Review: 2012 Ford Explorer Limited FWD With Ecoboost – Part 2

What you’re looking at is the Ford Ecoboost engine that’s inside the 2012 Ford Explorer Limited that I’m driving. It’s a 4 cylinder engine with 2 liters of displacement. But it is also turbocharged and has direct injection. Not to mention that it’s mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission. The net result is that this engine in this vehicle produces 240 hp at 5500 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque at 3000 revs. More importantly, it has a claimed fuel economy of 11.7L/ 100 km in the city and 7.8L/ 100 km on the highway. Now I should note that the fuel economy that are often posted by car companies are often out of whack with reality because they’re done in ideal conditions that you can’t replicate. But having said that, I can say that you can’t sneeze at the “real world” fuel economy of this vehicle. In the city in stop and go traffic I was getting about 15.6L/ 100km. Not good but not exactly a shock as city traffic will often hammer fuel economy. However on the highway I was getting close to 9L/ 100km which is absolutely stellar for a vehicle of this size and weight (It weighs just over 4500 pounds). To further test this, I compared the Explorer to my all wheel drive Toyota Matrix which has a 4 cylinder engine with 2.4 liters of displacement rated at 158 horsepower and 162 pound feet of torque. I drove it in a 23KM test loop that combined city and highway driving and I did my best to drive as I normally do (which is to do about 110 KM/h and pass traffic at 120 KM/h to 130 KM/h when required). The net result is that the Toyota Matrix got 9.6L/ 100km and the Explorer got 10.3L/ 100km. Impressive if you ask me.

Here’s the other thing I found impressive. I always had power on tap and it was well managed power. By that I mean that off the line there was no torque steer (the feeling that the car is pulling to one side when you accelerate from a standing start) and power delivery was smooth and controllable. On the highway if I needed to pass someone, power delivery was instant.

Clearly, the Ecoboost engine provides the power without forcing you to give up fuel economy. Kudos to Ford for that.

Now here’s the one thing that I’ll nail Ford on: the lack of a 4 wheel drive option. The same engine is used by Range Rover in the Evoque and it has 4 wheel drive. So why not the Explorer? I don’t have a clue and maybe Ford can explain the reasoning behind that decision. But it is a shame because I suspect that Ford would sell a ton of these vehicles if they had an option for 4 wheel drive. Having said that, there is no reason not to consider this front wheel drive Explorer. With the usual traction control, stability control, anti-lock braking overseers on board, you’ll be perfectly safe. Add a quality set of winter tires and you’re golden.

So after day two, I’m still pretty impressed. Tune in tomorrow to see if that continues.

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