We know you've been waiting for it, and here it is: The Ford Explorer America Concept. Besides being a preview of the next generation Explorer and a look at future technologies, this lone concept stands out as the strongest indicator of where Ford is going and the greatest repudiation of the past. Just look at the name: Ford Explorer America. No longer the America of Toby Keith kicking someone in the ass with a boot and then shoving gasoline down their throat, the new Ford Explorer concept features no V8 or body-on-frame design. Instead, this concept gets a pair of EcoBoost engines and unit-body construction. The first powerplant is a 2.0-liter GTDI four cylinder good for 275 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, the second is the 3.5-liter V6 which produces 340 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are more powerful and 30% and 20% more efficient than previous models. Oh, there's also a 3D compass and sliding doors in there somewhere. We'll bring more details from the Detroit Auto Show, in the meantime the photos and press release below the jump.
FORD TO REVEAL NEW FUEL-SAVING CONCEPT IN DETROIT
The Ford Explorer America concept showcases a new kind of utility for the vehicle customers have known and loved for years: even better fuel efficiency.
"Customers are smart. They value vehicles - the more efficient, the better," said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president of Marketing and Communications. "Ford gets it.
"Innovative technologies can transform people's favorite vehicles. Look at SYNC, the Ford system that connects people and their favorite portable devices, including media players and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, while in their vehicles."
Technologies and engineering innovations help Explorer America concept deliver an approximately 20 to 30 percent fuel-economy improvement, depending on engine selection, while providing room for six and their gear as well as moderate towing and off-roading capabilities.
This smarter utility concept simplifies Ford Motor Company's systems approach for delivering sustainable vehicles, specifically demonstrating:
* A powertrain lineup that includes a 4-cylinder 2-liter engine with EcoBoost technology delivering 275 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque or, as a premium engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 delivering about 340 hp. Depending on engine selection, fuel-efficiency will improve by 20 to 30 percent versus today's V-6 Explorer.
* Migration from current body-on-frame to unibody construction, reducing weight and delivering superior driving dynamics.
* A fuel-efficient 6-speed transmission with auto shift control, allowing the driver to select and hold a lower gear with just the turn of a dial when conditions warrant it.
* A weight reduction of 150 pounds for the V-6 version thanks to its downsized - yet superior performing - engine, as well as more lightweight materials, suspension and chassis components.
* Fuel-saving electric power assisted steering (EPAS) and other engine actions that deliver a fuel savings benefit of about 5 percent. Between 80 to 90 percent of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles will have EPAS by 2012.
* In addition to its fuel-efficient powertrain and technologies, the Explorer America concept addresses how the SUV market has changed in the past 15 years.
In the 1990s, customers were drawn by SUVs aligned with people's adventurous, more rugged lifestyles. Today's consumers are more discerning, demanding products that are capable and flexible - but more intelligently executed.
The Explorer America concept looks the part, too, with a modern, muscular design language that belies its ability to harness today's active lifestyles. Its integrated three-bar grille, defined power dome hood, wrap-around rear glass panel window and sliding rear door give the appearance that this concept is ready for modern Lewis-and-Clark types to explore, from their own neighborhoods to the trail head.
Inside, intelligent features abound, including: single-touch stackable, sliding seats that allow for convenient access to the second row; a work table with seats deploy from the tailgate; and a three-dimensional compass and navigation unit with a topographical map built right into the instrument panel. [Source: Ford]