Ford touts new Explorer’s 30% increase in fuel efficiency

A week before Ford Motor Co. will unveil the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer in major cities across the U.S., the automaker today confirmed the sport-utility vehicle will be 30 percent more fuel-efficient than the outgoing model.

Ford has been building up the crossover’s debut with Facebook teaser pictures of parts of the vehicle and a steady diet of snippets about features and attributes. The new Explorer goes on sale later this year, but the production model has not been shown on the auto circuit.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally will be in New York on Monday to make a splash in Herald Square with special guest Mike Rowe, who is host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs.” A simultaneous event is being planned in at least eight other cities including Dearborn, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles as part of an innovative marketing campaign.

Today’s news release confirmed the improved fuel economy. It will be achieved because the vehicle is lighter, more aerodynamic and car-based (from the Taurus family), and has an optional 2-liter four-cylinder Ecoboost engine, which means it is turbocharged and has direct-injection. The crossover also has a six-speed automatic transmission.

The current Explorer, with a 4-liter V-6 engine, is rated as getting 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg in highway driving. A 30 percent improvement would mean the new Explorer should get 18/26 mpg. Official figures will be released once the EPA completes its testing.

“The all-new Explorer will give a huge universe of existing and prospective customers the capability they expect and the luxury and convenience they want, all combined with the fuel economy they need,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas, in a statement.

In an effort to get as many miles per gallon as possible, the Explorer will offer electric power-assisted steering, battery management, fast engine warm-up and aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff, and amore efficientair conditioning compressor.

Safety technology includes curve technology that will debut on the Explorer. It is an upgraded electronic stability control system to better hug the road if a driver takes a curve too quickly and will be added to 90 percent of Ford’s light trucks and crossovers by 2015.

The public got its first look at the replacement for the body-on-frame Explorer with the Explorer America concept at the 2008 North American International Auto Show.

apriddle@detnews.com(313) 222 – 2504


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