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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: Ahem...
By jah1subs on 7/28/2011 4:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it is interesting to see the differences in MPG and the five year fuel costs. This is the smallest ecoBoost engine that Ford is selling. I am sure that they are experiencing a new learning curve with each engine. This is part of the price difference.

That said, this engine could be put into most of Ford's line-up increasing gas mileage across the board. Remember that the Focus and Transit Connect currently both use the 2.0L 4 cylinder normally aspirated engine.

RE: Ahem...
By DanNeely on 7/28/2011 4:54:32 PM , Rating: 2
It might show up as a performance upgrade, more likely Ford will make a ~1.5L DI turbo to replace the 2.0 naturally aspirated engine in their lower end cars.

RE: Ahem...
By Spuke on 7/28/2011 5:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
The Fiesta is getting a 1.0L 3 cyl turbo (in the article). The NA DI 4cyl will more than likely be only in the Focus and the 2.0L DI turbo will be spread around in other vehicles (the Edge is supposed to get this engine too).

RE: Ahem...
By Jeffk464 on 7/29/2011 12:30:00 AM , Rating: 2
Screw that, the focus should get the 2L turbo with a 6 speed manual and sport suspension.

RE: Ahem...
By Spuke on 7/29/2011 12:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
Screw that, the focus should get the 2L turbo with a 6 speed manual and sport suspension.
The ST version of the Focus is supposed to get a higher hp 2.0L turbo.

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