NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

2011 unibody Ford Explorer unmasked!

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2011 unibody Ford Explorer unmasked!

03/25/2010, 5:18 PMBY DREW JOHNSON

Our spy photographers spotted the 2011 Ford Explorer in the past, but never like this. Thanks to a strong gust of wind, spies were able to capture the first images of the all-new unibody Ford Explorer without any camouflage!

We can see the rear doors on the new Explorer are not nearly as squared-off as the current model. The cutline of the rear door also seems to reinforce the rumors we’ve heard of the new Explorer having a C-pillar very similar to the recently discontinued Taurus X.

Code-named “U502,” this all-new Ford Explorer is in for a big change. While Ford’s iconic SUV has always ridden on a body-on-frame chassis, the 2011 model will switch to the D4 unibody platform. Ford’s D4 platform, a moderately updated version of the D3, currently underpins the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT. Ford is hoping for a significant weight drop, and in turn, 20-25% better fuel mileage, by switching the Explorer to a unibody setup.

The two powertrains we have confirmed for the Explorer are the 2.0-liter four-cylinder Ecoboost and the regular, non-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. While the twin-turbo, direct-injected Ecoboost V6 could still find its way into the Explorer sometime after launch, it may only be part of police of package or future performance model, should Ford decide to produce such a model.

The 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder offering will offer around 230 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, while maintaining excellent fuel economy compared to the outgoing model’s slightly less powerful 4.0-liter V6. The premium engine, the 3.5-liter V6, will share new Ti-VCT technology for increased output and efficiency, with horsepower rated at 285.

With the camouflage completely removed, we can see the next Explorer will take on a much more aggressive look. A modern version of Ford’s three-bar grille is front and center, flanked by Edge-like headlights. Overall, the Explorer doesn’t look that much dissimilar from Land Rover’s LRX concept.

On the inside, expect three rows of seats, with the third row being jump seats.

One thing you should not expect with this new Explorer is a Mercury or Lincoln variant. We’ve also learned there will be no Sport-Trac model. Watch for production to start in the second half of 2010 at Chicago’s Torrence Avenue assembly plant, following a New York Auto Show debut.

link:

http://www.leftlanenews.com/ford-explorer-2011.html

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At first, I just looked at the pictures and my first reaction was that it was a rougher, tougher, 3 row-equipped Ford Edge. Then I read the story and my reaction turned to that it is a rougher, tougher Ford Taurus X/Flex :lol:

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Spy Shots: 2012 Ford Explorer caught completely disrobed

It's never good to be caught by the paparazzi in the buff. Unless, of course, that was your plan all along in order to get your C-list self some much-needed coverage in the various gossip rags. But we digress. Our intrepid spy photographers managed to snap off a giant series of photos of the hotly anticipated 2012 Ford Explorer completely uncovered, and that is a very, very good thing indeed.

For the first time ever, thanks to an unruly gust of wind, we get to see the first-ever unibody Explorer in all its glory. That looks to include a new take on the familiar in-your-face three-bar grille with newly perforated top and bottom rungs bisected by two thin chrome strips up front. Note, too, the mildly sculpted flanks that lead to the currently en vogue fastback-like sharply raked C-pillar. A closer look at the fascia reveals not-yet-completed projector headlamps ensconced in clear covers that angle well back into the fenders. Lookin' good so far, we'd say.

Though we don't quite get a good look at the rear fascia, we do get a clear shot underneath the car from the hind quarters. This is most definitely a front-wheel drive chassis, and though this particular mule isn't equipped with one, there will surely be an optional rear differential for all-wheel drive duty. See all the shots for yourself in our high-res image gallery below.

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/03/25/spy-shots-2012-ford-explorer-caught-completely-disrobed/

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It looks like the Edge. I wonder how this slots between the Edge and Flex, seems like they'd have some overlap in there.

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It looks like the Edge. I wonder how this slots between the Edge and Flex, seems like they'd have some overlap in there.

Seems redundant with them...I suppose the point is to offer a faux-SUV looking alternative to the CUVs..

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Looks like a giant Kia Soul. The concept looked more interesting...

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I agree with the suggestion it looks like a Land Rover. I like the looks of it in these photos, but it is another nail in the coffin of the "real" SUV. Let's see how it performs.

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If the explorer used to compete with the Pathfinder and 4Runner and those are being dominated by the Highlander, Pilot, and Lambdas. Then why didn't Ford benchmark those vehicles? This looks squaty. The others have grown up to look like BOF SUVs that aren't.

I think Ford miscalculated the market for this vehicle. They aimed at the crossover segment rather than the mid-sized SUV market where it was needed.

Edited by SingleStylish
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Maybe they'll have two versions of the Explorer, like VW has with the Tiguan in Europe: a "Sport and Style" model and a "Track and Field" version with more ground clearance and differential locks.

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If the explorer used to compete with the Pathfinder and 4Runner and those are being dominated by the Highlander, Pilot, and Lambdas. Then why didn't Ford benchmark those vehicles? This looks squaty. The others have grown up to look like BOF SUVs that aren't.

I think Ford miscalculated the market for this vehicle. They aimed at the crossover segment rather than the mid-sized SUV market where it was needed.

Yeah, Pathfinder, 4Runner, and Grand Cherokee are about the only ones left in the midsize SUV segment..everything else has moved to the crossover approach. I wonder if a CUV-style Explorer is redundant w/ the Edge and Flex.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Not getting this one both aesthetically and ideologically.

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I'm curious how this is going to be sized...sounds a lot like it's going to be an Equinox competitor, a big brother to the Escape.

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I'm curious how this is going to be sized...sounds a lot like it's going to be an Equinox competitor, a big brother to the Escape.

It's basically a restyled Taurus X/Freestyle.

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Many crossover shoppers want it to sit higher. The edge does but is only 2 row. The flex was a minivan replacement so it sits not quite as high. The new explored is dead eye aimed at say a Honda pilot. To be honest now after seeing this, I would be fine keeping my Taurus x, or moving on to a traverse. Or lose the third row and get a fwd eco boost 4 cyl edge.

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Taurus X is dead, Edge needs to go. The Flex should be replaced with the NG Galaxy.

Problem solved.

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I see Flex as station wagon suburban - > country, Edge as urban and Explorer as suburban - > country. On the GM side, I see the Thetas as urban, the Lambdas as suburban - > country (with Traverse having the broadest appeal) and the GMT900 SUVs as suburban - > country. With Chrysler, I see Nitro as urban, Journey as suburban, new Magnum as suburban - > country, Commander and Grand Cherokee as suburban - > country, Patriot as country, Compass as urban, Liberty as country, and Wrangler as urban/suburban/country.

There are niches based on the image the buyer wishes to project.

Edited by ocnblu
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Is it just me or does that thing look like it has a Ford Fusion grille with a Saturn Vue rear. Those rear windows totally look Saturn Vue like.

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the biggest sin on this design is the front axle jammed so far back against the windshield and passenger cabin.

i sure hope this thing is as big on the inside as a lambda, or a pilot, or else its rather a questionable proposition if it can sell for the prices they will be wanting.

Taurus X is dead, Edge needs to go. The Flex should be replaced with the NG Galaxy.

Problem solved.

flex is no beauty queen but the galaxy would be a total flop in this market. i don't think the CMax will sell either.

on the other hand, the edge is one of the most popular crossovers and so i wonder why you think that needs to go.

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the biggest sin on this design is the front axle jammed so far back against the windshield and passenger cabin.

i sure hope this thing is as big on the inside as a lambda, or a pilot, or else its rather a questionable proposition if it can sell for the prices they will be wanting.

Agreed.

flex is no beauty queen but the galaxy would be a total flop in this market. i don't think the CMax will sell either.

on the other hand, the edge is one of the most popular crossovers and so i wonder why you think that needs to go.

Something has to be done to eliminate the overlap in Ford's portfolio here. My thinking here is that Flex and Galaxy should be combined for all NG models like Ford is doing for the Fusion and Mondeo.

And if this and the Edge are similarly sized, then what's the point?

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