|08-04-2000, 01:58 AM||#21|
'07 XLT V8
Join Date: Oct 1999
Okay... i have a 94. I have been in the newer explorers/expeditions. Those ride VERY good. What are they talking about it being an uncomfortable drive? Thats pretty damn smooth for whats SUPPPOSED to be a SUV. now... my 94 is like a real truck. hehe.
New! 2007 Explorer XLT V8 "Ironman" - K&N FIPK Aircharger, SCT Xcal2 Tune, Zabtek Throttle Body
|08-04-2000, 02:12 AM||#22|
Join Date: Sep 1999
isn't the escape aimed more at the soccer moms than this new exploder? from the looks of it....and how they put that damned executive next to it....it lookes like we might see price jump in the explorer too....
** Some witty comment! **
|08-04-2000, 12:20 PM||#23|
2013 GLI, 2013 Escape
Join Date: Jun 2000
Ford refines 2002 Explorer
Ford refines 2002 Explorer
Updated SUV vies to stay king of road
By Mark Truby / The Detroit News
DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. on Thursday unveiled the first major redesign of its top-selling Explorer sport-utility vehicle, hoping the spiffed-up 2002 model will keep it atop the profit-laden -- but increasingly crowded -- SUV segment.
The Explorer has become America's favorite sport-ute, with more than 3.5 million units sold since its 1990 debut. The vehicle accounts for more than $2 billion in annual profits for Ford, explaining why company engineers have been sweating over every detail of the remake for three and a half years.
"No question this is a very important vehicle for Ford," said Art Spinella, an analyst with CNW Marketing Research. "These things can be risky. Look what happened when they redesigned the Taurus in 1995 and it totally collapsed."
The Taurus was radically madeover with an extreme rounded, oval-themed design that turned off buyers. Ford soon lost its leadership in the midsize-sedan arena to Honda and Toyota.
The automaker is not making the same mistake with the Explorer. Ford is taking an obviously restrained approach--some cleaner lines and rounded edges--to changing the Explorer's exterior. The result is a slightly refined stylistic version of the current model.
The most dramatic changes were made under the hood and in the interior, where Ford added a raft of new features to improve the vehicle's ride, handling, versatility and safety. It goes on sale in January.
Unlike previous models, the new Explorer features an optional third row of seats. The increasingly popular feature allows room for seven people and should help set Explorer apart from other compact SUVs and even the smaller Ford Escape.
"The Escape is such a good vehicle that Ford is forced to improve the Explorer to keep pace," said Rex Parker, a consultant for AutoPacific, a Los Angeles-based automotive research firm. "They have to worry about competition from both the outside and inside."
Other new features include a 2.5-inch wider stance, lower step-in height, wider doors, a more powerful 240-horsepower V8 engine, a stiffer body to reduce interior noise and higher ground clearance for off-roading.
The designers didn't skimp on gadgetry, either. The Explorer offers adjustable pedals, a telescoping steering wheel and a six-disc in-dash CD player.
"Their big concern it to make sure this vehicle is able to withstand any assault from the competition," Spinella said. "But they don't want to take any major chances."
Dale Claudepierre, the Ford engineer who oversaw the redesign of the Explorer, said his team wrestled with how to improve an immensely popular vehicle with a high owner-loyality rate.
"You can imagine the pressure that put on the Explorer team," he said. "We did not want to disappoint anyone who was expecting traditional Explorer features."
At the same time, the sport-utility needed to be safer, quieter, easier to use and more roomy.
A breakthrough came in the first part of 1997 when Claudepierre was given the go-ahead to outfit the Explorer with an independent rear suspension. The new suspension allowed not only for a smoother ride and crisper handling but also allowed for the additional seating. The bulky rear suspension in the existing Explorer prohibited a third row of seats without raising the vehicle's rear ceiling.
"That was a huge decision," Claudepierre said.
With that problem solved, Ford used luxury imported SUVs such as the Mercedes M-Class and the Lexus RX300 as benchmarks to improve every aspect of the vehicle from the fit and finish to the driving dynamics.
"We don't target the domestic guys anymore," said Gary Langer, an ergonomics specialist who worked on the Explorer. "They are not our competition anymore." The approach paid off, Claudepierre said.
"It really stretched our engineers. We are putting hardware in our vehicles that we never would have before."
Ford also showed off the next generation Mercury Mountaineer, the Explorer's sister sport-ute. With the Mountaineer, designers took more chances, using brushed aluminum and larger headlamps to create a technical futuristic look.
With the exterior of Explorer Ford design chief J Mays urged his designers embolden the design without forgetting about "Explorer DNA" -- visual cues that should be passed on from the current model to the next-generation Explorer.
"The designers were ordered to be more restrained than avant garde," said Edward Golden, who directed the design of the Explorer. "We didn't want to lose its Explorer-ness."
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