Autoblog drives the 2011 Ford Explorer for the first time – pitting it against a Toyota 4Runner off-road, and has this to say:
Throughout the challenge, the Explorer faithfully scrabbled everywhere the 4Runner did, but with notably less head-toss from its four-wheel independent suspension and indeed, fewer creaks from its body structure. There was even less teeth-gnashing during the hill descent, as the Ford’s technology was both easier to summon (the Toyota requires a surprising amount of button and lever pushing to optimize it for downhill performance) and quieter in operation.
Either way, when it comes time to pack up the weekend cottage and escape from the Dueling Banjos on a snaking dirt road, we’d take the Explorer every time.
Take a minute to let that sink in. Ford switched to a unibody construction for this all-new Explorer. The reasons were many, but mainly to improve fuel economy and on-road mannerisms. The fact that it performs better than the body-on-frame 4Runner *off-road* is nothing short of spectacular.
Granted, if the terrain is really extreme, I’d still take the Toyota over the Ford every time. Still, though… quite an impressive showing from Ford.
Read more about the 2011 Ford Explorer.