2011 Ford Explorer XLT Ecoboost: Trip Economy
December 30, 2011
Prior to driving our longterm 2012 Ford Explorer on my 1000-mile holiday trip, I was curious about how the small, boosted four-cylinder would fare when lashed to the big, heavy crosswagonover.
It turns out it works great.
It's got good torque off the line and there's so little lag to speak of that, well, it's not worth speaking of. Give it the wood and you'll feel the front end torque steer mildly. The boosted four moves the Explorer around competently - I had no qualms accelerating even at freeway speeds.
It's perfectly well-suited and is - bonus - smooth and quiet to boot. In fact, once I inadvertently tried to start it when it was already running (fortunately there's an interlock that prevents the starter from engaging in such situations).
Really, the engine performs such that it should be the last thing you worry about when deciding whether the Explorer is for you.
The transmission could use a plain ol' manual mode for engine braking, but at least there's the option of dropping it into L. Not ideal, but works in a pinch.
Finally, fuel economy. The conditions: 1000-mile trip; nearly all freeway; carrying a light cargo load and 2.5 occupants; cruising 75-82 mph in light-to-medium traffic; mostly level terrain save for the big Sepulveda Pass. Overall trip fuel economy was 20.6 mpg, which is just a hair higher than the city number on the window sticker (20/28).
--Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor