2011 Ford Explorer is an outstanding car, says Obama

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 30, 2010

In President Obama's opinion, the redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer is "an outstanding car. He checked out this car when he went on a tour last Thursday at Ford's Chicago assembly plant. Just last week, Obama took the 2011 Chevrolet Volt for a 40-foot test-drive and he commented that the electric car was "pretty smooth."

He told the workers at Ford that his most recent car was a Ford Escape, which he describes to be He shared that he bought the car two months before he got Secret Service (protection) and since they won't let him drive it anymore, it only has 2,000 miles after five years. During this third visit to a domestic auto plant in a week, Obama announced a new $250-million Export-Import Bank loan guarantee for Ford.

He said that this loan guarantee will "help Ford export more than 200,000 cars and trucks" to up to 90 countries. He also said that even with massive amounts of federal aid, the domestic auto industry is still "not back to where it needs to be."

Many customers today have a different of view of a modern SUV. It was to better reflect this expectation that the 2011 Ford Explorer was completely redesigned from the inside out, and even from the top to the bottom. Executive director of North America Design Moray Callum shared that while the company changed the entire new Explorer, it continues to be instantly and easily identifiable as a Ford Explorer.

The company believes that this is because it is a modern interpretation of what the Ford Explorer has always offered while having none of the compromises, he continued. Meanwhile design manager Melvin Betancourt added the new Ford Explorer manages to put on a rigid unibody platform with the combination of an aerodynamic shape and bold language design. That the Explorer has the capability to run off-road is evidenced by the SUV cues, the stance, height, and ground clearance, Betancourt shared.

The main challenge faced by the design team was to reinterpret this icon into a modern SUV of the 21st century. Betancourt continued that everything started with the stance and proportion. The combination of the muscular toned sheet metal and the fluid lines give it that athletic look and unparalleled aerodynamics, he added. The fascia has the flexible lower air dam and the liftgate spoiler lip integrated to it and blended to it too to improve fuel efficiency.

Meanwhile the blackened rockers express the power available to the driver and even the four-wheel-drive capability of the Ford Explorer, Betancourt related. The strong C-pillars that come in the same color as the body and the blackened D-pillars provide the standard Ford Explorer features. The new features are the blackened A-pillars and the B-pillars. The interior was redesigned as well, giving it a more modern look and adding in soft-touch surfaces while making sure that occupants are always comfortable.

The objective was to make the new Explorer a three-row vehicle that offered connectivity and technology, while giving the driver the confidence to drive on the road anywhere and anytime. The interior also has that luxurious feel especially with the materials used and even the level of its fit-and-finish. According to interior studio manager Mike Arbaugh, his goal for the interior of the new Ford Explorer was to make it look expensive. Since the vehicle is expected to challenge high-end SUVs like the Audi Q7 and the BMW X5, everything in the interior, from the design, to the craftsmanship, to the fit-and-finish, should be to that end, he continued.

The interior package of this new model utilizes what is called the best-of-both-worlds approach. It uses a sophistication and familiarity that make it clearly American. When combined with European premium design cues, it achieves an enviable sense of driving dynamics. A European feel stems from the way the instrument panel flows to the doors and how the forward-leaning center stack is positioned.

The command seating position meanwhile provides a sense of security that many SUV consumers want. Ford’s latest version of its DNA storage is also seen in the interior package. Storage space has been cleverly arranged all around the interior and there are enough spaces to make sure that everything the family wants can be taken with them. Arbaugh shared that being a designer as well as an audiophile, he is most excited about the metal speaker grilles that are placed in the door panels.

He added that this gives the SUV its ruggedness, making them look expensive and technical while offering excellent sound transparency. All of the instrument panels and door panels have soft-touch surfaces ensuring that the cabin is both pleasing to the eyes and touch. It is also environment-friendly as 25% of the cloth interior surface, and even the black headliner, are composed of recycled materials. Even the seating foam uses soy-based content.

Arbaugh said that customers are likely to appreciate what this three-row SUV can offer. The modern design, the chrome highlights, and the soft-touch surfaces all blend in ensuring that the new Explorer has a high-class feel. Even the MyFord Touch driver connect technology and media hub not only reflect the standard lifestyle of any SUV owner, but even enhance them, he continued.

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