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2011 North American Truck of the Year – Ford Explorers

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The Ford Explorer is the 2011 North American Truck of the Year.

Introduced at the North American Worldwide Auto Present in Detroit January 10, 2011, this award is taken into account the most prestigious product in the auto business as a result of the journalists are utterly unbiased of each other, working as freelancers or employees writers representing dozens of competing media retailers in the U.S. and Canada. New Automotive Check Drive is proud to be amongst them.

A jury of forty nine automotive journalists awarded the North American Truck of the Year title by way of a collection of votes for automobiles that have been new or considerably modified for the 2011 mannequin yr. When it got here right down to the three finalists, the Explorer gained by a large margin. The Explorer garnered 253 factors, leaving the Jeep Grand Cherokee with 138 factors, and the Dodge Durango ninety nine. Every of the forty nine jurors forged 10 factors, and they are often divided up.

All-new for 2011, the Ford Explorer is constructed on a unit-physique platform, like that of a car. Obtainable with a brand new three.5-liter V6 or a brand new, fuel-environment friendly Ecoboost 4-cylinder engine, the 2011 Explorer delivers wonderful fuel financial system for its class. The V6 is predicted to realize an EPA score of 17/25 mpg Metropolis/Freeway (although the federal company hadn’t launched the official numbers when this was written). An enormous cargo capability and roomy again seats make the Explorer a superb selection amongst midsize SUVs.

North American Automotive of the Year jurors showered the Explorer with accolades (see under), and we agree with them.

We have been impressed with Explorer’s handsomely designed cabin and the high quality of the interior. Underway, the new Explorer feels clean and refined, and it’s quiet. Briefly, it’s very nice and every little thing appears to work nicely. All three rows of seats are roomy and cozy. The most important grievance we might muster was the heaviness of the doorways, which qualifies as nitpicking. We think Ford deserves full credit score for the advantageous job it did in designing the new Explorer.

Nevertheless, we confess we voted for the Dodge Durango. Just one in 5 of the jurors agreed with us. So how did we wind up on the market on the range, on their lonesome with crickets and night time sounds?

We voted for the Durango as a result of we think it’s the best truck amongst the candidates that have been up for the award. The important thing phrase right here is truck. Right here’s what we stated once we forged our last vote for the Durango:

“The Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Durango are every worthy of the 2011 North American Truck of the Year title. Every is a powerful SUV. Every delivers the practicality we anticipate, however every stunned us with its high quality cabins and clean, responsive energy trains. Every is a wonderful selection for operating individuals round and hauling stuff. But every excels at totally different wants, and that’s much more excellent news for the discerning consumer.

“The Explorer is the most effective as a day by day driver. The Grand Cherokee is the most succesful in rugged terrain. The Durango is the best for towing. Towing a trailer requires the energy and stability of a truck, and many individuals have to tow trailers, in order that’s what captured my vote as North American Truck of the Year. The Durango offers the wanted energy with its obtainable 5.7-liter V8 and the all-essential stability with its lengthy wheelbase. A 2011 Durango is rated to tow as much as 7,four hundred kilos.”

New Automotive Check Drive correspondent Sam Moses praised the new Explorer up and down in our review, one thing he doesn’t do routinely. However he additionally stated this: “The 2011 Explorer is a looker. It really seems one hundred pc reinvented, Ford’s motto for the car. And it’s a car; we will cease saying truck for nearly each SUV now, and perhaps even cease saying crossover, as a result of they’ve nearly all crossed over.”

In different phrases, the Explorer is a car, not a truck.

Don’t get us flawed. We have now nothing towards automobiles and we aren’t suggesting crossovers are dangerous. Fairly the opposite: We think crossovers, these automobiles which might be a cross between a sport-utility vehicle and a car, are the good answer for drivers who need a fuel-environment friendly vehicle succesful of hauling the household with SUV-type room for cargo. Many drivers additionally recognize the elevated seating place discovered in lots of crossovers. We’ll go as far as to say most individuals ought to personal crossovers somewhat than trucks. It’s an excellent factor the nation is shifting away from the notion that trucks are a sensible choice for shifting passengers round. Crossover SUVs are lighter and extra fuel-environment friendly than trucks. Crossovers are an excellent factor.

However what about the truck purchaser?

Vans have been invented to haul and tow issues, and trucks are nonetheless wanted for this. Whenever you want a truck, a car won’t do. The reverse isn’t true, nevertheless. A truck can do most of what a car can do, although maybe not as properly. So a truck is an impressively versatile vehicle. Take a crosscountry journey and also you’ll see hundreds of pickups and SUVs pulling trailers of all kinds. Set out throughout the Nice Plains and there they’re, strung out over the horizon: journey trailers, pop-up campers, boat trailers, car trailers, horse trailers, toy haulers full of ATVs, filth bikes and dune buggies, utility trailers full of lawnmowers and different gear. We’re a nation of trailers, and we’d like trucks to tug them. Maintain your Explorer, the place’s my Tremendous Obligation?

Right here at New Automotive Check Drive we recognize the superb capabilities, unimaginable utility, and persevering with innovation of trucks.

So we stand shoulder to shoulder with our mighty Durango, chin out, able to hitch our wagon and hit the open street. We think the Durango is the best truck as a result of it’s the best selection for towing trailers. It’s the best truck. And it’s in the recreation with the others in all the car measurements. Like the Explorer, the 2011 Durango advantages from a brand new unit-physique chassis and a lovely new cabin lined with high quality supplies and materials.

For driving off street, we think the Grand Cherokee is the best selection amongst the finalists. We take pleasure in driving over rugged roads and respect the entry off-street functionality can present to the locations we love and the sturdiness wanted to deal with these challenges on a regular foundation. So the Grand Cherokee is our runner up.

We think the Explorer is the best car, the best crossover, the best vehicle for on a regular basis shuttling of individuals and cargo, which is what most individuals want and need. In a car.

As Rosanne Rosannadanna would say, it simply goes to point out you: What’s best for one individual isn’t best for an additional. That’s why there are such a lot of decisions in the present day. That’s why there are such a lot of best-car lists. Explorer, Durango and Grand Cherokee are every profitable merchandise, relying in your wants. However the actual winner right here is the consumer, who advantages from the competitors and the many decisions we’ve got at present. In the finish, you need to determine what’s best for you.

Right here’s what North American Automotive of the Year jurors stated after voting for the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer:

“Amongst the newest utility automobiles, the 2011 Explorer delivers a brand new standard in interior quietness, regardless of the street (or off-street) floor,” wrote Lindsay Brooke, Automotive Engineering Worldwide.

“The right trendy utility vehicle ought to supply car-like experience and dealing with, lots of interior area, strong off-street capabilities and the newest in safety know-how,” defined Karl Brauer from “Ford’s new Explorer presents all of the above, and in a pretty package deal each in and out. The Explorer units a brand new benchmark in safety features and can attraction to households on the lookout for efficiency, consolation and fuel effectivity.”

John Gilbert,, stated, “The entire redesign for 2011 might increase the Ford Explorer again to its pinnacle of reputation, with new unibody design, and a potent new V6 or the coming EcoBoost four to reinforce all of Ford’s newest technical connectivity, offering efficiency and helpful features positive to be appreciated by occupants in all three rows of seats.”

“Responding to the crossover craze, Ford developed the newest Explorer off its high quality Taurus platform, changed the V8 with a muscular, but fuel-sipping V6, and slipped in a turbocharged Ecoboost I4 choice that delivers punch plus financial system,” wrote Ken Gross, who writes for Playboy. “Dial-in a position all-wheel-drive settings, beaucoup digital features and a really pleasing restyle ought to retain Explorer loyalists and appeal to new consumers.”

The three automobiles up for the truck award represented a “very robust area,” famous James Healey, USA In the present day’s Check Drive columnist. “Any of the finalists can be a reputable champ, however Explorer appears to have the best general mix of features and really feel.”

“The brand new Ford Explorer redefines a market phase it largely outlined in the first place,” wrote Jim Kenzie for the Toronto Star.

“Lastly, the mea culpa for the costs that Explorer, like your pet canine, had a bent to rollover unexpectedly by itself,” wrote Jim Mateja for The Chicago Tribune. “The entire package deal: room, consolation, efficiency, facilities, safety and know-how.”

“Ford’s Explorer manages to make a radical shift in all the fundamentals of this iconic nameplate with out eliminating its unique id,” wrote veteran automotive journalist Dan McCosh. “The reincarnated SUV shifts from physique-on-body to unibody and sub body, and from rear- to entrance-drive. These modifications imply vastly improved experience and dealing with, mixed with superior traction and management in reasonably extreme driving circumstances. Additionally they imply extra room and barely much less weight. The brand new driveline takes these cease by enhancing fuel financial system by greater than 25 %. If what as soon as was the basic SUV goes to hold on in the future, the new Explorer is more likely to lead the means.”

“The all-new Ford Explorer stands head and shoulders above the different two finalists for its mixture of fashion, digital feature content material, and fuel mileage enchancment over its predecessor,” wrote Jim McCraw, veteran freelance journalist and a contributor to New Automotive Check Drive.

“Now that it’s a crossover, I’m a Ford Explorer fan,” wrote Jayne O’Donnell, longtime automotive reporter for USA In the present day and different publications. “It’s nimble, fast and roomy. All the advantages of a utility vehicle with out the truck-like downsides.”

“Ford reinvented America’s best-promoting SUV for the twenty first century,” Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, famous. “The 2011 Explorer provides class-main fuel financial system and know-how and features you’ll be able to’t get in luxurious crossovers that value twice as a lot.”

Alex Taylor for Fortune Journal wrote, “The 2011 Ford Explorer is nothing lower than a revelation in dynamics, refinement, and effectivity. The journey is the best managed and most compliant in its class, the complete vehicle, has been tuned and optimized to the nth diploma, and fuel financial system has been considerably improved. Mid-size SUVs don’t lead the gross sales charts lately however the Explorer might make a run for it.”

“Taking the Explorer out of the physique-on-body class and constructing it on the crossover platform in all probability made some Ford individuals nervous,” wrote Paul Weissler for Motor, a commerce publication. “However though I wouldn’t do rock-climbing or extreme off-roading with the Explorer, I definitely discovered the Terrain Administration System (standard with AWD) an actual comfort, as the Explorer cruised simply on some fairly tough trails and in sand, and in addition dealt with surprisingly properly on twisty secondary roads. The V8 is gone, however the three.5 V6 is greater than sufficient efficiency for the crossover platform, and the 25-mpg fuel financial system is a vital plus (with the forthcoming Ecoboost to enhance even that quantity). If there’s an area during which Ford actually excels, it’s with interiors, not simply attractiveness, however these airbag rear seat belts (to go together with being an IIHS safety decide), and of course, the SYNC system now comes with a contact display.”


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