The 2011 Ford Explorer Unveiled

Ford finally unveiled the 2011 Ford Explorer and this one could be a game changer “Again”! From the sleek and well placed all new interior to the ecoboost engine that could produce upwards of 25mpg highway this vehicle has appeal. The 2011 Explorer is such a departure from the current offering that it is the same in name only. Since it’s based off the same platform as the Taurus and Flex, similarities are easy to see.

The 2011 Explorer is a departure from the old days in so many ways including styling, a car based platform and a new 4 cylinder with ecoboost that we predict will win over more and more buyers as time as sales move forward.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Before Ford unveiled its 2011 Explorer, I doubted the new SUV would be anything special. After all, Ford has been tweaking the truck for 20 years, so what new things could be left to try?

Turns out this could be one of those rare redesigns that is more like a rebirth, mainly because of what Ford has done with the interior. The Explorer’s cabin, from the smooth feel of the door handles to the attractive colors and sharp graphics on its central display screen, shows attention to detail found in some luxury cars, but never in a Ford truck.

Read the full article here.

(Photo from the Detroit Free Press)


Will the new 2011 Ford Explorer be able to carry the torch?

There are a lot of questions about the upcoming all new car based Explorer mostly because it has been kept a top secret for so long now. Will the Explorer and Flex be able to co-exist? Chief engineer Jim Holland is confident the new product will silence critics when it hits showrooms later this year. The anticipation grows and if the Explorer turns out to be a home run what does that do to Flex sales which are mediocre at best?

From Detroit Free Press:

Jim Holland, chief engineer for the redesigned Ford Explorer, which is expected to come to dealerships late this year, has faced naysayers before.

Holland, 49, was chief engineer of the Range Rover when a redesign of that SUV was launched in 2002.

“We got a lot of the same questions that I am getting today,” Holland said.

Mainly, those questions center on whether the new Explorer can maintain its ruggedness and towing capacity as it shifts from a body-on-frame truck to a car-based crossover. Ford still plans to market the Explorer as an SUV.

Read the full article here.


Why did Ford build the Flex?

Why did Ford build the Flex? This boxy vehicle was supposed to fill a gap in the lineup that was partially occupied by the Ford Windstar..ehhhhh do I have to mention the Freestar??? Even though Ford didn’t put huge numbers out there for the Flex to hit in regards to sales it has to be a disappointment for The Blue Oval. This Flex is so damn boxy and awkward it really turns a lot of us off and for the price tag you would hope for more better styling. (hint: Chevy Traverse or GMC Acadia to name a few)

It is interesting to see that Peter Horbury has been shipped out of the design studios for Ford after laying an egg with the under achieving big box Flex and has new assignments on his desk somewhere far away from Mulally’s office. This SUV/Crossover segment is huge and very profitable and Ford just blew it with this one. I know there are those of you who like the Flex and have even purchased one but how many of your friends or kids like it too? The Ford division is not in the business to design and build micro niche vehicles! (I just made up micro niche) Ford is and always will be a mass appeal brand and maybe, just maybe, the Flex box would have been better off as a Mercury. I know it would have been just as ugly but hey, Mercury is a very small division and isn’t expected to put up the big numbers like the Ford guys and gals.

The underpinnings of this car are actually solid and the new Lincoln MKT looks fabulous (even though the price tag is high) in a much better skin so maybe we’ll see a completely new Flex box next time around! Let’s only hope…


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