IL Track Tested: 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost
September 24, 2011
Four-cylinder fuel economy. V6 power. V8 price. OK, Ford would rather you not think about the $1,000 price increase when ticking the box on the 2012 Ford Explorer XLT that says "EcoBoost," which replaces the Explorer's 290 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 with a turbocharged, direct-injected, turbo four-cylinder. Instead, they want you to focus on the 240 horsepower, 270 pound-feet of torque and the 20 mpg city and 28 mpg fuel economy rating by the EPA.
We just wanted to know what this little motor could do on the track when tasked with motivating 4,458 pounds of front-wheel-drive SUV.
Vehicle: 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost
Driver: Chris Walton
Price as Tested: $38,485
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Turbocharged, direct-injected, inline-4, gasoline
Redline (rpm): 6,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 240 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 270 @ 1,750
Brake Type (front): Ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front) Independent double wishbones, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs
Tire Size (front): P245/60R18 (104H)
Tire Size (rear): P245/60R18 (104)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Latitude Tour HP
Tire Type: All-season
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,458
0-30 (sec): 3.3 (3.5 w/TC off)
0-45 (sec): 5.6 (5.8 w/TC off)
0-60 (sec): 9.1 (9.4 w/TC off)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.7 (9.1 w/TC off)
0-75 (sec): 13.7 (14.1 w/TC off)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.7 @ 83.1 (16.9 @ 82.4 w/TC off)
30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 130
Slalom (mph): 56.7 (nondefeat stability control)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.71
Db @ Idle: 42.6
Db @ Full Throttle: 69.3
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 62.6
Acceleration: While wheelspin is possible, it occurs well after launch and then the boost gets carried away and really lights the tires, making the run slower. Very smooth and moderately quick upshifts. Engine noise is well isolated and never sounds strained. Appears amply cooled as trap speeds barely dropped across five runs.
Braking: Medium-firm pedal, immediate jump-in, but slow-cycling ABD causes noticeable sound and pulsation through the pedal. Pronounced dive and feels light in the rear, but every stop was straight. Good fade resistance but plenty of odor.
Skid pad: Non-defeat ESC (traction control is truly off) means holding speed at the electronic threshold of what's permitted -- which is not much. Steering weight is on the light side, but that's preferable to too heavy/syrupy. Friction-free and rather precise, actually.
Slalom: ESC is on, but i tried "trac off" and trailer-sway "off" but it matters not. ESC is the limiting factor here, so smooth, singular steering inputs upset the system the least. Rather slow to transition but steering remains precise and effective. Still, this is incredibly slow -- even for non-defeat ESC.