2011 Ford Explorer - design in the details

Hot on the heals of the Chevy Volt interior, Ford has been applying touch sensitive switches. It sure makes for a cleaner and simpler looking interface. I can’t wait to hear about the usability.

Here is another center stack from the Explorer, but with a different radio:

Another notable detail is the instrument cluster:

Ford has brought LCD down from the hybrid models into the Explorer. They’ve also given the user the ability to change colours and some interface details. Nice!

Here is the outside btw:

Even though it steals a lot from Land Rover, I like it. This is what I would have wanted to see from the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Although, I’m sure the Explorer is much less capable off-road.

I like it. I’ve been really happy with direction ford has been heading lately.

WOW! Gorgeous. Hats off to Ford here, they’re on a hot streak.

Although their current marketing ploy of charging more for the base 4 cylinder model is a bit strange, but who knows, it may work.

I’m concerned about the usability while driving. Touch sensitive switches don’t give much tactile feedback, although those little creases I see under the switches could help a little. Definitely needs more distinction, though.

Also: ugh at the center stack display UI. Car software UIs are awful.

Otherwise, nice. Automotive UI is hard to design.

I don’t know, but the Ford logo + the new style of grill never worked for me. It’s like a futuristic grill + ye olde logo. It makes me uncomfortable.

Thank you for showing how much effort went into the details. This one is up to par
with the best american offerings of the golden 60ies. Really moving to see how FORD
is coming back.

The best thing though is, that their financial revenues are backing this up. They build
better cars and make more money from them.

Can we declare defeat of the beancounters just yet?

yours mo-i

No way. If anything the beancounters deserve a bulk of the credit for Ford’s recent success. It’s not just great design that moved that company ahead of GM (and even toyota recently). Smart money moves (i.e. not taking Federal dollars) and smart manufacturing moves helped them power that company into the black. Couple those moves with great design and you’ve got a recipe for success.

I really like this exterior too. It’s lost a lot of the old Explorer boxiness, but I think that’s ok. It’s definitely the big brother of the Edge and the New Fusion, which I also like, but there’s a connection also to the F-150 trucks , esp the SVT Raptor.

The roof almost has a Land Rover-ish floating top feel, except for the C-Pillar, which is handled nicely.

I’ll reserve judgement but the “gloss black capacitive” center stack really irks me. Glossy materials generally show every imperfection which means half the time the car will be doused in finger prints, and as mentioned the capactive nature is usually rubbish when driving - especially when you have a small target to lean over and hit.

Although the second stack (without the Sony knob) looks like it might actually just be a soft plastic membrane type keypad rather than capacative which might be OK.

In a semi-related detail, why do we need a 140 mph speedometer on Ford Explorer? I’m sure it’s not capable of anything near that, and short of running from the cops after a bank heist (and there are much better getaway vehicle choices), I can’t even imagine a situation where someone would have it up much over 90. Explorers get tracked even less often than they go off road. Having that much range over such a small sweep just kills your resolution. The difference between 35 and 40 can get you a ticket, and that probably represents about .125" of needle travel on the gauge. And why even bother including the metric scale at that diameter? The width of the needle spans about 10 km/h.

Haha, you clearly don’t live in an area where people drive like Jackasses enough. :smiley:

With just under 300hp I’m sure that truck could get up to 120 pretty quickly in the hands of the right hoon. I’ve been passed by Escalades and other mega SUV’s doing ~100+ before here in NY.

I saw this last night on Autoblog and I have to say, from photos, this is pretty hot. I love what Ford is doing.

Thinking about over-optimistic speedos:

There is really no way to get a stock 914 passed 100mph, let alone up to 150mph. Talk about marketing!

Back to the Explorer: After the resounding beating we gave that Infiniti, it seems like the Explorer is the exact opposite…very positive. Maybe we have the best and worst of the year!

UI: I’m worried about it too. Having said that, I know Ford does conventional UI better than almost anyone. I’m sure this is well-tested and I bet it will be easier to use than BMW i Drive despite the BMW’s head start. BTW: Ford Focus is getting the same touch-sensitive buttons next year!

Money: Nurb is right, Ford is hitting on all cylinders. 1. They got funding when credit was cheap before the crunch. Then, the bean counters were smart enough to dump it in R&D versus cutting and running. 2. J. Mays. This guy is a genius. I wish Core could get me an interview with him. A lot of these “name” car designers are one trick ponies and J Mays start at Ford looked the same way. Remember the VW like 500? Now it seems like they’ve finally figured out their own strategy and are implementing it perfectly.

I just wanted to clarify that the german equivalent of “bean counter” = “Erbsenzähler” is not used for
all financial guys but coined for the ones that are unable to see the whole picture, while being swamped
busy with their spreadsheet numbers. (in american english it might be different.?.)

Obviously Ford was able to filter out the business types who actualy care about cars and customers = reality

yours mo-i

Ahhh… stupid language barrier. I think we’re on the same page.

mo-i: that’s what it means in Canada too!