Ford adds a new Ironman Package to Explorer XLT models, while Eddie Bauer and Limited models now come standard with Safety Canopy side air curtains and optional power running boards. Additional new standard items on Limited models include a reverse-sensing system, 18-inch machined-aluminum wheels, and auxiliary air conditioning. A DVD-based navigation system and heated windshield are now available on all models.
The Ford Explorer continues to be one of the best-selling sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in America. Originally introduced in 1990 as a replacement for the Bronco II, the Explorer quickly garnered wide consumer acceptance. It underwent a major redesign in 2002 and a lesser revamping in 2006. The 2007 Explorer represents Ford's new three-series strategy intended to simplify model offerings to the consumer. Hence, the XLS trim level has been discontinued, which leaves XLT, Eddie Bauer, and Limited trims in both two- and four-wheel-drive configurations. However, with the addition of the new Ironman Package available on XLT models, consumers still have several choices. The new package includes Ironman logos, an exclusive Orange Frost color, 18-inch machined-aluminum wheels, and special 10-way, leather-trimmed, heated front seats.
The Explorer maintains its robust truck-type, body-on-frame chassis, which contributes to its potent 1,520-pound payload capability and 7,290-pound maximum towing capacity. It is the same platform found underneath its Mercury Mountaineer counterpart. The midsize SUV can seat up to 7 passengers with the addition of an optional third-row seat, which is available with a convenient power-fold feature. Thanks to a unique independent rear suspension design, the Explorer has a lower center of gravity, which enhances vehicle handling.
The Explorer comes with two engine choices. Standard is a 210-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. Properly equipped, it can tow up to 5,390 pounds. The other option is a 292-hp, 3-valves-per-cylinder, 4.6-liter V-8. The V-8 is coupeed to a new 6-speed automatic transmission that Ford touts as the first 6-speed automatic in the segment. It sports a wide 6.04:1 gear ratio that allows the engine to spend more time in its optimum powerband for improved performance and fuel economy.
The Ford Explorer competes in the Midsize Utility segment, which consists of 16 models. Buyers in this segment look for performance, reliability, and comfort, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Honda Pilot (152,154 units sold), Jeep Grand Cherokee (139,148), and Ford Explorer (131,759). The Ford Explorer's 131,759 sales in 2006 represent a decrease of 27.3 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Midsize Utility segment include the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Toyota 4 Runner, Jeep Commander, Nissan Pathfinder, and Dodge Durango. Joining the segment in 2007 is the Chrysler Aspen.
|XLT V6 (120A)||5 speed automatic||$25,370||210-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/21|
|Eddie Bauer V6 (140A)||5 speed automatic||$28,370||210-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/21|
|Limited V6 (160B)||5 speed automatic||$31,775||210-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/21|