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2012 Ford Explorer

EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder  (Source: Dana60Cummins/Wikipedia)
The new EcoBoost engine option gives up 40 hp to the V6, but betters it in low-end torque and fuel efficiency

With rising gas prices and the government's keen eye on CAFE numbers, more and more fuel efficient vehicles are starting to flood the market. Turbocharging was once relegated to performance cars and diesels, but now manufacturers are starting to adopt the direct injection and turbocharging for their mainstream gasoline engine vehicles. Hyundai has found success by replacing its V6 engine on the Sonata with a 274 hp turbocharged inline-4. Likewise, Ford has found success with its EcoBoost V6 engines in the Taurus SHO, Flex, and F-150. 

Now, Ford is bringing a new 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder to the recently revamped Explorer crossover. While the Explorer is currently available with a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 that produces 283 hp (@6,500 rpm) and 252 lb-ft of torque (@4,100 rpm), the new EcoBoost generated 240 hp (@5,500 rpm) and 272 lb-ft of torque (3,000 rpm). The new engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and is only available with front-wheel drive models. 

Many people would likely give up the 40 horses for the added low-end grunt and the fuel economy increase. The V6 is rated at 17/25/20 (city/highway/combined) while the new EcoBoost four-cylinder is rated at 20/28/25. Ford says that these numbers better segment rivals like the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot.

Much like the EcoBoost V6 engine option (which is more expensive than the 5.0-liter V8), the EcoBoost four-cylinder in the Explorer will command a $995 price premium versus the V6.

"Today's SUV buyers place a high priority on miles per gallon, so Explorer has expanded its portfolio of fuel-efficient engines with an all-new EcoBoost offering," said Amy Marentic, Ford group marketing manager. "SUV buyers deserve efficiency with their capability, so Explorer now offers best-in-class V6 and four-cylinder fuel efficiency." 

Ford has seen the sales of its V6-equipped F-150s eclipse those of the larger V8 engines as buyers flock to power and fuel economy -- the company is hoping that that same formula works for the Explorer which has already sold more units in the first six months of 2011 than the old model did in all of 2010. 

Ford is also bringing an EcoBoost three-cylinder engine to its subcompact Fiesta.

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RE: Towing
By DanNeely on 7/28/2011 11:35:09 AM , Rating: 2
As long as the standard v6 remains available I don't see much of a problem. Towing might be common where VahnTitrio lives; but most suv's are only used to carry people/cargo internally. It's not a problem for the general suburban yuppiemobile use.

RE: Towing
By Brandon Hill on 7/28/2011 11:41:41 AM , Rating: 2
You're right. Most of these vehicles will be piloted by moms hopping curbs at Target ;)

RE: Towing
By DanNeely on 7/28/2011 1:11:02 PM , Rating: 5
Most of these vehicles will be piloted by moms <strike>hopping curbs</strike> who slow down to 1 mile and hour when approaching a 1 inch high speed bump at Target


RE: Towing
By mcnabney on 7/28/2011 2:24:39 PM , Rating: 2
That 2000 pound towing sounds stupid-low. My 4cyl 2.5L Mazda 5 can tow that much.

RE: Towing
By THEfog on 7/29/2011 2:08:44 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah something about that number seems way to low. My 4Cyl 2.89L B2600 Is rated for 5000 Pounds and its simply a rear wheel drive Tradie ute.

RE: Towing
By AssBall on 7/28/2011 2:40:03 PM , Rating: 2
I read that they completely lost any resemblance of off road capability too. Too bad, I guess this is what is sorta happening to the 4 runner too though.

RE: Towing
By mindless1 on 7/28/2011 9:59:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's only available with front wheel drive, so yes of course there's no off-road capability.

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