The all-new 2011 Ford Explorer, which is slated to begin reaching dealerships in January, takes a secure step toward the crossover side of the SUV realm—meaning it has a few more carlike driving experience, a bit more emphasis on passenger space, and even better attention to cabin appointments than previous versions. Ford hasn't entirely forgotten about off-roading either; as we reported in a First Drive of the Explorer, this ute gets a Land Rover-like multi-mode system that can still tackle steep slopes, mud, and sand.
The former Explorer, a longtime best-seller, failed to achieve top results in side impact, despite a full range of airbags and standard safety features in recent years. But the Explorer has been a top 'good' performer with respect to frontal impact since the 2002 model year.
The new 2011 Explorer has all the goods: dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; and active headrests. Rear-seat inflatable seatbelts make their debut in the Explorer, and blind-spot detectors, adaptive cruise control and "curve control" that predicts tight corners are all available.