While Ford pushes the Edge crossover into the limelight, the vehicle that made the Ford franchise - the Explorer - receives some quiet updating for the 2008 model year.
Ford's best-selling mid-size SUV was substantially updated in 2006. For 2007, the Explorer was slimmed down to a simplified lineup of base XLT, Eddie Bauer, and Limited, in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations. Side curtain airbags were also made standard on Eddie Bauer and Limited models, as were iPod jacks on all audio systems.
In 2008 Ford will add the Sync system, which uses Bluetooth and a touch screen to control communications and entertainment systems. Sync will be available later in the year as will 20-inch wheels and a capless fuel filler system. Voice activation is now offered on the Explorer's navigation system, and curtain airbags have been made standard on all Explorers.
A 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 is the standard engine for the Explorer, while an available 4.6-liter V-8 powerplant provides 292 horsepower and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. There's a choice of Ford's ControlTrac four-wheel drive or full-time all-wheel-drive systems. Stability control is standard across the line.
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