2006 Ford Explorer: the best explorer ever
Ford has issued the following press release:
How do you improve upon a vehicle that created its segment and has continued to be the sales leader for 15 straight years? For the 2006 Ford Explorer, the answer is more power, improved fuel economy, low emissions, new advanced safety technologies, class-leading interior quietness, improved ride comfort and bolder styling.
Ford Explorer has been the world's best-selling SUV for 15 consecutive years with sales totaling nearly 5.5 million because it adheres to a simple formula: put people first. Since its introduction in 1990, Explorer has defined the SUV segment by offering the capability of an SUV for towing and off-roading, along with innovations in package, comfort and refinement.
Explorer leads a changing segment
SUVs have been the fastest-growing vehicle type over the past 15 years, but market dynamics are clearly changing. For customers who need a traditional SUV, the '06 Explorer's combination of features and capabilities is unmatched.
The 2006 Ford Explorer continues Explorer's legacy of offering genuine SUV capability with innovative refinement, packaging and driving dynamics.
More powerful, more fuel efficient, with low emissions: Explorer's sophisticated new V-8 powertrain delivers
Explorer's new 4.6-liter, three-valve V-8 and 6-speed automatic deliver 53 more hp and a 10 percent gain in fuel economy over the previous V-8 powertrain.
The 2006 Explorer's new optional three-valve 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 that shares the same variable cam timing and three-valve cylinder heads used on the highly lauded Mustang GT and the 5.4-liter Ford F-150 engine. In the Explorer, the new 4.6-liter delivers 292 horsepower (53 more horsepower than the two-valve 4.6-liter previously used) and 300 foot-pounds of torque.
The V-8 is fitted to the first six-speed automatic in the segment, with a wide 6.04:1 gear ratio, enabling the engine to spend more time in its optimum powerband — either at peak power for acceleration, or at peak efficiency for more fuel economy.
As a result, V-8 4x4 models are expected to deliver up to 10 percent improvement in fuel economy, in addition to an increase of 53 more horsepower. And the new V-8 delivers low emissions, as well. It is expected to qualify for the stringent Tier II, Bin 5 federal standards, which is compliant with California's Low Emissions Vehicle II (LEV II) standards.
Explorer leads its class with safety innovations
The 2006 Ford Explorer leads its class with 10 standard advanced safety technologies. Seven of these 10 standard features are new to the mid-size SUV class, including four new adaptive technologies specifically designed for Ford's stringent internal safety targets. The new Explorer provides the most active and passive safety features in its class.
In fact, the new Explorer meets all known federal frontal- and side-impact crash requirements through 2010.
Quietest Explorer ever: NVH improvements provide best-in-class interior quietness
The 2006 Explorer interior benefits from a concerted effort by Ford engineers to decrease unwanted noise in the cabin. In fact, the Explorer team focused on every aspect of the vehicle, from the exterior, interior, chassis and powertrain to quell noise, vibration and harshness.
Significantly, the Explorer is not only quieter measured in the first row, but the third row is quieter than the second row of most competitors at highway speeds. In fact, the Explorer's third row is just as quiet as some competitors' front row. This is a key to passing Ford's speed intelligibility tests, which enable occupants in the first row to effortlessly hold a conversation with passengers in the second and third rows at highway speeds.
All-new frame, new front and rear independent suspensions, improved brake system
Also improving interior noise levels is an all-new frame. Thanks to increases in section height and width, it is 63 percent more resistant to bending and 55 percent more resistant to twisting. The Explorer adopts the F-150's tube-through-tube frame design, where the cross members pass through the section of the frame-rails, creating an inherently stronger joint. These joints are then completely welded around the perimeter for a fully boxed seam. The stiffer frame provides a smoother ride with better road feel, crisper handling and improved steering response because it allowed Ford engineers to improve the vehicle systems the stronger frame supports - including the front and rear suspensions, and the braking and steering systems. Paired with new manufacturing techniques that decrease manufacturing tolerances, the Explorer's solid foundation also helps significantly reduce long-term squeaks and rattles.
Explorer's improved independent rear suspension now features trailing arms and is more robust to accommodate the vehicle's increased towing and payload capability, yet is slightly lighter than the previous short- and long-arm assembly. As before, the rear half shafts pass through frame portholes, lowering the independent rear suspension subframe for better third-row packaging and a lower center of gravity.
The front suspension also is new, retaining basic geometry with upper and lower control arms and a sway bar. It too features stronger components, yet is slightly lighter weight overall. Both front and rear suspensions now feature monotube shocks — replacing twin-tube shocks. The monotube shocks are tuned to take advantage of the stiffer frame, delivering even less impact harshness for improved ride comfort while still delivering excellent primary ride control
Explorer's class-leading package, with an all-new interior, offers improved comfort, segment-first power-fold third-row seat
The 2006 Explorer has an all-new interior with improved accommodations for all occupants. New front seats with available 10-way power on the driver's seat provide more comfort and ride on extended tracks that allow a full inch more travel. The second row is available in three configurations; a 60-40 (no reclining) split, a reclining 60-40 split that allows access to the third row, and bucket seats separated by a center console. New, larger head restraints provide enhanced safety and articulate for improved rear visibility when the seat is unoccupied.
The available third-row seats' bench height was raised 1.75 inches, providing better visibility for children while still affording comfortable headroom for taller occupants.
Another change is a 50/50 seatback split to allow greater versatility for varying loads of people and cargo. The third-row seat also offers a power-fold option. Ford Motor Company was first in the industry with this feature, introduced on the Lincoln Navigator, and Explorer will be the first in the mid-size SUV segment to offer this convenience.
Bolder, more refined exterior design
Fitting the Explorer's increased capability, the new model features a new, bolder exterior design. Though the 2006 Explorer features the same footprint, solid proportions and planted stance as the outgoing model, the new Explorer has a much larger presence, most noticeably in the all-new front end. Everything is new from the base of the windshield forward. The new grilles, with three distinct styles wrapping the larger seven-inch Ford blue oval, make the strongest statement.
Like the front of the 2006 Explorer, the rear infuses Explorer's classic look with a bold new attitude. The 2006 model also offers available 18-inch chrome wheels wrapped in P235/65R-18 all-season tires for a more rugged appearance. These changes visually communicate power, capability, and durability, reinforcing Explorer's traditional, authentic SUV roots.