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Ford Explorer

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About Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is widely regarded as the catalyst that started America's love affair with the SUV that began in the early 1990s. Certainly there were SUVs before the Explorer, but they were mostly utilitarian in nature. The Explorer was the first go-to SUV for the Everyman. Throughout its life, the Ford Explorer has delivered versatility, a reasonable amount of comfort, affordability and, perhaps most importantly, more style than a station wagon or minivan. During much of the '90s, Ford was consistently selling more than 400,000 Explorers a year.

As if part of a Greek tragedy, however, the Explorer became embroiled in controversy at the start of the new millennium. Models fitted with certain Firestone tires were found to have higher than average instances of tire failure and subsequent rollover crashes. Though the Ford SUV was largely exonerated in subsequent analysis, it never fully recovered in terms of sales or image. Ford has put all that in the past, however, and its latest Explorer boasts many improvements to driving dynamics and feature content. New or used, the justifiably popular Explorer should be part of any serious SUV search.

Current Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer is a large three-row SUV that can accommodate up to seven passengers. A 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower V6 is standard, while a more fuel-efficient 2.0-liter, 240-hp turbocharged four-cylinder is optional. Both engines are hooked up to a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional for the V6.

There are three trim levels: base, XLT and Limited. Though even the base version comes well-equipped, moving up the list provides luxuries such as leather seating, the Sync voice command system, a rearview camera, keyless ignition/entry and upgraded audio systems. Optional highlights include a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, adaptive cruise control and even an automatic parallel-parking system. Stability control and a multitude of airbags are standard, with blind spot and collision warning systems available on upper trims.

In reviews, we've found the Ford Explorer to be one of the best choices for a family-oriented SUV. It drives well, gets very good fuel economy for its class and still retains the versatility that made people like SUVs in the first place. Fitted with most of its optional high-tech features, the Explorer is also one of the most advanced SUVs available, luxury brand or not. The Explorer's most notable downside is that it doesn't provide as much third-row and cargo space as some rival large crossover SUVs.

Used Ford Explorer Models
The current-generation Explorer bowed for 2011. Among the big changes was a switch from body-on-frame to unibody architecture for more carlike driving dynamics and improved space efficiency. Not much has changed since, although the turbocharged four-cylinder engine wasn't offered in that initial year.

The third-generation Explorer ran from 2002-'10. A longer wheelbase and an independent rear suspension allowed room for a fairly accommodating third-row seat while also improving ride and handling performance. A 210-hp V6 was joined by a new 4.6-liter 239-hp V8, and both were matched to a five-speed automatic transmission. Initial trim levels included the XLS, XLT and more upscale Limited and Eddie Bauer.

For 2003, a few new trim levels debuted, including XLS Sport and the NBX (no boundaries experience -- we're not making that up). The latter came with all-terrain tires, special trim and a Yakima roof rack. An off-road package became available as well, complete with a beefed-up suspension and skid plates. The following year, equipment levels were shuffled, stability control was made available on most trims (previously it could only be had on V8 models) and Limited and Eddie Bauer models got a quad bucket seating option. The stability control system was upgraded with roll stability control for 2005.

For 2006, a substantial update took place that included revised styling inside and out, an improved frame, enhanced safety systems and a more powerful V8. The latter made 292 hp (up from the previous 239 hp) though the 210-hp 4.0-liter V6 continued unchanged. The V8 came paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission. Safety equipment was upgraded, too, as front-seat side airbags and stability control were made standard on all Explorers. More recent Explorers benefited from the arrival of the voice-activated Sync music/phone interface (2008) and a revised navigation system (2009).

In general we liked this Explorer and found value in the excellent ride and handling characteristics, comfortable and roomy cabin and, on V8 models, strong power and high towing capacity. Though later outclassed by newer crossover SUVs in terms of comfort and design, this Explorer is a solid pick, particularly if you plan to use a V8 model for towing.

Model years 1995-2001 represent the second generation Explorer. Though neither as refined nor as powerful as the generation that followed, this group is still a respectable choice for an SUV. For most of this generation's run, three engines were available: a standard 160-hp V6, an optional 210-hp V6 ('97 and later) and a 210-hp 5.0-liter V8. The familiar XL, XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited were the available trims, and there was a two-door Explorer known as the Sport. Editorial reviews of the time noted that the Explorer had a comfortable cabin and decent utility but fared poorly in terms of road handling and off-road ability.

The original Ford Explorer debuted in 1990 as a 1991 model, and it replaced the Bronco II in Ford's lineup. It achieved instant success in a market that it ultimately defined, if not created. Based on the Ford Ranger pickup, the original Explorer had the winning combination of size, style and utility that people wanted in an SUV. It came as the volume-selling four-door or a less popular two-door. Initially, just XLS and XLT trim levels were available. In 1992, an Eddie Bauer edition joined the lineup, and a Limited model followed shortly thereafter. For power, these Explorers had a 155-hp V6. Output went up slightly to 160 hp in 1993; this was also the year Ford made antilock brakes standard equipment.

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Ford unveils its facelifted Falcon finale with new XR8

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:55:00 EST

While its days may be numbered, Ford isn't just going to let its Falcon sedan limp out for the Australian market. No, the Blue Oval is releasing a refreshed Falcon for its final years, and it's lead by this, the new XR8. That's right, this dead-car-driving is going to go out on a high note.
Ford's global design DNA dominates the looks of the new Falcon, with a grille reminiscent of the US market Fusion and the European-market Mondeo. The headlights aren't a straight port, and boast their own unique LED running light pattern (at least on the XR8), but the overall look is strikingly similar. Out back, LED taillights highlight the rear of the Faclon. Despite the substantial new fascia, this is still a mid-cycle refresh. That means most of the rest of the Falcon's body panels are carryovers from the current model.
The XR8 model, shown above, arrives with a supercharged V8, allegedly displacing 5.0 liters. Unfortunately, details on the Falcon's mechanicals are in remarkably short supply. Ford has committed to a range of turbocharged four, as well as turbocharged and naturally aspirated six-cylinders, in addition to the V8, although specifics on those mills aren't available.

Ford Fiesta becomes UK all-time best seller

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:22:00 EST

We may regard Ford as an American automaker, but ask a Brit and they may tell you otherwise. The Blue Oval has, after all, been selling cars in the UK since 1903, and started manufacturing there as far back as 1911 when it began local production of the Model T in Manchester. Last year Ford ended 100 years of vehicle manufacturing in the UK when the last Transit van rolled off the assembly line in Southampton, but it's still the biggest-selling automotive marque in Britain.
Ford has led the British market for 34 out of the past 45 years, selling more Fiestas than any other company sells any other car in the UK since 2009... when it overtook the Focus. In fact the Fiesta has now become the best-selling car in British history, topping 4,115,000 units since its introduction in 1976. The previous record was held by - you guessed it - another Ford: the Escort sold 4,105,961 units over the course of its 32 years on the British market.
Although the Fiesta is no longer manufactured in the UK (previous versions having been built at Dagenham until 2002), engines are: the EcoBoost line was developed at the company's R&D center in Essex and are built at the factory in Dunton, while its diesel engines were developed at Dagenham in East London. Even the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine in the Fiesta ST is built in South Wales.

Ford books $2.6B pretax quarterly profit

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:00:00 EST

While its crosstown competitors at General Motors are smarting over a drastic drop in net income to $200 million in the second quarter, Ford has reason to celebrate. The Blue Oval has announced its own Q2 financial results, including a growing net income of $1.3 billion, a $78 million increase over last year. Pretax profits for the company reached $2.6 billion, up $44 million from 2013, but total revenue dropped slightly to $37.4 billion, down from $37.9 billion. Profits per share before one-time charges totaled 40 cents per share, beating Wall Street analysts' expectations of 36 cents a share.
Regionally, the Blue Oval performed strongly, as well. North America posted a record quarterly pre-tax profit of $2.4 billion, a $119 million increase. Europe also showed signs of turn around with its first profit in three years of $14 million after a loss of $306 million in Q2 2013. Ford is actually predicting profitability in the troubled region in 2015. Asia Pacific operations also performed well with $159 million in profits, up $29 million from last year. The only region where the business posted a loss was South America.
According to Automotive News, Ford also announced more precise plans about the changeover to build the aluminum-intensive 2015 F-150. In August, the Dearborn plant will shutdown for eight weeks to retool and its Kansas City plant will do the same next year.

40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler tax

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:59:00 EST



The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.
I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.

Ford's Galhotra succeeds Farley as head of Lincoln

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:01:00 EST

Ford Motor Company is announcing a major personnel shakeup that could have a dramatic effect on the future of the Lincoln division. Kumar Galhotra (pictured above), currently vice president of engineering at Ford for all of its vehicles worldwide, is taking over as the president of the luxury brand on September 1, replacing Jim Farley. The automaker is also hiring a new head of advanced engineering.
Galhotra has a huge job ahead of him as the new boss of Lincoln worldwide, overseeing product development, marketing, sales and service. His task is to turn the luxury division into a world-class brand as quickly as possible, and he reports directly to Ford President and CEO Mark Fields.
"These changes underscore our commitment to build on the success of our One Ford plan by accelerating our pace of progress. They also make clear we are serious about Lincoln as a world-class luxury brand and that product excellence and innovation are what will deliver growth and define our entire company going forward," said Fields in the company's announcement.

V6 engines will outpace V8s for the 2015 Ford F-150

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:26:00 EST

How times have changed. Even five years ago, who would have thought the mighty V8 would be just another engine choice for buyers of the 2015 Ford F-150?
Ford is projecting about 28 percent of the next-generation trucks will have the 5.0-liter V8. That's nothing to sneeze at, but consider this: Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines - the new 2.7-liter V6 and the existing 3.5-liter V6 - will also each account for about 28 percent of the F-150's sales (56 percent total). That leaves only 15 percent of the pie for the 3.5-liter (non-EcoBoost) V6. The new F-150 goes on sale late this year.
Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines will each account for about 28 percent of the F-150's sales.

2015 Ford F-150 specs revealed, EcoBoost 2.7L to make 325 hp and 375 lb-ft [w/video]

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:33:00 EST

Our new man Greg Migliore is in attendance at a Ford media event at the Blue Oval's Dearborn, MI headquarters today, and he's reported in with a handful of the 2015 F-150 stats that we've been dying to know. Ford is slow-playing the news release here, but we can still offer up some interesting output and performance figures after half-year of waiting.
We have all be quite aware that Ford's shift to aluminum construction would save a lot of weight for F-150 models, and the results we're hearing now are duly impressive. For instance: in Super Crew trim, a 2015 F-150 is a whopping 732-pounds lighter than was its closest 2014-model-year equivalent. That's like hauling three middle-aged dudes to your bowling alley's league night for free. Polish your balls, guys.
Ford isn't willing to offer up any actual curb weights just yet, but if we take that 732-pound loss and extrapolate with the 5,128-pound curb weight of the 2014 F-150 Super Crew with the 3.7-liter V6, we can guesstimate that 2015 models will measure out in the 4,400-pound range. That's impressive.

2015 Ford Expedition

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:57:00 EST

While the tide of bigger-is-better SUVs has been in recession since, well, the recession, fullsize utes are still very much with us. Conservative creatures that have been loathe to evolve, fullsize SUVs nonetheless remain enduringly popular among large families, livery customers, and anyone with lots of friends, relatives, and toys to tug around. With respect to Toyota and Nissan, the only players that really matter in the segment are the new-for-2015 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, the GMC Yukon/Yukon XL, and this truck: the Ford Expedition, the latest evolution of which we just drove for the first time at a press preview in West Virginia.
Unlike the General Motors utilities, the standard Expedition and the long-wheelbase Expedition EL are not all-new, but rather are heavily refreshed versions of the same basic truck Ford started selling way back in 2007. The front fascia is where most of the exterior update happens for 2015, with a new three-bar grille design, halogen projector headlamps, and new bumper design with available LED foglamps. Despite all the new bits, the facelift breaks exactly zero ground in terms of design; in fact, it already looks dated, and will only look older once the macho 2015 F-150 bows later this year. Even less has changed out back, where the tailgate gets a wide chrome band spanning the taillamps and a new chrome exhaust tip. Other exterior changes are generally limited to colors and an all-new wheel lineup that includes a gleaming set of six-spoke 22-inch polished wheels on high-end models.
Speaking of high-end models, a new Platinum trim is positioned above the cowboy-spec King Ranch model for 2015. Both the Platinum and King Ranch get their own color combos and exterior trim finishes (satin metal for the Platinum, chrome everywhere and ginormous badges for the King Ranch) and posh, leather-lined interiors with their own aesthetic. The Expedition family also now includes a price-leading XL model, as well as XLT and Limited grades.

Ford considering return to Le Mans with new EcoBoost LMP2

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:31:00 EST

If you want to see a Ford racing prototype, you need look no further than the United SportsCar Championship, where the Blue Oval fields two Daytona Prototypes powered by an EcoBoost-branded 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. But according to the latest rumors, that may not be enough for Ford, which has as much brand to promote overseas as it does back home.
That could be why Racer magazine is reporting that Ford may be poised to return to Le Mans in the coming years. As we all know, Ford competed at Le Mans in the mid-through-late '60s, bringing home four consecutive overall wins with the legendary GT40. The new program would not, according to Racer, seek to relive those glory days, but would instead compete for class wins in the LMP2 category.
Currently, LMP2 regulations are somewhat split between the United SportsCar Championship in North America on the one hand and ACO-sanctioned series like the European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship on the other, but plans are underway for the regulations to be unified in time for the 2017 season. That could be when Ford is targeting its return, allowing it to compete on both sides of the Atlantic to maximize its exposure.

Former Ford president, Jaguar chairman Nick Scheele dead at 70

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 17:01:00 EST

We have the privilege here at Autoblog of reporting a lot of good news, but it is our duty as well to report the bad news and sad news as well. And this is one of those occasions as the automotive industry mourns the passing of one of its leaders.
Nick Scheele was born in the UK in 1944 and joined the Ford Motor Company upon graduating from the University of Durham in 1966, staying within the Blue Oval's portfolio for the entirety of his career. After moving to North America in 1978, he rose through the ranks to become president of Ford's Mexican operations in 1988. After acquiring Jaguar, Ford appointed Scheele as its chairman.
Scheele subsequently acted as chairman of all of Ford's European operations, making difficult decisions to take the division out of the red and into the black. He briefly headed up Ford's North American division before he was appointed in 2001 as president and chief operating officer of the global automaker, working under CEO Bill Ford following the departure of Jacques Nasser departure and retaining the role until his retirement in 2005.