After the success of its EcoBoosted F-150 Pickup, Ford obviously wasn't going to stop slotting turbocharged engines in their models in the name of economy. Instead they pressed on and achieved even more economy: by slotting a smaller turbo four in the 2012 Explorer, it'll be rated at 20/28 mpg (city/highway).
The EPA has finished testing the Explorer's new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinderengine, and Ford has released the numbers: the Explorer EcoBoost will achieve 28 mpg on the highway, one fewer than originally projected but three more than the base engine. Like its competitors, the turbo I4 drinks regular unleaded fuel, so don't expect to spend more money to use less gas.
This puts the front-wheel drive EcoBoost Explorer near top of its segment for fuel economy: it's only bested by four-cylinder forms of the Kia Sorento and Mitsubishi Outlander, both of which carry smaller, normally-aspirated four-cylinder engines, are smaller vehicles, and weigh significantly less: the base Outlander weighs in at about 3400 pounds, 1100 pounds fewer than the Explorer. They also pack far less power. The new EcoBoost is good for 240 hp at 5,500 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque available at 3,000 rpm;Both the Sorento and Outlander have roughly 170 hp.
Needless to say, if the Explorer's EcoBoosted fuel economy is on par with smaller crossovers, it stands to reason it bests those that closer in size. Among its chief competition, including the Toyota Highlander, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Pilot, and Chevrolet Traverse, the vehicle ekes out a 3-5 mpg lead over comparable six-cylinder models.
Full 2012 pricing hasn't been released, but Ford had previously suggested the EcoBoost engine will carry a premium -- possibly in the neighborhood of $995 or so -- over the V-6 model. Would you spend the extra money to save more when refueling at the pump? Tell us what engine you'd pick for your own Explorer in the comments field below.