New High for Cruising Range - 2012 Ford Explorer Long-Term Road Test

2012 Ford Explorer Long Term Road Test

2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost: New High for Cruising Range

May 23, 2012


I had a jam-packed schedule during my weekend road trip in our long-term 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost, and I hadn't built in time for a fuel stop. The distance-to-empty display ticked down to 50 miles, then 30, then 20, then 10 and then this... I was about 5 miles from my destination and running late, so I pressed on. I'd say I drove for a total of 8 miles before finally fueling up somewhere in East L.A. No question, I wasn't monitoring the trip counter as closely as I should have been.

This produced the Explorer's first 400-mile tank -- 415.4 miles. Its previous high was 388.8 miles.

I put in 18.434 gallons of 87 octane. Ford's published fuel tank capacity is 18.6 gallons, so if true, I apparently wasn't very far from stranding myself and my passenger for no other reason than poor planning. I actually stopped at one gas station, realized the pumpside credit card swipers weren't working, and was too lazy to go inside and wait in the long line. I then drove 2 miles to another gas station.

Notably, I didn't come anywhere close to laying down our best-ever mpg. I got 22.5 mpg. We've logged one strange tank at 39.1 mpg thus far, though I suspect that must have been recorded on one long downhill grade, and plenty of tanks in the 24-25 mpg range.

Had I drive efficiently enough to get 24-25 mpg, this easily could have been a 450-mile tank -- which would be quite impressive in a 4,458-pound SUV with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that has to work hard in fast-moving freeway traffic.

I know cruising range doesn't mean as much to some of you as it does to me, but when I think back to the Explorers I was driving 10 years that were struggling to get 15-16 mpg and certainly weren't approaching 400 miles of range, I do think this is progress. Mind you, the Explorer isn't as popular as it used to be, but I'm betting that the people who do buy the new ones are using them the same way -- as family vehicles. And having 400 miles of range in your family vehicle is simply convenient.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 15,384 miles

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