Review: Ford Explorer 2.0L GTDi XLT AT with EcoBoost

By Niky Tamayo
 

Review: Ford Explorer 2.0L GTDi XLT A/T with EcoBoost

It has been a year since Ford Group Philippines first released the newExplorer, yet the waiting list at dealerships is still months long. While it may not be as ubiquitous as the cheaper diesel-powered competition, it's still a sensation among premium SUV buyers. This is likely because the V6 Limited offers class-leading features at a class-leading price. The new GTDi EcoBoost, on the other hand, costs a lot less while promising similar performance and better economy. But what do you give up for going green?

Ford Explorer Styling

STYLING

You don't need a translator to tell you that this Oppa is very Gangnam. Whether GTDi or V6, the Explorer definitely gets its swagger on. There is a bit of Land Rover here, a bit of Ford Edge there and a whole lot of truck in between. Maybe too much truck.

That massive front chin scrapes parking curbs everywhere. The 18-inch alloys are very sporty, but look somewhat lost in the huge wheel wells. And in case you forget what you're driving, Explorer badges are everywhere even on the headlights.

Ford Explorer Styling

INTERIOR

By any reckoning, the Explorer ishuge. The doors and ceiling feel miles away. The trunk is usefully large with the third row up, and enormous with the third row down. About the only part of the Explorer that's not XXXL are the front footwells, which are pinched by the massive front wheels.

While theXLTlacks the power-fold third row and dual sunroofs of theLimitedvariant, it still gets power front seats and lots of creamy leather. Everything else is covered in high-quality plastics and trim, except the squishy (waterproof) armrests.

Ford Explorer's Interior

Ford Explorer's Interior

Ford Explorer's Engine

ENGINE PERFORMANCE

Ford's new Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection technology gives the 2.0-liter "Ecoboost" a healthy 240hpand 366Nm of torque. Some throttle lag and over-run are observed in stop-and-go traffic. But this variant is much peppier and more responsive than the V6. It's only past 120kph that it feels less potent, pulling less urgently to the 180kph speed limiter, but most owners won't mind.

With the long-legged six-speed automatic, the 2.0 delivers outstanding highway economy at 10-14km/L. But the 3-5km/Lwe got in traffic is identical to the V6. There's no getting around the fact that the Explorer is a very heavy truck.

Ford Explorer's Ride and Handling

RIDE AND HANDLING

The GTDi's ride is more compliant than the V6's, thanks to the smaller wheels. This is a welcome comfort over country roads. With a torrent of torque going through the economy-biased Michelin Green-X front tires, the handling is not quite as settled as the V6's.

Not that this will matter to most buyers. It is still worlds better than the previous truck and comfortably above par for the class. About the only real-world nits are the side mirrors two sizes too small for a vehicle the size of a compact bus. Without the rear camera, parking would be a hopeless exercise.

Ford Explorer's Extra Features

EXTRA FEATURES

Along with that rear camera, the GTDi comes with traction control, hill descent control, voice command, the MyFord Touch infotainment console, and a dual-LCD instrument cluster with a bevy of display functions. Bluetooth, SD, USB, iPod and AV auxiliary options can also keep you busy. To be honest, I found myself looking at the "PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS" warning more often than I'd like to admit.

While I found MyFord Touch frustrating at launch, the current software upgrade is more responsive than before despite the odd hiccup. Yes, you can update your Explorer just like a smartphone. Now, if only you could plug it in, too.

THE VERDICT

While it's not electric, the "Ecoboost" does a fair job of saving gas. But in heavy Philippine traffic, the real-world difference is negligible. It would thus seem foolish not to opt for the fully-loaded V6 Limited instead, except if your daily commute includes the entire stretch of the NLEX.

Whatever flavor you get it in, the Explorer is a grand bargain, and it's no wonder that Ford can't bring them in fast enough to satisfy buyers.

SPECS: FORD EXPLORER 2.0L GTDi XLT AT with EcoBoost

Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC I4 turbocharged gasoline

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Power: 240hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 366Nm @ 1,750-3,000rpm

Drive layout: FWD

Seating: 7

Price: P2,250,000

Score: 16/20

Photos by Niky Tamayo

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  • 007 Nov 12 2012 @ 05:58pm
    3 to 5 kml per liter? not bad. My Ford Escape is 6kml per liter sa traffic
    • Kyoichi Sudo Nov 12 2012 @ 06:22pm
      I'm not surprised, Escape eh...
      • johnvicred18 Nov 13 2012 @ 05:37pm
        explorer po,.lol
  • GotToRead Nov 12 2012 @ 06:02pm
    The dashboard looks boring, everything else looks awesome and I agree it is a grand bargain, for its price you get more for paying lesser compared to other SUVs in its class. I wonder how Ford can keep this prices low (not that low) that is packed with features? Is the Explorer supplied here is from Thailand or from the US? Same with the 'Stangs.
  • robin_micmac Nov 12 2012 @ 06:15pm
    east west engine configuration.. they just dont feel man enough for the job =|
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo Nov 12 2012 @ 09:55pm
      While there are many truckers who would agree, the FWD GTDI is still decently rated for towing. I'm just not sure I'd trust it with as big a load as you could haul with the older live axle Explorers, though the 2.0 is a fair bit stronger than the old 4.0.
      • robin_micmac Nov 12 2012 @ 10:38pm
        Yes I agree about towing capability much in the same way that the Land Rover Freelander is a decent car for towing. Same here with me, i just dont think i would trust it to haul as much as the earlier explorers. An east-west engine configuration basically means that the car is majority a front-wheel drive car with drive normally delivered to the rear on demand via a coupling either viscous or haldex type. I would say its acceptable to a vehicle the size of a RAV4 or CRV but I just think an Explorer is just way too big for an east west config. Is this vehicle 2WD? just imagine when the car is fully laden and most of the load are now shifted to the rear axles. traction would even be an issue. Most mid to full size SUV will give you a clue when you have a look at their front and rear axles. The rears are much beefier than the fronts because the road load on the rear is much greater than the fronts. nothing against this car..just dont like the fact that they chose this config over the traditional north-south. at the end of the day it will be cost that would drive this decision as the east west configuration is a much cheaper platform to design and manufacture
        • Niky Tamayo
          Niky Tamayo Nov 12 2012 @ 11:50pm
          2WD, and better for it. It still has trailer sway assist, oddly. I thunk it's telling that for the towing package, Ford adds extra coolers front and rear, to keep the transaxle and rear PTO (power takeoff) happy.

          Anyway, here in the Philippines, not many owners will be using is for towing. They'll have a diesel truck to do that.

          Front-drive is not going to be an issue with just a full load of passengers. With a trailer, though, it will be.
          • robin_micmac Nov 13 2012 @ 03:26pm
            Agree. Although I think the PTU will only be on 4WD models. It could be using a similar PTU with oil cooler as the ones used on the CX9 which is one of the most complicated and expensive PTU designs on earth. They needed the cooling due the packaging which restricts airflow to these components.

            True, these cars will have a nice pampered lifestyle anyway and it will probably be doing more VIP shuttle service duties than towing =)
            I remember a friend of mine used to have a 2nd gen CRV (the 2wd variant) and it couldnt go up the office carpark on a rainy day when fully laden with passengers.
  • Kyoichi Sudo Nov 12 2012 @ 06:24pm
    Ang ayaw ko sa 3.5 V6 ung chrome wheels eh, napaka-awkward ng feeling ko sa mga rims na yun kaya I'd still rather opt for this 2.0L GTDi XLT variant...
  • rpal Nov 12 2012 @ 06:32pm
    2013 santa fe would be a great alternative
    • Kyoichi Sudo Nov 12 2012 @ 06:51pm
      Seriously? Opt for a smaller & less useful premium CUV than a big but useful ,appealing & luxurious premium SUV%3
      • rpal Nov 12 2012 @ 08:14pm
        at least its a diesel which could save more your running costs... but when it come to space yeah you got a point :)
        • Kyoichi Sudo Nov 12 2012 @ 08:32pm
          Sorento's top-spec 4WD is better, bigger than Santa Fe's top-spec 4WD but it only costs P2,090M while the Santa Fe will cost you almost P2.3M and
          • Kyoichi Sudo Nov 12 2012 @ 08:33pm
            the Explorer's 2.0L is the vehicle's gas-saving variant w/c has almost the same mileage w/ a diesel CUV
            • jojo204200 Nov 13 2012 @ 03:14pm
              Hey guys, you can afford a 2M car and yet thinking of fuel consumption? No way.
    • Tandang Sora Nov 13 2012 @ 10:23pm
      Alternative? Forget it.

      Alternatives?
      1. Durango
      2. Prado
      3. Pathfinder
      3. Sequoia
    • carwiki Nov 18 2012 @ 02:58pm
      Santa Fe will be useless I'll tell you. Explorer is a true SUV with a 4WD that is suitable for serious off-roading, but Santa Fe is a true CUV that has an AWD system that is only suitable for LIGHT to MODERATE OFF-ROADING.
  • LACOSTER Nov 12 2012 @ 07:06pm
    "You don't need a translator to tell you that this Oppa is very Gangnam"
    Oh please, save it for the Santa Fe review, guys.
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo Nov 12 2012 @ 09:52pm
      Ferman already did the Santa Fe. If he don't use it, it's fair game! Besides, the Explorer is definitely more gangsta than the SF, which is more of a sophisticate than an Macho-mobile.
      • LACOSTER Nov 12 2012 @ 10:52pm
        The Explorer is more "Hey, Macarena" than Oppa Gangnam to be honest. (if that makes sense)
      • GotToRead Nov 13 2012 @ 12:47am
        Explorer? Gangsta?? Maybe you talk about Hummers.....
  • JoHunter Nov 12 2012 @ 08:20pm
    For that price, I'd go for the Sta Fe. TGP said it themselves (and I agree) that there's just too much truck in there. And the fact of its excessive weight means much of the power goes to keeping it moving rather than making it move faster. Never mind the Gangnam style - the song itself implies that it's not a good thing :)
    • Tandang Sora Nov 13 2012 @ 10:22pm
      Hello. Yes, JoHunter, this is a truck based PREMIUM SUV. A lot of truck, (as you and the article pointed out) due to it's humongous size.

      By the way, this Explorer, long way iin its history, has been an all time favorite ALL AROUND CAR. City, Snow, Desert, everything. It delivers. That's why a truck. the ride? Superb.

      Okay so, you think engineers will put a st*p*dly weak engine in its bay to make it propel? You've got to be losing your mind. read again the lines before making an assumption. 240 HP? Will bid goodbye to SF. It has a very powerful engine that's why in America, this had been a Hauler of Sailing ships, of trailers, and even a korean CUV.

      The Gangnam word? don't make a fuss out of it. And, I know you already know, what Gangnam really is - a Richman's district. Yes, Explorer belongs there. :)
      • JoHunter Nov 13 2012 @ 11:55pm
        With its 366 Nm of torque (at 3500 rpm) going against the Sta Fe's 421 Nm (at 1800-2500 rpm), I think it will be the other way around. Plus like I said, most of the Explorer's horses will be spent on lugging its huge weight around. I don't believe Ford's engineers had speed in mind when they designed this.
        • Niky Tamayo
          Niky Tamayo Nov 14 2012 @ 03:49am
          Acceleration is a function of average horsepower. Peak horsepower and torque mean little except to suggest what the average is. Trust me, having driven both the 190 hp Santa Fe and the 240 hp Explorer, the difference in power matched to the difference in weight gives them pretty similar acceleration. Even if the Santa Fe has more torque, that doesn't really matter past first gear.
  • Kim John Nov 12 2012 @ 09:08pm
    ito bibilhin ko!
  • markdejesus76 Nov 12 2012 @ 09:26pm
    Why compare this to Santa Fe? Because of price?
    If I would buy this kind of vehicle, I wouldn't buy because of speed. The hell? I would buy an SUV and wish to drive it like a sports car? Diesel? Kung maingay at di rin lang naman refined, Gas na lang. For the price, the target consumers kasi would rather like comfort, luxury, and massive space. For the money, I would definitely pick the Explorer. Kung hindi explorer? Everest or Montero Sport.
    • tgstig Nov 12 2012 @ 11:33pm
      Yea the new Explorer is bang for the buck, with that power and space. Ang ayaw ko lang ay yung creamy leather seats, so sa LIMITED variant na ako.

      C'mon the Everest and Montero Sport are already jurassic (lalo na yung Everest).
      • markdejesus76 Nov 13 2012 @ 05:46am
        haha.. Pero even with its jurassic age, they still deliver.
      • Kyoichi Sudo Nov 14 2012 @ 04:56pm
        Yes but they sell more than the Fortuner thanks to their continous upgrades to their features and the never-aging looks lalo na ang Montero Sport, the design still looks fresh, hndi halatang 4 yrs na syang around sa country natin. That's what you call unique styling.
    • Seniorito01 Nov 13 2012 @ 02:30pm
      1 ako sayo!! =) kaya ka nga bumili ng SUV is to ride comfortly hinde ka naman kakarera! hahahahaha don't mind the gas eh kung my pang bili ng ganyan tapos wala ka namang pang gas! edi sana bumili ka na lang ng mas afford na auto at pang gas/maintenance. diba??
  • camebeyond Nov 13 2012 @ 09:38am
    SF is almost the same price as this.. why settle for SF, comparing the two, the FE edges... no offence Sta. Fe....
  • 17Sphynx17 Nov 13 2012 @ 10:54am
    I am curious though, usually when TGP tests the FC, they are not doing all the tips and tricks to save on fuel to more accurately simulate a regular person driving. So I am curious whether the highway figures can be improved a bit above 14km/l?

    But I love this car. hehe! Hope to be able to save up for it and maybe who knows, in two years time, a diesel ecoboost variant could be entering our shores. But the gas variant is still enticing. =)
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo Nov 13 2012 @ 02:43pm
      14 is taking it easy and sticking to 80 kmh. All highway. 16 might be possible on a looooong DOE run, but I doubt you could wring any more out of it without a manual transmission.
  • GTi Nov 13 2012 @ 01:25pm
    3-5km/L?! Didn't know the 2.0L Ecoboost can be this thirsty... I'd thought the 2.0L would be much better than the 3.5V6 in terms of city gas mileage.
  • snoid_zero Nov 13 2012 @ 01:42pm
    There are two major issues that plagued the new explorer right now.
    The burnt oil or sulfur smell during hard acceleration inside the cabin
    and the sudden lost of power steering...
  • johnvicred18 Nov 13 2012 @ 05:37pm
    bang for the buck!
  • Tandang Sora Nov 13 2012 @ 10:12pm
    Santa Fe over this? NO WAY.

    real Men drive this. Common SF Lunatics. don't make an issue here. You all know for yourself, THAT it's not even in the same segment. If it is, then We call it an Overkill to SF.

    If you'll insist, Hello? 2.3 Million for a 'papilit' na 7 Seater? Wtf? An OLD Engine? Same 190 HP? The Explorer will whip SF's *ss with its 240 Hp. Okay let's put aside speed because, again, it's overkill to SF.

    I don't understand the competition here. Maybe Durango vs. Explorer, that'll be a better fight.
    And by the way, don't make an issue of the Gangnam.

    The reason it was used, is to mock the papilit na Korean (I can't believe this) 'ALTERNATIVE' (almost had cancer of saying alternative). So, let's put this issue to rest.
    • LACOSTER Nov 13 2012 @ 11:13pm
      i never said the gangnam reference was an issue. i was just making fun of it a little.

      seriously people can't understand jokes on this website.
      • JoHunter Nov 14 2012 @ 12:01am
        Um... yes, Santa Fe over the Explorer. And I also say Genesis over the 86. Would you believe that? :)

        (Disclaimer: That the Sta Fe and the Genesis are both Hyundai is purely coincidental. I'm not a Hyundai fanboy. I just like great cars)
      • Kyoichi Sudo Nov 14 2012 @ 05:00pm
        "seriously people can't understand jokes on this website"

        Often true Hahahahaha....
    • snoid_zero Nov 14 2012 @ 10:49am
      the new Santa Fe Long Wheel Base will be up against the Explorer. but that will come on a later date.
  • BOOGIECAT Nov 14 2012 @ 11:25am
    Santa Fe LWB ang katapat ng Explorer..Comparing Explorer to Santa Fe Sport 7 seater SWB is like comparing Pajero to Outlander!
    • Kyoichi Sudo Nov 14 2012 @ 05:02pm
      Good explanation Sir Boogiecat, you've exactly hit the point of not to compare the Santa Fe Sport to the Explorer, it is really like Pajero vs. Outlander
  • iam3739 Nov 14 2012 @ 12:17pm
    Looks old already.
    • Kyoichi Sudo Nov 14 2012 @ 05:04pm
      Its your opinion so be it but seriously, you may be the only person who says that the all-new Explorer looks old. Your comment fits to a Land Cruiser Prado or Patrol Super Safari Review....
      • iam3739 Nov 14 2012 @ 09:49pm
        Sorry but I don't live to please anyone.

        I am perfectly happy to say, in my opinion, it looks old especially the dashboard.

        No further comment.
  • Haggar Nov 15 2012 @ 03:34pm
    The wife and i ended up specifically choosing an Explorer 2.0 finding it the best compromise at its price point. The closest foreign competition was the Mazda CX-9 which ends up very close in price because Mazda offers a ton of incentives. The CX-9 was a superior driving experience, but lost out to the Explorer due to lack of features and an aging interior. The Santa Fe was just too small and no timetable was given regarding the arrival of the extended version (or pricing...SWB is already 2.2 mil for premium spec)
    Within Ford, the 2.0L won over the V6 because of the features it lacked. Sunroof is useless in the Philippines unless you smoke. Electric 3rd row and keyless entry are great for showing off to in-laws and I can see their value for US owners. Here, I'm pretty sure most Explorer owners have drivers - so those features aren't much of a bonus. AWD is useful for going out of town, but we don't really travel much beyond Batangas/Tagaytay, both of which are well paved. In the end, all those missing features would just be financial headaches if they broke after 5-6 years.
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo Nov 15 2012 @ 07:10pm
      I actually like the interior on the CX9, and I agree, it is much better in terms of the drive. Heck, better than everything in the class! But that 3.7 liter engine is thirstier than even the Explorer V6, and returns so-so economy on the highway. Lots and lots of fun, but the Explorer is the more pragmatic choice. Congrats!
  • ramonroq Nov 23 2012 @ 01:06pm
    SPECS: FORD EXPLORER 2.0L GTDi XLT AT with EcoBoost Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC I4 turbocharged gasoline Transmission: 6-speed automatic Power: 240hp @ 5,500rpm
    Torque: 366Nm @ 1,750-3,000rpm Drive layout: FWD Seating: 7 Price: P2,250,000

    Score: 16/20
    This model is below the middle in terms of price and built. First of all, mostly made up of plastic, auto transmission will not last for long, fuel economy ? 11 mpg, better wait for new model of Ford Everest, if there will be ??

  • Baguioboy Jan 05 2013 @ 06:21am
    I wonder if it is worthwhile owning a Ford product now that, the company moved its assembly plant to another country. Wazzup! Chevy is the way to go. Go Diesel, too!
  • benedict_251 May 10 2013 @ 09:45am
    Just wondering why Ford doesn't have diesel variants for this Explorer when they are also producing Ranger/wildtrak pick ups & everest?
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