Four wheel drive systems can be a lifesaver in many situations, assuming you know how to use them properly. Unfortunately, this seems to be a lost art to many who get behind the wheel thinking they can negotiate any obstacle that get in their path. However, Ford has developed a new terrain management system that will take much of the guess work out of those off-road excursions.
Terrain Selection Display
The new system, being called Intelligent 4 Wheel Drive with Terrain Management, is somewhat similar to the variable traction control systems found on many all wheel drive vehicles. It allows the driver to select which type of terrain they will be traversing and configure the vehicle to perform accordingly.
For everyday driving, there is a normal mode that will offer the best fuel economy and most comfortable ride. Next on the dial is a Mud and Rut Mode that will allow the wheels to spin without cutting power. This will work to build speed through deeper mud holes and help to ensure you don't end up needing pulled out.
The next setting in the system is optimized for driving on surfaces that tend to shift easily such as sand and loose rocks. Each wheel is monitored for spin and will cut power to keep as much traction as possible. This setting will also help to keep the vehicle stable on uneven surfaces.
The final setting is made for wintry conditions and will limit the amount of torque allowed to the wheels to prevent sliding and spinning during starts and cornering. It should be noted that this setting is only recommended for moderate snowfall or especially slippery conditions. When driving in light snow, the normal driving mode will suffice.
Along with the above settings, Ford has also developed a Hill Descent system that will keep the vehicle at a reasonable speed while going down steep hills without the use of the brakes. Assumedly, the system will also be useful when towing light loads.
The new Explorer is also expected to return up to 25% better fuel economy thanks to a decrease in overall weight and a more efficient drive-train design.
The 2010 Explorer will be available early in the 4th quarter of this year. EGM Car Tech