Ford proudly announced that the next gen Explorer SUV is going to get a highly sophisticated electronic 4×4 control system. This computerized device is pre-loaded with settings for different surfaces like tarmac, snow, mud and… all you have to do is to put the dial in the correct position! It’s all good, although they are a bit late to the game. Land Rover has been using this system for ages, and come to think about it, maybe Ford stole this from the Brits while they were running Land Rover! And they’ve just figured how to use it!
More on this after the jump…
- The all-new Ford Explorer features an intelligent four-wheel-drive (4WD) control system that optimizes vehicle capability to specific situations
- The Ford terrain management system integrates powertrain and braking controls to provide appropriate traction for any driving conditions the roads and climate present
- Terrain management is activated by a console-mounted, switchable knob, enabling 4WD control through an intuitive choice of settings for various conditions
- Terrain management helps Explorer deliver increased fuel economy by eliminating heavy transfer case and driveline components, while making 4WD capabilities more accessible
When the all-new Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle goes in to production later this year, it will offer an advanced terrain management system that takes the mystery out of four-wheel drive by optimizing powertrain behavior for specific situations and road conditions.
“Talking with customers told us that flexibility and freedom to tackle any road, anytime is important to them,” said Explorer Chief Nameplate Engineer Jim Holland. “We saw the opportunity to eliminate a compromise by adding an intuitive and efficient terrain management system that can demystify four-wheel-drive control and enable the driver to properly match 4WD traction to the situations and road conditions they encounter.”
Anecdotal customer feedback indicated the potential for driver confusion with previous systems as to the best use of 4×4 high- and low-range engagement.
Ford Explorer with intelligent 4WD and terrain management eliminates guesswork, using simple icons to help drivers choose the correct setting at the simple turn of a dial for the climate or surface situation they may be driving. The icons depict the various settings to best suit driving conditions:
Snow: For snow and slippery conditions. Limits torque to wheels to prevent
Sand: For deep sand andrutted conditions. Optimizes torque for increased traction
Mud: For slippery, muddy conditions. Allows wheel spin for momentum build
Hill Descent: For Creeping down steep inclines, without using the brake pedal
Normal: For all regular driving under normal road conditions.
“One of our goals with the new Explorer is to deliver four-wheel-drive capability with easier and intuitively operated control,” said Holland. “The selectable settings are contingent upon weather and conditions, so the system is easily operated and understood. Ford terrain management makes it easier for SUV veterans, while making confidence-building Explorer capability even more accessible to segment newcomers.”
Employment of intelligent 4WD with Ford terrain management allowed Explorer engineers to deliver the “any road, anytime” capabilities that SUV buyers expect, while eliminating weight.
Less driveline mass helps the new Explorer with V-6 power deliver an estimated 25 percent better fuel economy than the 2010 model.
“Intelligent 4WD with terrain management works by optimizing Explorer powertrain and braking systems to best suit a variety of situations, allowing vehicle behavior characteristics to provide appropriate traction and driver control,” said Holland. “We anticipate the system will really be a stress-reducer and confidence-builder, especially when driving in adverse conditions.”
The re-engineered Ford Explorer goes in to production later this year.