Filed under: SUV, Crossover, Ford, First Drive

Don't Call It A Comeback...

2011 Ford Explorer - Click above for high-res image gallery

At least a few eyebrows were raised when Ford first let on that it was bringing the Explorer back in a radically different form for 2011 - but not all of the quizzical looks were for the same reasons.

For one thing, the Explorer name had been seriously damaged because of the very public Firestone tire rollover controversy of the early 2000s, something that ostensibly made the 2011 model a prime candidate for a new name. In addition, early rumors had the Blue Oval transitioning the vehicle to a unibody chassis and away from the very body-on-frame architecture that helped establish it as the archetypal sport utility vehicle for two decades. It simply wasn't clear that a crossover-based vehicle would still be able to make an authentic claim to the same core values that helped the previous four iterations of Explorer sell millions of copies. Finally, Ford already had a very competent three-row CUV in its arsenal - the Flex. Were its dealers really looking for another one?

And yet... here we are, with a spanking-new and very different sort of Explorer for 2011. Have Alan Mullaly and Co. made the right call? Click through the jump as we try to find out.

Gallery: 2011 Ford Explorer: First Drive

Photos copyright (C)2010 Drew Phillips / AOLContinue reading First Drive: 2011 Ford Explorer

First Drive: 2011 Ford Explorer originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 13 Dec 2010 11:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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