One of the main reasons buyers steered away from the old Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle, according to Ford itself, was its fuel economy. So gas mileage had to be a major selling point for the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer.

Like so many new cars and crossovers, the latest model does indeed get significantly better mileage. Now we know how much: 25 percent better, or 25 miles per gallon on the highway.
That's the word from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, anyhow, as announced by Ford yesterday on its Explorer Facebook page.

Nope, no press release, just a Facebook posting that said, "It's official, the 2011 Ford Explorer gets an EPA estimated 25 highway MPG - which is Best in Class for a V6 and 25% more fuel efficient than the current model."

(We've left Ford's puncutation intact, above. If you have trouble finding it on the very active Explorer Facebook page, filter for "Only Ford Explorer".)

The full figures, according to Ford, are 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 20 mpg. That's for the 2011 Explorer fitted with a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine.

Ford hasn't yet officially launched the version with the direct-injected and turbocharged 237-hp, 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, which should offer higher ratings still.

The old Explorer, by comparison, was rated at 14 mpg city, 20 mpg highway (hence the 25-percent improvement) when fitted with rear-wheel-drive, or 13 mpg, 19 mpg with four-wheel-drive.

The old model got 14/20 in rear-wheel-drive configuration, 13/19 with an all-wheel-drive powertrain. The well-received 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a direct competitor for the new 2011 Explorer, is rated at 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 18 mpg.

Ford adapted a number of technical tricks from in its hybrid vehicles to help the new Explorer reach the new mileage numbers.

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