2011 Ford Explorer

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Explorer MSRP: $ 28360.00
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  • Uni-body chassis creates a much better ride over the Explorers of yore
  • Generous number of high tech options are available
  • Superb interior fit and finish
  • Improved fuel economy
  • MyFord Touch system doesn't live up to expectations and questionable if worth the extra cash
  • Feels like driving a bus
  • Not suited for gnarly off-road excursions
Ruling: Improved fuel economy, adept performance, and a comfortable interior combine to make the 2011 Ford Explorer a serious contender in a competitive class of mid-size SUVs and crossovers. Overall, it strikes a good balance between the rugged character of its predecessor and the car-like dynamics of a modern crossover.

The all-new 2011 Ford Explorer has been completely redesigned with better fuel efficiency, safety, technology, capability, and quality. The Ford Explorer’s standard powertrain combines front-wheel drive with a 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine, delivering an estimated 290 horsepower and 255 lb.-ft. of torque.

Available is an advanced 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 that delivers the power of a normally aspirated V6 without compromising four-cylinder fuel economy. Aimed at the SUV buyer whose top priority is fuel economy, this turbocharged and intercooled I-4 engine delivers a projected 237 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 250 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,700 through 4,000 rpm.

Each Explorer engine is paired with a unique six-speed automatic transmission, combining lowered initial gears for improved off-the-line acceleration and higher gearing for improved efficiency at lower engine rpm when cruising.

Explorer V6 models are available with an intelligent 4WD system that adds terrain management. The driver simply selects the appropriate mode for different types of terrain.

The 2011 Explorer features a clean and modern design that aims to please with a thoughtful, flexible interior package that utilizes cargo space in a clever manner. Cabin quietness and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control is another defining characteristic of Ford's attention to quality and craftsmanship.

The shift to a unibody construction platform enabled a reduction in road noise and significantly decreased Explorer body roll in dynamic cornering situations. Further safety enhancements include "CurveControl", a new feature that senses when a driver enter a turn too quickly and applies brake pressure to stabilize the vehicle.

CarReview's opinion of the 2011 Ford Explorer

  • Excellent highway cruiser
  • Spacious, well-appointed interior
  • Decent handling for a large SUV
  • Loads of available technology and safety features
  • 3.5 L V6 needs another helping of torque
  • More soft-roader than off-roader
  • My Touch system still needs work
  • Slurps gas

Verdict: In many senses, the new 2011 Ford Explorer is a definite improvement over the old model. Gone is the unrefined interior and clunky looking exterior, and just cruising around on the freeway you feel more like you’re in a luxury car than a large SUV. It’s when you actually try to push the Explorer, whether on or off-road, that memories of the under-performing old model come flooding back, which is really too bad.

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Reviewed by:

Review Date
September 21, 2011

Overall Rating
 3 of 5

Value Rating
 3 of 5

Used product for
Less than 1 month

Visitors rate this review
4.68 of 5, 19.00 votes

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Review 1 of 1

Price Paid:  $0.00

Year / Model Reviewed:
2011 Explorer Limited

Handsome exterior styling, comfortable and quiet interior, hi-fi Sony sound system, seat coolers, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning system

Engine works too hard to pull almost 5,000 pounds of steel, glass, and passengers. This also negatively effects gas mileage.

Terrain management system is only useful if the Explorer is outfitted with the correct tires. Stock tires are only good for pavement and fire roads that aren't too steep.

Didn't recognize my iPod when connected to the USB port.

Standard 3rd row seats take up valuable cargo space. I would have preferred more cargo space and less passenger capacity.

The redesigned Ford Explorer looks good on the outside and has a great interior that is comfortable, functional, and attractive. The standard 3rd row seats have a decent amount of legroom for full-size adults and useful if you bus people/kids all the time.

Spending $45k on a near-luxury SUV is a hard pill to swallow, even though all of the high-tech gadgetry is useful. Overall, I think Ford did a good job of making the Explorer competitive with the fancy SUVs/crossovers.

Similar Products Used:
Infiniti FX, Range Rover, GMC Acadia, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Acura MDX

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