Out of the box, the Ford Explorer has demonstrated itself to be one the best, seven-passenger sport-utility vehicles available. It delivers the function and family friendly features of a minivan with a more rugged emotional appeal, off-road and towing capability for those who need it, and SUV mileage that was unheard of back in the day.
The venerable Explorer was essentially re-invented for 2011, and Ford might have taken a pass on further improvements for 2012. The opposite is true. In addition to an expanded palette of paint colors, the 2012 Explorer is now offered with an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Ford’s so-called 2.0 EcoBoost is the first four-cylinder in an SUV of the Explorer’s size in a long, long time. It has more power than the standard V6 in the previous-generation Explorer, with half the displacement, and it delivers the highest EPA mileage ratings in this class: 20/28 mpg City/Highway.
Explorer comes standard with cloth upholstery, a six-way power driver seat, six-speaker audio with single CD and an input jack, air conditioning with particulate filter and rear-seat controls, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, power windows, locks and outside mirrors, overhead console, four 12-volt outlets, 60/40 split-folding second- and 50/50 third-row seats, rear privacy glass, cargo hooks, carpeted floor mats, halogen projector-beam headlights, roof rails and 17-inch steel wheels with wheel covers.
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