Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Tough Jobs Host/Ford Spokesman Mike Rowe pulled the wraps off the 2011 Explorer earlier today in our very own Herald Square. The Blue Oval, which showed stronger than expected quarterly profits of $2.6 billion last week, skipped the traditional auto show reveal, instead relying on Facebook and public appearances like this one to get the word out.
The all-new Explorer, said to be the brand’s second most well-known nameplate behind Mustang, used to sell in ginormous annual volumes approaching half a million units just 10 years ago. Compare that to the roughly 50,000 Explorers sold last year and it’s plain to see that the new model has a lot riding on it’s well-sculpted shoulders.
Probably the biggest departure from previous generations is that the Explorer is now based on a car platform (also known as a unitized platform) and offers 4 and 6 cylinder engines in place of a V8. The move away from big engines and truck-based platforms (also known as body on frame construction) typical of SUVs like 4Runner, Grand Cherokee and Yukon is one that assures not only better fuel economy for stringent CAFÉ standards but also increased ride quality and noise insulation for American families who wont likely be taking their vehicles off road anytime soon.
Look for cool innovations like a Land Rover-esq terrain management system and inflatable seat belts in the back seat that help protect occupants’ heads and chests in a crash. The 2011 Explorer, which will cost a cool $1,000 less than the outgoing 2010 model, will be built at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant with start of sales slated for next Winter.
While we would not have selected white as a debut color, the new ute is handsome and we dig the rearward sloping roofline and wrap around rear windows. Weigh in with your thoughts on whether it’s a dud or stud after the jump.
Pictures courtesy of Dave Pinter