Drive Type: manual
Exterior Color: Blue
Interior Color: Black
Leesburg, Ohio, United States
Remember when Ford launched the totally new Explorer in late 2010, and people were skeptical about how the now-crossover would fare, after ditching its traditional SUV roots? Well, we're several years in, and I think we can assuredly say that Ford made the right decision. Sales are better than ever (in fact, May was the current Explorer's best month yet), and the crossover is finding its way into the hands of a whole host of new Ford buyers.
A wholly refreshed Explorer is still forthcoming, but to keep its strong-selling crossover fresh, Ford is offering a host of improvements for the 2015 model year, including the attractive appearance package available on the XLT trim level, pictured above. Outside, the pack gets you goodies like 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, black bodyside cladding and roof rack rails. Contrasting Magnetic Metallic accents are found on the grille, mirror caps and liftgate appliqué, and there's an "Explorer" hood badge and body-colored door handles. Inside, there are new Miko suede inserts in the seats, and the package includes the automaker's Sync connectivity with MyFord Touch infotainment.
Elsewhere in the Explorer range, the Class III trailer tow pack is now standard on the Sport, base models get new 18-inch aluminum wheels, and there are three new colors on offer: Bronze Fire Metallic and Magnetic Metallic.
Mitsubishi Mirage, Toyota thinks of beefing up US production, Marchionne on Alfa, Dart and minivans, Ford Atlas concept, Honda Gear concept
Episode #317 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Jeff Ross and Michael Harley bookend the other podcast topics with a pair from the Montreal Auto Show, the Mitsubishi Mirage and Honda Gear concept, and in between we talk about Toyota building all its US-market cars stateside, Hyundai building a Nurburgring test facility, Sergio Marchionne's latest words about Alfa Romeo, Dodge Dart powertrains and the future of Chrysler vans. Some chatter about the Ford Atlas concept finishes up the meat of the 'cast and then we wrap with your questions. For those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Keep reading for our Q&A module for you to scroll through and follow along, too. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #317:
According to a report in Bloomberg, the 2015 Ford F-150 will indeed be showing up at the Detroit Auto Show next month. It will bring attitude with it, not only in the form of sheetmetal inspired by the Atlas concept (pictured) that appeared at the 2013 Detroit show but also in the Alcoa military blast shields among the display being used to showcase the ruggedness of aluminum.
There's been a lot of talk about the F-150 switching to aluminum body panels (although maintaining a steel frame), and for good reason. The lightweight body is expected to shed more than 700 pounds and greatly increase its highway mileage, but production-line issues and possible delays have been a major focus of attention concerning the best-selling vehicle in America for 32 years, meaning Ford has to get it right. F-150 is responsible for a massive portion of the company's global profits and it will come in a year when company profits are already predicted to decline because of new car launches.
When it comes to dings, the Bloomberg story says Ford wants Alcoa to supply some of the military-grade aluminum it uses for blast shields on battlefield vehicles to help it talk up the toughness of aluminum. Reading commentary on the many stories about the F-150 reveals there are many more little questions about the aluminum overhaul, like "How much will it cost to repair and insure?" and "How will companies hang their magnetic signs?" Answers should start coming in a couple of weeks.