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2002 Ford Explorer: Testing the Limits

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A Real Real-World Test

The Explorer's braking and handling, which Ford execs had touted as superior, had worked as they should. Those claims weren't exaggerated.

But the danger wasn't over.

We knew that others might be coming along and although we nearly got hit in the process, we flagged down and stopped a couple in a minivan and subsequent to that a couple in a Chevy Cavalier before they could ram into our taillamps or into the rock. The boulder, which we estimated weighed nearly 4,000 pounds, would have made short work of them.

We tried phoning for help, but cell phones didn't work in the area we discovered. We tried to move the boulder, but even with four men pushing it wouldn't budge.

The solution was to send a car ahead to the first phone available and call for assistance.

This turned out to be a real-world test that Ford never could have planned. To our relief, we were able to get help without any more incidents. We were spared the unthinkable.

There are six of us alive and well today, thanks to people such as Ray Nicosia, Dale Claudepierre, Helen Petrauskas and the rest of the Explorer's design and engineering team and the excellent integration of ABS, EBFD, anti-dive geometry - and perhaps what I'll call GAI. (That's guardian angel intervention.)

Well done.

2002 Ford Explorer: A Special Section

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