The next-generation Ford Explorer will add an EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission as its standard powertrain. As a result, the 2011 Ford Explorer should turn in combined highway-city fuel economy above 20 MPG.
Other factors boosting the fuel economy are twin independent variable camshaft timing, electric power-assisted steering, advanced battery management, fast engine warm-up and aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff. The Ford Explorer also features Ford’s first U.S.-application of a variable-displacement air conditioning compressor that reduces parasitic engine drag. This year’s 4.0-liter V6 Explorer is EPA-rated at 14 MPG city and 20 MPG on the highway. A 30 percent improvement would mean the 2011 2.0-liter EcoBoost model should deliver about 18 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway. The EPA has not yet certified official fuel economy numbers.