Review: Ford 2011 Explorer Powerhouse SUV

Review: Ford 2011 Explorer Powerhouse SUV

When asked if the Filipino Journal was interested in driving a 2011 Ford Explorer for a week? Absolutely was the quick and simple response. Ford Motor Company of Canada provided us with the award winning 2011 Ford Explorer Limited 4WD model to drive for a week.. This vehicle was fully loaded with the latest technology bells and whistles to enhance your SUV driving experience.

Driving the 2011 Ford Explorer Limited 4WD was an absolute pleasure. This is a big vehicle with an extremely spacious interior, comfortable seating and power everything. Big seats and big space makes this SUV a great family vehicle and a step-up from the family minivan.

The Explorer Limited came with a wide range of safety features – pressure-based crash sensor airbags, active blind spot information system, cross traffic alert system, rear inflatable seat belts, adaptive cruise control, collision warning system and ActiveTrac with RCS (Roll Stability Control). Ford SNYC also comes with 911 Assist, SOS Post-Crash Alert System and the MyKey program encourages safe teen driving, seat belt use and limiting top vehicle speed.

The Explorer comes in three models: base, XLT and the Limited. Base model pricing starts at $29,999 while our Limited test drive model starts at $41,199, with an added $8000 in extra features such as 20” polished aluminum rims, luxury leather seating, navigation system and a fully featured technology package. Part of the package included air-conditioned cooled leather seats which is a feature that I could truly appreciate during our hot Manitoba summers. And for our long dry Manitoba winters, there’s the heated leather seats.

Apart from driving the Ford Explorer, I probably spent as much time in park as I ran through the Explorer’s rich technology offering. Most of the technology features can be controlled on the slow-to-respond 8” in-dash navigation and entertainment touch screen console or push-buttons on the steering wheel. The slow-to-respond touch screen lags slowly compared to touch interfaces on smartphone and tablet devices.

The Ford SYNC system easily paired my Blackberry Bold 9800 via Bluetooth. Once paired, I was able to access my entire phone book, answer and make handsfree calls using voice commands and enable text-to-voice features that read incoming text messages as you drive.

Getting my iPad, iPod and Blackberry connected to the entertainment system was relatively quick and easy. Already connected via Bluetooth, the entertainment system was able to stream audio directly from my Blackberry media player and displayed the artist, song and cover on the display console. My iPad was plugged into the on-board USB connection and the iPod I normally use while I jog, was connected through a stereo connection. Controlling playlists on my Blackberry and iPad was done through steering wheel controls, touch screen on the dash or directly controlled on the devices.

As gas prices start to creep up to 131.9 per litre in Manitoba, buyers in the SUV segment are hoping for as much fuel efficiency as possible. The 2.0-litre EcoBoost I-4 technology is expected to deliver as much as 20 percent better fuel economy than the 2010 model. Fuel economy on the Limited is 12.5l per 100km in the city and 8.8l per 100km on the highway.

After a week driving the Ford Explorer, I realize that I miss driving an SUV and riding high above the traffic. Likewise, this vehicle needs to tested in the winter where Manitoba winters may give the Ford Explorer a run for its money. Maybe when the 2012 model comes out, we can only hope.

Visit for complete specifications on the 2011 Ford Exlporer.

Competitors: Chevrolet Traverse LT AWD, Honda Pilot Touring AWD, Ford Flex SEL AWD, Acura MDX, Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Publisher’s Note: My Ride is a new editorial automobile feature of the Filipino Journal that focuses on reviewing the latest offering of auto manufacturers.

Our goal is to provide our readers with relevant, fun, interesting and timely information to prospective buyers and automobile enthusiasts. As always, we are relentlessly working to provide our readers with new and exciting features.