eMOTION! REPORTS.com
NAVIGATION BAR
  frontpage e-mail listabout us

Ford Explorer: A Not So Rocky Road

Page 3 of 3 | Previous Page

Gauging Reaction

The beefier-looking pre-production vehicle drew some appreciative glances for the wrap-around glass effect in the rear disguising a sensible load level for groceries or packages, the usable third row seating, and return to its original side pillar lines. It definitely was not the previous generation design.

A hot lap around a test course in its Mercury Mountaineer sister had given me a sense of the stability that's been built into this next generation version.

"Just jump in and do a comparison," said Ford spokesman, Jon Harmon. So I did.

Ford has added a unique, independent rear suspension that lets it flex in awkward configurations while stiffening the frame for strength, a combination that doesn't revive long-ago backaches. Plus there are front seat grab handles for a squeamish passenger or errant driver.

Those were among additions that, at nearly full throttle, were evident when compared with a Mercedes M class and Jeep Grand Cherokee with sharp, fast cornering at speed.

Testing the Spirit

But on a respectable off-road, mountain course, I was able to put the new, all-aluminum 4.6 liter, SOHC V-8 version to a special test. This was the kind of challenge that could prove the new Explorer's true mettle.

It lurched down a rugged mountain pathway, leaning far to the right or the left, depending on the angle of incline.

But the Explorer never felt out of control. There was no sense of tippiness that can make an off-roader pull back from a challenging edge. The widened stance was not overdone enough to create a hang-up problem. And a shorter overhang allowed for greater maneuverability around sharp, tree-filled corners or rock walls.

It gripped the track, climbed out of deep holes, clambered up a slick, rutted hill then maneuvered out of the way of a fallen log at the crest at the last moment.

The only disappointment was the shortness of the test course. I would have been happy doing many more miles and pushing it further towards its limits. - Martha Hindes

Related Articles

Ford Explorer: Defining the Next Generation

Ford Explorer: Testing the Limits

 

Back to Front Page Now or return to Top or visit the Archives


e MOTION! REPORTS 2006

http://www.emotionreports.com

eMOTION! REPORTS.com
74 W. Long Lake Rd. Suite 103 Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304






Site Search



Crisis on Asimov
Special Report
Crisis on Asimov

Focus on China
Special Report
Full Coverage




2002 Ford Explorer
Special Report
Full Coverage

Hyperdrive for a
New Millennium

Full Story

Engines: Power for
the Future
Automotive

Feature Story

Condit Addresses
Economic Club of Detroit
Notable Happenings

Full Text

The Critic
Automotive

Comprehensive vehicle
reviews and
analysis

Pdf Downloads
Vision 2050: Integrated
National Transport


Air Traffic Management:
Revolutionary Concepts

Site Map ... Go

 
site map THE BRIEFING ROOM THE CRITIC