Trying to prove that big cars can still have a place in an increasingly eco-conscious world, Ford showed off the Explorer America concept car in Detroit.
It gives an insight into the next Ford Explorer, a no-compromise, load-lugging 4x4. It won't be on sale in the UK but it is relevant, because it highlights a growing green awareness in the USA, featuring fuel economy that's 20-30% more efficient than the current model.
These savings have been achieved with the adoption of new engine technology called Ecoboost (see below), reduced weight, electric power steering and other fuel-saving measures.
The Explorer America weighs 150lbs less than the current production Explorer, with significant savings because it has been built with a car-like chassis, rather than a traditional 4x4 structure.
Two engines will be available: a 275bhp 2.0-litre and a 340bhp 3.5-litre, with a new six-speed automatic gearbox with manual gear selection function fitted.
The new Ford Explorer will go on sale in the USA 2010.
Ford revealed a new range of engines at the Detroit motor show, which fall under the Ecoboost name.
Introduced as Ford battles to meet US goals for average emissions across its range, and to appeal to an increasingly environmentally-aware American market, the engines use turbocharging and direct-injection technology to get more power from smaller engines.
It also has the benefit of being far cheaper and quicker to put into production than a hybrid system.
Ford says the range will deliver up to 20% better fuel economy, 15% fewer carbon dioxide emissions and better performance compared to larger engines.
The new technology will initially be introduced on the new Lincoln MKS flagship in the USA, with a 411bhp 3.5-litre V6.
It will be gradually spread across the marque's car range, and Ford claims that by 2013 more than half a million Ecoboost engines will be on the road in North America.