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GREEN | 7 out of 10
2012 Ford Explorer: 17/25 mpg (FWD), 17/23 mpg (AWD), 20/28 mpg (EcoBoost FWD)
Gas mileage is notably better.
New York Times
...The new version comes with a 25% improvement in fuel economy over the 2010 version, up to 25 miles per gallon on the highway.
Los Angeles Times
With its Fiesta, Focus and Fusion, Ford has earned some considerable attention for gas mileage. Now it's hoping that a thousand-dollar EcoBoost turbo four will do the same for its crossovers, the 2012 Explorer and Edge.
Since the Explorer outweighs the Edge by about 400 pounds, it doesn't quite hit the same 30-mpg heights on the EPA highway cycle. However, the new turbocharged, direct-injected, 240-horsepower four-cylinder does earn estimated EPA ratings of 20/28 mpg--about 25 percent higher than the last-generation Explorer did in base form.
If you're shopping fuel economy, know that this combination is only available in front-drive form, and it's only rated to tow up to 2000 pounds, not the 5000 pounds the V-6 Explorer can.
The six-cylinder Explorer carries over its gas mileage ratings into 2012 unchanged. With the 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic, it's rated at 17/25 mpg, and with all-wheel drive, it's pegged at 17/23 mpg. On a long day trip in a loaded Explorer XLT AWD, we've netted a nice, round 20 mpg.
With its new EcoBoost powertrain, the Explorer's fuel economy rises to as much as 28 mpg, great numbers for a vehicle capable of seating seven people.