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Ford to launch all-new Explorer SUV at Detroit motor show

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Ford Explorer
Sixth-gen Explorer gets all-new technology and a rear-wheel drive powertrain
America’s best-selling SUV has entered its sixth generation ahead of an anticipated UK launch in April

Ford will unveil its new flagship Explorer SUV at the Detroit motor show next week, ahead of an expected UK launch in April.

The sixth iteration of America’s best-selling SUV of all time receives new styling, a more diverse model range, new engines and, for the first time, a rear-wheel-drive powertrain on entry-level models. 

The company claims that the shift from front to rear-wheel drive for entry-level variants of the Explorer has allowed for a roomier and more versatile interior layout, as well as more “athletic” exterior styling.

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Blacked-out A and D-pillars are carried over from previous generations of Explorer, while a sloping roofline and shorter front overhang lend a sportier appearance to the Jeep Grand Cherokee rival.

Starting from $400 more than the previous Explorer, the new model is equipped with an electronically assisted tailgate, an 8.0in infotainment touchscreen, in-car wi-fi and the FordPass Connect intelligent navigation technology as standard. Parking and braking assistance systems can be equipped with the Platinum trim package. 

Also fitted as standard is the Ford Co-Pilot360 package, which comprises active safety technology that helps the driver stay in lane, avoid pedestrians, see through blindspots and take evasive action.

Chris Billman, Co-Pilot360 engineering manager, said the Explorer’s abundance of autonomous technology is not about “filling the vehicle with technology for technology’s sake".

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He explained: “It’s about improving the experience, making driving less stressful and helping the driver to feel more confident behind the wheel.”

New engines for the Explorer include a tuned variant of the turbocharged 2.3-litre petrol Ecoboost unit used in the entry-level Mustang and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 - the most powerful engine ever fitted to an Explorer. 

As part of its restructuring programme for Europe announced today, Ford has said that a new SUV for Europe, expected to be the Explorer, will be revealed in April.

It will also shift its focus away from MPVs, axing models such as the C-Max and Grand C-Max in favour of new models like the Fiesta-based compact SUV that is set to replace the Ecosport

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