Ex­plorer not right

The Ford will be sold in 90 left-drive mar­kets, writes

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad - Stu­art Martin

ANEW Ford Ex­plorer has just hit the road in Amer­ica, but has zero chance of re­plac­ing the Ter­ri­tory Down Un­der. De­spite the strengths of the new model — which picks up hi-tech, four-wheel-drive fea­tures from Land Rover— there is no plan to re­verse the Ex­plorer’s re­treat from Aus­tralia in 2006.

In any case, there is no plan for a right-hand­drive ver­sion.

Ford Aus­tralia spokes­woman Sinead McAlary says: ‘‘We have no plans to sell the new Ex­plorer in Aus­tralia be­cause it hasn’t been en­gi­neered for right-hand drive. It’s left-hand drive only.

‘‘It’s not even on our radar be­cause it’s left­hand drive only— plus we have Ter­ri­tory so it’s not on the radar at all.’’

The Ex­plorer comes with bet­ter econ­omy and shares its ba­sic me­chan­i­cal pack­age with the Ford Tau­rus — at least in front-wheeldrive form.

The front-drive car also has a 176kW Span­ish­built 2.0-litre Eco­Boost tur­bocharged di­rect­in­jec­tion al­loy four-cylin­der en­gine.

The new SUV — now with a mono­coque body struc­ture — also has a blind-spot warn­ing sys­tem, tyre-pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing, elec­tric power steer­ing, a six-speed au­to­matic, a fast en­gine warm-up and ag­gres­sive de­cel­er­a­tion fuel shut­off to im­prove econ­omy.

Ford US claims a 30 per cent in­crease in fuel ef­fi­ciency over the cur­rent US V6 — from a close re­la­tion to the pow­er­plant des­tined for the Aus­tralian Ford Fal­con — though Ford Aus­tralia has not yet re­vealed the source en­gine plant for its up­com­ing Fal­con Eco­Boost model.

Ford says the 2011 Ex­plorer will be ex­ported to more than 90 coun­tries af­ter it goes into pro­duc­tion later this year.

‘‘The 90 coun­tries must all be left-hand drive or can take those ve­hi­cles in a right-hand-drive mar­ket,’’ McAlary says.

Ford has spent more than $400 mil­lion up­grad­ing its Chicago fac­tory to build the new Ex­plorer, adding 1200 new jobs in the process.

Ford pres­i­dent of The Amer­i­cas, Mark Fields, says the Ex­plorer will give ex­ist­ing and prospec­tive cus­tomers the ca­pa­bil­ity they ex­pect and the lux­ury and con­ve­nience they want, all com­bined with the fuel econ­omy they need.

‘‘Ex­plorer own­ers told us they want ca­pa­bil­ity with con­ve­nience, and im­proved fuel econ­omy with­out com­pro­mised per­for­mance,’’ Fields says.

Missing in ac­tion: the new hi-tech4WDFord Ex­plorer is not com­ing to Aus­tralia.

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