The Chicago Auto Show is often used by U.S. automakers to debut new trucks and this year is shaping up to be no different – except for the fact that most trucks are now becoming crossovers. Sure, GM is set to unveil the new Heavy Duty version of the Chevy Silverado, but with the launch of the all-new 2011 Explorer, Ford is expected to announce that the capable truck has moved from a full body-on-frame SUV, to a car based crossover.
The Explorer will share its chassis with the new Ford Taurus sedan and is expected to keep some of the far-out powertrain ideas previewed in the Explorer American Concept when it was first shown at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.
The biggest surprise is that Ford may debut its new 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine in the crossover, that can get over 30 mpg in front-drive form. Later on, the automaker will deliver more powerful motors, including the new 300-hp 3.7-liter V6 as found in the 2011 Mustang, as well as a version of Ford's EcoBoost V6 with around 355-hp.
As a result of these changes, the Explorer will get vastly improved fuel economy across the range, however, expect tow ratings to drop.
AutoGuide will deliver live coverage from the Chicago Auto Show on February 10th.
More: Chicago Preview: 2011 Ford Explorer to Launch as Crossover With Turbocharged 4-Cylinder