Thursday, February 2, 2012

2012 Ford Explore on 20" XD 803 wheels with Nitto Terra Grappler tires

2012 Ford Explore with XD 803 Machine Black 20x9 wheels wrapped with 265/50/20 Nitto Terra Grappler

First Drive Review

2012 Ford Explorer 2.0L EcoBoost

Ford's EcoBoost cocktail proves not quite as tasty in the Explorer.

Ford has pledged to make its downsized, turbocharged, direct-injection EcoBoost motors available as options in 90 percent of its American product line by 2013. So far, the technology cocktail has been served up in the Taurus SHO and Flex, as well as the Lincoln MKT and MKS. EcoBoost pulled off perhaps its greatest upset in the F-150, with the mighty twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 being spec’d in 41 percent of all F-150s sold here at Ford’s last count. Now, the Edge and Explorer have bellied up to the EcoBoost bar. The two crossovers tie for the honor of being the first Blue Oval products in the U.S. to offer the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder—but only on models with front-wheel drive.
Four of One, Third-of-a-Dozen of the Other
As in the F-150, the EcoBoost engine in the Edge and Explorer is offered as a seemingly equal alternative to engines with two more gas-swilling cylinders. In this case, the EcoBoost option (which costs $995 in both models) is Ford’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder, producing a stout 240 hp at 5500 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque at 3000 revs. Compare that to the base 3.5-liter V-6 in the Explorer, which offers 290 hp but just 255 lb-ft of torque. Citing a fuel-economy advantage of about 3 mpg compared with the V-6 alternatives, Ford claims the new four-pot is “the ideal powertrain” for the Edge and Explorer.
We sort of agree with Ford regarding the Edge (click here to read our drive of the EcoBoost Edge), but not so much when it comes to the Explorer. That certainly isn’t because the engine is any worse; part for part and pony for pony, it is identical. Ditto the shared transmission, which features six gears but no manually selectable ratios beyond “D” and “L.”
So Close, But So Far Away
The culprit here is weight: With its seven seats and additional 12.9 inches of overall length, the 4550-pound 2012 Explorer with EcoBoost is saddled with a gluttonous 450 pounds or so more than the EcoBoost-powered Edge. The engine itself is as sweet as honey: turbo lag is pretty much nonexistent, and the four whirs along in utter silence unless the driver is really deep into the throttle. Off-the-line response is quite good, but all that weight makes the initial acceleration unsustainable. By the time the engine is midway up the rev range, sluggishness prevails.
We drove it solo as well as with four adults on board, on roads both flat and hilly. With just four aboard, performance suffered dramatically, so we shudder at the thought of filling all seven seats and/or pulling 2000 pounds of trailer (the max recommended for the EcoBoost Explorer). Ford has a policy of not providing performance estimates for most of its cars, but in a recent comparison test of three-row crossovers, we clocked a 0-to-60-mph time of 7.7 seconds in a 4747-pound, all-wheel-drive Explorer V-6. We expect a time of around 8.0 seconds for the Explorer with the four.
In other respects, the EcoBoosted example behaved much like other Explorers we have driven since the formerly body-on-frame model crossed into crossover-dom. The electrically assisted steering is too light but precise, and the brakes are strong. But, with its formidable width and outboard armrests that only an NBA player could reach, the Explorer imparts an inescapable feeling that one is driving more of a room than a car.
Yes, Even EcoBoost Has Its Limits
Ford readily admits that the four-cylinder Explorer is not ideal for crossover buyers who intend to tow. Rather, Ford says it is a better match for workaday tasks like shuttling the kids to school and grocery-getting—so, the stuff crossover buyers do. In most regards, the lighter, more enjoyable-to-drive Edge with EcoBoost could work equally well (and yield an additional mile or two per gallon while it’s at it) unless that third-row seat is absolutely necessary. The portly Explorer is just a bit too much Ford for four cylinders to handle—even with a turbo

2012 Infiniti G37S on 20" Staggered Stance SC5 Wheels and Tires

2012 Infiniti G37S on 20x8.5 Front and 20x10 Rear Stance SC5 Machine Black wheels wrapped with Falken tires.

By Staff National July 13, 2011

Vehicle Overview

The G37 comes as a sedan, a coupe and a folding hardtop convertible. The sedan and coupe come with rear- or all-wheel drive; the convertible is rear-drive only. The sedan has room for five while the other body styles can hold up to four people. Competitors include the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, as well as the Lexus IS, Cadillac CTS and Audi A4. For 2011, Infiniti introduced a new entry-level G25 sedan to slot under the G37 sedan, but the coupe and convertible come only in G37 form.

New for 2012

The G37 sedan Limited Edition adds a Graphite interior color and 18-inch alloy wheels with a dark finish, while the G37 Sport Appearance Edition sedan gains a black grille. The convertible gets a spare tire instead of a tire-repair kit, and there are no significant changes for the coupe.


The G37 sedan features headlights that sweep back along the car, as well as a curved hood and large grille. Exterior features include:

  • Standard xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights
  • Optional adaptive headlights swivel in the direction of a turn
  • Standard 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Optional 18-inch alloy wheels


The G37 sedan seats five, though the rear center position is uncomfortable. Infiniti does not offer a folding backseat, but that's something competitors like the 3 Series and C-Class do. Interior features include:

  • Standard leather seats
  • Standard six-speaker, USB/iPod-compatible stereo
  • Optional Bose premium stereo
  • Optional navigation system with Bluetooth streaming audio

Under the Hood

The G37 sedan's 3.7-liter V-6 makes 328 horsepower and 269 pounds-feet of torque. Mechanical features include:

  • Standard seven-speed automatic transmission
  • Optional six-speed manual
  • Rear- or all-wheel drive (G37x)


The G37's optional adaptive cruise control can alert the driver, preload the brakes and tighten the seat belts if it senses rapidly decelerating traffic ahead. Standard safety features include:

  • Six airbags
  • Active front head restraints
  • Four-wheel antilock brakes
  • Electronic stability system

G37 Coupe

The coupe can come with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic. The G37 coupe has the strongest V-6 in the G lineup. It makes 330 hp and 270 pounds-feet of torque. For performance enthusiasts, Infiniti offers an IPL coupe with a 348-hp V-6 that includes a rear spoiler and 19-inch rims.

G37 Convertible

Infiniti brought the G37 convertible to market for the 2009 model year. It uses a folding metal hardtop that deploys or stows in about 30 seconds. Trim levels include the base, Sport and Limited Edition. The convertible's 3.7-liter V-6 makes 325 hp and 267 pounds-feet of torque and teams with a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission. High-end features include heated and ventilated seats and a Bose Open Air stereo, which places speakers on each side of the front head restraints.

G25 Sedan

Available with rear- or all-wheel drive, the G25 sedan employs a 2.5-liter V-6 with 218 hp and 187 pounds-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. Base and Journey trim levels are available. The G25 base comes standard with leather upholstery, power front seats, single-zone automatic climate control and a CD stereo with an auxiliary jack. The Journey has similar equipment to the G37 Journey. Upgrades include dual-zone climate control, additional power seat controls, USB/iPod stereo integration and heated front seats. A moonroof is optional. The all-wheel-drive G25x carries Journey-level features.

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