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Is this the 2012 Ford Explorer?


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Is this the 2012 Ford Explorer?

by Damon Lavrinc (RSS feed) on Jun 3rd 2010 at 11:26AM

We're going to go out on a limb and say... most likely Judging by the recent teasers and previous spy shots, this single image of the 2012 Ford Explorer appears to be the real deal. And we like what we see.

Although the futuristic lines of the Explorer America Concept have been considerably toned down, the new crossover is notably more svelte than its predecessors. The exterior styling is more an amalgamation of current FoMoCo design cues, specifically the Edge-like headlamps and de-chromed tri-bar grille. The contouring on the front bumper is an interesting touch and the darkened A-pillars do their best wrap-around windshield impression.

If all goes according to plan, the all-new Explorer should arrive early next year, riding on a Flex/Taurus-based unibody platform with EcoBoost power being sent to either the front or all four wheels.



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By Mark Kleis

Ford has been building the anticipation for its long overdue all-new Explorer for several months, including giving the world a few sneak peaks on Facebook of what the next Explorer will look like.

But now, it appears as if a member of The Mustang Source forum has acquired a partial side profile shot, as well as a complete front 3/4 digital image that appears to be a true representation of the next Explorer.

The first teaser image was posted on Ford’s Explorer Facebook page to introduce the vehicle’s Chief Engineer, Jim Holland. Although it’s not really much more revealing than any of our earlier spy photos, it does show off a little of the Explorer’s new headlamps and it confirms that a production model will be shown soon as the automaker seeks to build attention.

Now, the images posted on The Mustang Source appear to be of the same vehicle previously teased, and also match the spy images we have captured over the last year. the only thing that is unclear at this point is whether the Explorer will come to market as a 2011, or 2012 model year.

Sources revealed to Leftlane that the most likely option at this point is a 2012 model year, allowing Ford to make a final run of 2011 model year runs with the current body style before making an early to mid-2011 calender year release of the 2012 Ford Explorer.

2011(2) Explorer gains traction

Ford says the new traction control system for the 2011 Explorer will make it easy for drivers to select the appropriate road conditions, which will allow the system to adjust traction control engagement.

Ford says that the new traction control system will come standard on all 4×4 models, which the automaker says make up roughly half of its model sales. The system replaces the Control Trac system which reportedly confused some drivers, having the choice between: automatic, high, or low traction. The new system, originally developed by former Ford subsidiary Land Rover, is intended to give drivers more intuitive choices, in additional to a wider array of choices.

The system will make changes to the vehicle’s behavior for the engine, transmission, brakes, wheel rotation speed and more. Ford says this will help drivers in unfamiliar driving conditions, such as snow or sand. When in snow, for example, the system will use more braking to slow the wheels down, where as in sand the system would aim to keep constant wheel movement to avoid becoming stuck.

“People…want an SUV to have the capability to go off road, but because they don’t do it a lot, they don’t know how,” Holland told the AP in a recent interview. “We just want them to feel capable.”

In addition to gaining Land Rover-sourced traction control, the new Explorer will also borrow hill descent assist system, found on the F-150 and F-150 Raptor. This system, engaged by a button found in the middle of the traction control dial, will automatically apply brakes and adjust engine output to slowly descend hills.

(More after video)

2011 Explorer: What we know so far

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 SUV has always ridden on a body-on-frame chassis, the next 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.

With the recent death of Mercury announced it is safe to say there will be no Mercury Mountainer based on the new Explorer, nor is a Lincoln variant expected. We’ve also learned there will be no Sport-Trac model. Watch for production to start late this year at Chicago’s Torrence Avenue assembly plant. As for a formal introduction? We anticipate that Ford will take the wraps off of its SUV later this summer.



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I"m trying to figure out why Ford needs the Edge, Escape, Flex, and Explorer, yet can't continue with Mercury.

because that would take more imagination - something Ford apparently lacks

& never (since 1970?) had enough of to "get" Mercury's potential

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thing is, that explorer in this new pic is what people want, especially old explorer customers. the explorer name and new running gear will double sales. and outsell the flex. GM has all the lambdas but i dont see ya criticizing that.

mercury was not needed anymore.

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They must be banking on a resurgence in the SUV/CUV market.

And not a wagon resurgence. All in all it looks nice but then I liked Taurus X also. Maybe GM should remake the Azteck for um oh wait uh maybe GMC the Professional Grade truck line?????? :stupid:

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I break Ford's SUV/crossovers down like this.

Trendy polarizing crossovers

2 row = edge

3 row = flex

Both are clearly corssovers and both have pretty unique extroverted styling.

Tradtional SUV segment

Escape = compact

Explorer = mid

Expedition = large

Now I know the escape and the new explorer aren't real BOF SUVs but the escape has always been the explorer's little brother and has a traditional SUV like look and despite it unibody underpinning so will the new explorer that actually has some real offroad hardware. Nobody will mistake it for an SVT raptor but with all the landrover tech they plan on putting in it the explorer should be a competent light duty off road vehicle that does very well on road in adverse conditions.

My brothers family's third kid is arriving this week and they will need to upgrade from the Saturn Vue they have pretty soon as the kids are getting older and bigger and can't squish into one row. My brother is set on buying a ford after his positive ownership experience with his mustang. He and his wife love the edge but its only 2 rows so it doesnt make sence. They like the flex practically speaking but hate it asthetically (polarizing styling.) I showed my brother this image of the new explorer and he said 90 percent chance this is what he and his wife are going to get.

My point is, there is room for all the cuv/suv in Fords stable.

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Looks like a weak rehash of past failed efforts in the rendering, bleh.

We have a winner!!!

2012 Ford Explorer Illustration the Real Deal? Nope, it's a CGI by Josh Byrnes.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

You may be wondering if this rendering of the 2012 Ford Explorer SUV that appeared on several automotive sites / weblogs is real. While the illustration appears to very close to the prototypes we've seen in spy shots (as well as the official teaser picture), a quick search on the internet reveals that it's actually a CGI or Computer Generated Image that was made by Josh Byrnes for Australian website 'Caradvice'.



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edge is two row and sporty.

flex is a minivan.

explorer is a traditional now 3 row suv mainstream size.

expedition is truck based.

escape sells like hotcakes and will probably downsize a bit in the future.

i see no confusion.

mercury was no longer needed since their independent dealers were toast, lincoln needs a boost (no pun), and all that.

Edited by regfootball
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lincoln should be MKr, MKx, MKz. I'd like to see something revive the town car but that'll never happen. Instead they will prob add a compact.

MKx, MKt, maybe it wouldn't hurt to have a smaller crossover but I don't see demand for that.

Lincoln may want an image car. A coupe or a sports car. Or a converitble.

I totally would have been fine if they kept Merc around a little longer with just the Fusion and Mariner that'd been ok.

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