Archive for April 7, 2012

Review: 2012 Ford Explorer Limited FWD With Ecoboost – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on April 7, 2012 by itnerd

The big story of the Ford Explorer that I’m driving is the technology that’s in it. Let’s start with the safety technology. Here’s a list of technology that keeps you safe while you’re driving:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring: A orange dot will appear in the side mirrors when another vehicle is in your blind spot. That helps you to not be shocked by a vehicle that you didn’t expect to be there.
  • Cross traffic alerts: If you’ve ever backed out of a space and been surprised by a car that was coming across your path, then you will love this feature. As you back up, it will audibly alert you of any vehicle that comes across your path. Combine that with the backup camera which warns you when you get too close to a wall or another car and helps to guide you into (or out of) a parking space. It makes reversing the Explorer child’s play.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control: This cruise control system monitors the distance between you and the car in front of you and behind you and it will adjust your speed accordingly.
  • The usual traction control, stability control, ABS overseers are there. But you can also add Roll Stability Control which helps to keep you from tipping over and Curve Control which helps to keep you stable when taking turns by slowing you down by up to 16 Km/h if you take a turn too fast.

For the most part all of this safety technology is not going to get in the way of the driving experience unless it has to.

Now let’s move on a piece of technology that you must get if you are interested in the Ford Explorer. Active Park Assist. Rather than explain how it works, here’s a video that demonstrates this feature:

One piece of advice. If you get a Ford vehicle with this feature, you should take it someplace quiet to practice using it. It will make it a lot easier to use it in a busy urban environment.

Then there’s MyKey:

This fob allows you to get into the vehicle simply by having it on your person, walking up to the vehicle and pulling on the driver’s side handle. From there, simply push the brake pedal and push the start button. While that’s cool, here’s what’s cooler. You can program the key to limit what the vehicle does. For example, you can give a key to your teenage son and limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume so that he can’t drive recklessly while playing his favorite gangsta rap tunes. If you’re a parent, you’ll love it.

Finally, there’s MyFord Touch. Here’s a quick video explaining the features of the system:

Compared to the experience with the 2011 Ford Focus, I had a much more positive experience using MyFord Touch this time. The key to using the system is knowing what commands the system responds to. Therefore I would highly recommend that buyers get Ford dealers to show them how to use the system so that they get the most out of it.

Some notes about this system. I was able to pair my Blackberry to it easily and I was able to play music via Bluetooth. But I was unable to scroll through the music or choose individual artists the way I was able to with my wife’s iPod Nano via USB. I’m not sure if I was doing something wrong or the system isn’t capable of that via Bluetooth. I also noted that I could access playlists on my wife’s iPod Nano via voice, it simply displayed them on the center touchscreen and forced you to use the touchscreen to choose the playlist. That seems weird to me. Again, perhaps I might be missing something?

Clearly the technology in this vehicle is cutting edge and it’s very usable. That helps to set Ford apart from most other car makers.

Tune in tomorrow for the final part of this review where I wrap things up.

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