03 August 2010

New 2011 Ford Explorer priced from $28,190

USA Today

Having spent much of the day chasing news about the new Ford Explorer, we thought we should clear up some of the remaining questions about the vehicle.

Price: On Explorer's Facebook page, the prices are listed as $28,190 for the base V-6 version. The plusher XLT trim level will be $31,190 and the plushest Limited will be $37,190. Ford is yet to disclose prices for the four-cylinder version with the turbocharger, what Ford calls EcoBoost. But it will cost more than the V-6, even though it's a smaller engine. The 2011 Explorer goes on sale this winter.

Towing: The V-6-equipped Explorer can tow up to 5,000 pounds. The turbocharged version will tow less, but Ford wasn't saying how much less.

A crossover or a SUV?:
Ford Explorer goes from being a body-on-frame style vehicle like a truck to a car-like unibody, where the frame and body are combined. Unibodies aren't as heavy, so they save more fuel. Normally, that would classify it as a crossover. But Ford officials insist otherwise. "One-hundred percent sirloin SUV," says Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas. He says Explorer's four-wheel-drive prowess and go-anywhere spirit separates it from crossovers. He calls it "a very credible offroad vehicle."

Ground clearance:
Going from body-on-frame to unibody architecture lowers the appearance of the vehicle. That won't cut ground clearance by much. The new model should have 8.2 inches of clearance, compared to 8.3 inches for the current truck-based model.

Why it won't cannibalize sales from other Ford family haulers:
Explorer joins Escape, Flex and Edge on the list of family haulers. But Fields says it won't cut into the sales of the others because it is distinctive. Its three rows of seats for seven passengers sets it apart from Edge and Escape. Ruggedness makes it different than Flex, which buyers view as more of a design-driven hauler.

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