Is This The 2011 Ford Explorer?
Recently the Ford Motor Company came through Seattle showcasing their new safety technology. At the Shoreline Community College Automotive Center, they demonstrated a new self park system that makes it quite easy to slip into a parking spot. There’s also a new restraint system that’s a cross between seatbelt and airbag. These inflatable belts will be used in the back seat where it’s much more difficult to position airbags compared to the front. The first vehicle to get these? The new Ford Explorer.
There have been spy shots of Ford’s next generation SUV circulating and walking around the seatbelt display it becomes apparent that the structure could very well be the back end of the new one due this fall. If it is, the C and D pillars get a steeper rake and there are some scallops reminiscent of the Taurus toward the back. In person it has a feel slightly reminiscent of the outgoing Freestyle/Taurus X. Certain cues on the display are similar to the Flex chassis and the new Explorer is widely expected to ride on that platform. There are no tail lights here so that’s a question mark.
Looks like a third row is an easy fit since there’s a 42 inch widescreen playing promotional videos in the cargo hold. Examining the interior it’s hard to imagine they would make special interior panels and cupholders of this quality for a display. These don’t appear in any other Ford. Will the new Explorer have a fridge like Flex? The cover on the center console doesn’t open so we’ll have to wait to find out. These mid row chairs look to have the same tumble forward design found in Flex and Lincoln’s MKT. The console appears to be very deep. Speculating, it’s possible it could be replaced with bench seating for 7 passenger capacity.
No doubt Explorer pictures will start following soon but for now, this is the closest look so far IF this is indeed the new one. Ford folks who have actually driven it are clearly excited. They say that the driving dynamics and fuel economy are much improved. We’ll find out soon enough.