The 2012 Ford Explorer has a 3.5-L Ti-VCT V6 engine with a 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. It delivers 290 hp at 6,500 rpm and 255 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, giving an EPA mileage of 17 mpg in the city and 20 mpg highway. The week of my drive I averaged 22 mpg.
The new 2013 Ford Explorer is reported to get up to 28 mpg on the road.
Inside the Explorer your voice commands numerous services that make driving all the more fun. Voice-activated SYNC makes it easy to stay connected. No more searching for your phone, no more devices hanging from your ear, and no more missing phone ringing under your seat.
Once paired, SYNC recognizes your phone and transfers your contacts to enable voice calling. It also plays music from your phone, MP3 player, USB drive, and iPod. The SYNC AppLink is a communication system that lets you voice-control compatible apps, such as Pandora or iHeartRadio, on your smartphone.
The SYNC voice-activated system with Sirius satellite radio and the 390 watt/12 speakers Sony Audio system is standard. But Voice Activated Navigation System is part of the Equipment Group with features like power liftgate, blind spot monitoring, park assist, special projector headlamps, and rain-sensing wipers that add an additional $5,310 to the standard base price of $39,855.
Active Park Assist is a feature I had known about, but never used. Let me tell you how easy it is to deploy. First you press a button and park assist alerts you when it has located an appropriate parallel parking spot. Then you take your hands off the wheel and the Explorer literally steers itself into the place.
You simply follow system prompts to shift gears and control the brake and accelerator pedal. I was absolutely amazed at how easy it was and how professional you must look in parallel parking.
My Explorer had a 10-way heated memory power driver’s seat with power lumbar and recliner. The front passenger seat is another bucket seat with 4-way adjustable head restraints. The second row features a 60/40 fold-flat bench, while the third row has two 50/50 split-folding seats.
5yr/60,000-mile roadside assistance
Ford Explorer has a rich and comfortable cabin interior. It’s as quiet as a spinster’s parlor near sunset, allowing Sirius radio to wash over you and back again.
Outside, the body color, grille, fog lamps, power fold/heat/signal mirror with puddle lamps add to the sophistication of a vehicle set for motion.
Saturday was my birthday, and my sweetheart planned a wonderful evening for us. Just as darkness fell we arrived at the restaurant. I jumped out of the cabin attempting to beat the valet to her door so I could open it personally for her. But as I closed my door, I dropped the Explorer keys.
Into a swirl of darkness fell the keys onto a parking lot surface void of any light. But just as the door closed the puddle light hit the ground, easily identifying the resting place of the keys next to the front wheel.
Although I was late getting to her door, I proudly displayed my find to the parking attendant as my sweetie stepped into her own soft puddle of light.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or email@example.com
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