The Ford Explorer America Concept that debuts at the 2008 Detroit auto show is essentially the next-generation Ford Explorer, a vehicle that promises to be a radical departure from the soccer mom-mobiles that have roamed our land for the past eighteen years.
Although the Ford Explorer America Concept is indeed only a concept at this stage, it clearly points the way toward the shape of the new Explorer that's probably due by the turn of the decade. Unlike today's Explorer, which retains body-on-frame construction, the Explorer America Concept features unibody construction.
The Explorer America Concept showcases Ford's new gasoline turbo direct-injection engine technology, dubbed EcoBoost, which the company says will enable it to equip vehicles with small-displacement four- and six-cylinder engines that will have performance equal to much larger conventional gasoline engines. For the Explorer America Concept, Ford has engineered two engines: a 2.0-liter four making an impressive 275 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and a 3.5-liter V-6 producing 340 hp and 350 lb-ft, figures that are comparable to those of a V-8 engine.
With such powertrains, Ford thinks that the next-generation Explorer could enjoy fuel savings of 20 to 30 percent as compared with today's vehicle.
The interior of the Ford Explorer America Concept is typical concept-car fantasy, with six floating seats, a long center tunnel, and ultramodern materials, but the handsome exterior adheres to the new Ford family look with its bold three-bar grille, and overall the vehicle looks like something that could easily sit beside the new Ford Flex on a dealer showroom floor.