Twenty-five years since its debut in 1990, Ford will celebrate a quarter century of Explorer models next year with the debut of a refreshed 2016 model at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19. The Blue Oval is keeping mum on hard details about the updated SUV for now, but the brand promises, "a new look, added capability and additional driver-assist technology," in its announcement.
Company marketing boss Jim Farley elaborated a little more on what to expect. "The new Explorer is still the SUV America fell in love with - a vehicle built for the perfect family adventure," he said in the release that you're welcome to read down below.
An updated Explorer is a pretty big deal for Ford's bottom line. Worldwide, SUVs and crossovers account for about 23 percent of Ford's sales, and the segment is projected to grow to around 29 percent by 2020. Ford further says that SUVs and CUVs are the world's quickest growing segment with demand up 88 percent since 2008.
The Ford C-Max is having a rough time. Sales for the five-door hybrid hatchback were down 39.1 percent in March to 2,295 cars, and sales from January through March were down 42.5 percent to 5,566 units. In an interview with The Detroit News, Ford Americas boss Joe Hinrichs places the blame on lowering the model's fuel economy rating.
"We're definitely seeing consideration on C-Max decline over time. We need to reinvest in the product because it's a great car," said Hinrichs to The Detroit News.
The company was hit with bad publicity over the C-Max when owners in multiple states filed class action lawsuits that alleged the cars weren't able to meet the stated fuel economy. Ford eventually re-rated the model from 47 miles per gallon city, highway and combined to 40 mpg city, 45 mpg highway and 43 mpg combined. To soften the blow of the change, the automaker sent checks to the owners to make up some of the difference. Initially, Ford claimed that demand remained strong for the hybrid. However, the latest sales figures and Hinrichs' statement seem to show the opposite.
As the old saying goes, "There's no replacement for displacement." But these days, many automakers are launching powerful, downsized engines that offer similar or better power output than their predecessors, all while offering improvements in fuel economy and emissions. These days, we're seeing automakers replacing eight-cylinder engines with turbocharged sixes, and the naturally aspirated six-cylinder motors are being phased out in favor of potent turbo fours. But Ford has gone even smaller, offering a three-cylinder, turbocharged engine with one single liter of displacement.
Sure, three-cylinder engines aren't anything new - they've been offered around the globe for ages. But Ford's EcoBoost 1.0L powerplant is perhaps the best application the Autoblog team has tested. Gone are the triple-cylinder complaints of yore - this engine doesn't sound anemic or buzzy, and there's healthy power output on tap. In fact, compared to the 1.6-liter inline-four that Ford also offers in the Fiesta, the 1.0-liter is more powerful, while boasting an impressive 45 miles per gallon on the highway.
This engine has already received numerous accolades, including winning the International Engine of the Year award in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The 1.0L EcoBoost will be available in the refreshed 2015 Ford Focus here in the US.