Car-Based 2011 Ford Explorer Rumored For Chicago Assembly

March 30, 2009

It's looking like the 2011 Ford Explorer will be produced at the same Chicago factory that assembles the Ford Taurus X. This has fueled speculation that the next-gen Explorer will abandon the current vehicle's truck chassis in favor of a lighter car-based architecture.

Ford has indeed confirmed that its Torrence Avenue assembly plant, in Chicago, will be making a new vehicle, though they haven't confirmed just what that vehicle will be. A deal with the UAW further points to all this speculation proving true. Finally, it is known that the Taurus X will soon cease to be produced; the more appealing and modern Ford Flex will take its place in Ford's lineup.

2008 Ford Explorer America Concept

2008 Ford Explorer America Concept

Enlarge Photo

Speculation also points to two powertrains for the 2011 Explorer; a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged EcoBoost engine and an optional 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. These were the engines powering last year's Ford Explorer America concept pictured above. The four is said to deliver approximately 275 hp and 280 lb-ft torque and the 3.5-liter is slated for about 340 hp according to Chicago Breaking News.

Both platform and powertrain decisions for the 2011 Ford Explorer sound like smart moves in a market that's rapidly abandoning heavy, inefficient SUVs. We just hope the new powertrains, especially the 2.0-liter EcoBoost, focus on low-end torque production. GM abandoned its torque-rich 4.3-liter V-6 when the S-10 Blazer became the TrailBlazer, and the inline six that replaced it felt rather gutless down low where most drivers really needed it.

[source: Jalopnik]

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