It looks like the gradual uncovering of the Explorer prototypes has begun, as we've just caught this latest test mule with the camouflage removed from the rear doors. For the first time, we can see the side sculpting of the sheetmetal as well as a better look at the greenhouse.
Code-named U502, this all-new Ford Explorer model will switch to the unibody D4 platform, shared with the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT. Ford is hoping for a significant weight drop and, in turn, 20-25 percent better fuel mileage. The two powertrains we have confirmed for the Explorer are the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost and the regular, non-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6. While the twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 could still find its way into the Explorer sometime after launch, it may only be part of the police package.
Under the camouflage, there is a typical Ford three-bar grille. You also get a look at an impressive pair of projector headlights and trick set of LED taillights. On the inside, expect three rows of seats.
Don't look for a Mercury or Lincoln variant, and there will be no Sport Trac pickup version, either.
Unfortunately, we can't show you the full images online, you'll have to check out the May/June 2010 issue--soon to be on news stands March 30th, 2010!
Photo by: Jim Dunne/Brenda Priddy & Co.