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
Ford has seen the sales of its V6-equipped
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.