At 20/28 MPG city and highway, Ford's Ecoboosted Explorer is the most efficient seven-passenger SUV on the market.
With 28 MPG on the highway that's 3 more than a Highlander, 4 more than a Traverse, and 5 more than both the Highlander and Grand Cherokee. Not bad for a four-cylinder. Four pistons in an SUV, of course, still get the stigma of slowness, but the Explorer delivers 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to the miracle of turbocharging, this is more torque than the 250 lb-ft found in the 3.5-liter V6.
And all on regular gas, too!
There are some drawbacks, however. Ford is saving the 2.0-liter Ecoboost for just the front-wheel-drive model. With that combination, towing capacity drops from 1979 Continental to Miata levels, or 5,000 to 2,000 lbs. And above all, the Boosted Explorer will feature a price premium of $995 over the V6, in a reversal of cylinder count posturing.
Will consumers accept the higher price and lower towing for better mileage? Either way, it's nice to have the option.
More: Ford Explorer Ecoboost Rated 20/28-MPG, Crowned Most Fuel-Efficient SUV