had captured from an oubliette, passing money and food through a distant trapdoor. It is so far from the thin-door, narrow body 1994 original as you can imagine, and it is clearly designed to meet all the perceived security issues supposedly experienced by female drivers to yield.

My contract with TTAC allows me to make a "Xzibit" joke every month, so here it is: Sup dawg, we heard you like Audis, so we put an Audi in your Explorer, so you can feel smug yo while driving. Ford has not only benchmark the leading German interior design with this new vehicle;. They riff off of them active My favorite part? The power lock button. It is in a delicate, perfect chrome ring, which is then placed inside the glossy black speaker grille for the door-mounted tweeters. As complete planning and execution of the statement is simply Explorer inside a game for the Grand Cherokee. The Japanese and the GM Lambdas are not even on the same playing field, and you need to lease a Q7 with all the options if you want to see in the next round of the game.

Ford complete MyFordTouch system makes his second appearance for the debut in the Edge. Like the Edge, there is that odd cognitive dissonance between the pressure-touch home screen (as you can find in a modern automated teller machines) and capacitance-touch center stack (think iPhone or Droid). Also, the HVAC system is especially glove-friendly, if you're one of those hipsters who wears special gloves iPad. When you are one of these "people", feel free to cut back on Jalopnik and read today's editorial on hovercrafts, experimental aircraft, celebrity genitals, or whatever other non-automotive what they are doing today. If on the other hand, you a member of this beleaguered species are known as "the American parent company", you will simply worship the way it is possible to wipe out the entire console immediately with a damp cloth. No buttons means that see no column for dust, food, coffee or soda you. This kind of stuff matters.

Speaking of parenting for a moment … Let's talk about child safety seats. The Flex is a child-seat Superstar able to easily swallow two of today's monstrous rear-facing child seat body without cramping the other passengers or permanently disfiguring the seatback in front of them. It has. Also adult-sized seats in the third row, and many ways to get back there Only it minivans do better.

Do not expect the same property from the Explorer. There is a price to be paid for SUV styling, and in this case, the price comes in the form of a shorter wheelbase. Forward-facing seats are okay, as shown by my fellow stunt rider John "Trip" Baruth III, but put a child in the second line means inconvenience for the people sitting in rows one and three. But not for a single moment that any of the competition is a little better in this regard even conceivable.

By the numbers, the Explorer cargo capacity falls far short of the GM Lambdas with about 80 cubic meters of space max to 116, but the numbers may not tell the whole story. Real-world capacity probably is not that different, and the web forums are abuzz with allegations found by clever measurement and fractions of cubic feet of storage space. However, if you need the absolute maximum capacity, the Acadia and siblings are the ticket. The same goes for towing: The Explorer tops at £ 5,000. To be fair, however, would be a Tahoe or Expedition have far more Breakdown and Loading capacity at a cost that can not be much higher. My experience pulling my race car on an open trailer with my Flex indicates that the D4 chassis is more than up to the job, but that the transfer only feels sensitive. Serious towing with a sideways gearbox frightens me, and it should scare you, too.

I got lucky, a little snow and ice during my time with the Explorer, and I found that it is more or less as competent as the AWD Flex, that is competent enough. As with the Land Rover and Jeep, there is a "terrain dial" with four settings. I have not read the manual, but the settings are unique to

  • Truck mode
  • Spaceships and Railroad Tracks
  • Cactus Proximity
  • Huge snowflakes

By turning the dial produces a "click" and the satisfying feeling that one has chosen an appropriate response to a situation. If there is another effect, I could not see it. The AWD system behaves about the same in all circumstances allows a little slip in the front before the back sans subtlety. Apparently, the set of admissible wheelspin is different in every setting that Spaceship setting is strict, looking just in case the aliens police write tickets aliens road racing.

Speaking of which … There are no EcoBoost option for the Explorer, if you take "EcoBoost" to mean the fuel economy-optimized four-cylinder option promised last year or the full-speed-ahead Taurus SHO engine that Flex makes it so entertaining to operate. Instead, there is the single Duratec V-6 that powers most of the big Fords. It is fast enough, and it is ready to rev, if necessary, but if you want to push that you would be better off with a HEMI Durango. This is not aimed at the driving enthusiast station. Feel free to wave your pink slip in an Enclave or pilot, but your neighbors RAV4 shows his taillights.

Who is The Explorer client? Now, they have someone with a decent job. Ford is not a discount car company anymore, and it is trivially easy to say the $ 40K mark bust when specifying an XLT, not to mention the Limited. The typical "indenter" is probably female, upper-middle class, image-oriented. You may be a few children, or it may be an empty-nester. It is not the Explorer off road, but then again, only a very dedicated few ever did, and they were used truck buyer, not new-truck buyers. You will like the new styling – I was surprised how many positive comments I had a vehicle that I personally thought on the wrong side of the received optical generics – and they will worship the interior.

When Ford salesman in the mid-nineties, I have always struggled to draw in buyers Explorer Taurus wagon. I had a dozen reasons primed and ready to go in favor of the egg-shaped bull, crash of fuel for safety, with a touch of comfort thrown in. I've never seen one. If you are in the market for an Explorer, you're in the market for an Explorer, period, point blank. The Flex is a fabulous vehicle and "Kashmir" is a fabulous song, but in the long run … they purchase a "Stairway to Heaven".