The all-new 2011 Ford Explorer features a new 2.0 liter EcoBoost Engine, allowing drivers to get 28 miles per gallon on the highway. The Explorer may have a smaller engine than previous models, but it compensates for the size difference by using a combination of direct fuel injection and turbocharging. This allows the Explorer to provide the fuel efficiency of a four-cylinder engine, but produce the power of a V6 engine.

Comparatively, there is a noticeable difference between a Ford Explorer with an EcoBoost engine and a Ford Explorer without EcoBoost. The 2011 Ford Explorer with a standard V6 engine offers drivers 18-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. Drivers who select the EcoBoost package on their Explorer can expect 20-mpg city and 28-mpg highway. In addition to direct fuel injection and turbocharging, the Explorer with EcoBoost gets more efficiency from a variety of features like a variable-displacement air conditioner, electrically assisted power steering, and a six speed automatic transmission.

Many car buyers have historically favored SUV's for their power, cargo space, safety and off-road capability. However, a new wave of environmental awareness, coupled with ever-increasing fuel costs, have found drivers reconsidering the choice they make at the dealership. "Today's SUV buyers place a high priority on miles per gallon, so Explorer has expanded its portfolio of fuel-efficient engines with an all-new EcoBoost offering," said Amy Marentic, Ford group marketing manager. "SUV buyers deserve economy with their capability, so Explorer now offers best-in-class V6 and four-cylinder fuel efficiency."

The 2011 Explorer with EcoBoost ($28,360 MSRP) now offers better gas mileage than any other 7-passenger SUV. Both the 2011 Honda Pilot LX ($29,130 MSRP) and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee ($30,215 MSRP) offer 23 mpg, while the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse ($29,370 MSRP) gets 24 mpg. The Explorer is more on par for gas mileage with some compact cars, getting 1-mpg better than the Subaru Impreza and tying for fuel efficiency with the BMW 3-series.

Ford hopes its new EcoBoost technology will make its way into all of its vehicles, and plans to offer the engines on 90 percent of their models by the end of 2013. The 2011 Ford Explorer is the first SUV model to feature the technology.

author photo

Cliff Turner has been an automotive enthusiast ever since high school, where he developed a passion for cars while working for the local Saturn/Hummer dealership. When he isn't writing, he is busy earning his Juris Doctorate at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.

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