Eight Great Tailgating Vehicles

2011 Ford Explorer

Like the Dodge Caravan, Ford's Explorer has been a staple on American roads for nearly 20 years. Launching back in 1991, the Explorer was one of the first SUVs to become a mainstream fixture with American drivers. Now entering its fifth generation, the Explorer is chock full of equipment and features every tailgater desires.

Standard convenience features include four 12-volt power outlets, a 4.2-inch infotainment screen, and Ford's proprietary MyKey system. Stepping up to the top-of-the-line Limited model adds dual-zone automatic temperature control, power-folding mirrors, a rear-view camera, 110-volt outlet, and MyFord Touch infotainment system. The option to make the SUV a WiFi hotspot is sure to please technology buffs. Ford's premium 12-speaker Sony audio system offers plenty of power to expand the party outside the vehicle.

The standard engine found in the 2011 Ford Explorer is a 3.5-liter V-6, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Output is 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, while increasing fuel economy 20 percent over the 2010 model's 14/20 mpg city/highway ratings. Soon, Ford will offer its 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, aimed at the most fuel conscious consumers. For 2011, Ford switched to a front-wheel-drive architecture but all-wheel-drive remains an option on all trim levels.


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