June 1, 1999 – Explorer designed for tough Australian conditions
Melbourne, Australia: Monday, May 31, 1999: The eagerly awaited 1999 Ford Explorer has been specifically tailored to local conditions with new self-leveling rear suspension, class-leading safety features and a host of detail upgrades that further enhance Explorer’s outstanding value for money.
The 1999 Explorer XL, XLT and Limited range has been engineered to further enhance its’ class-leading towing capability with revised suspension calibrations. On XLT and Limited, self-leveling suspension is fitted as standard and replaces the ‘ride control’ system previously available on Limited. The system senses the height of the body over the rear suspension and keeps the vehicle level by increasing or decreasing pressure to the gas shocks via a compressor.
“Engineers from both Ford’s US and Australian light truck program spent weeks on outback roads to ensure the new suspension handled the wide range of Australian conditions,” said Jennifer St George, Explorer Brand Manager. “An engineer from US shock absorber supplier Arnin, also participated in the development program. Together the three teams devised a new suspension configuration specific to Australian Explorers.”
Explorer is the ideal tow vehicle with XLT and Limited models sharing the 4L SOHC fuel injected V6 driving through a 5-speed automatic gearbox, and the 4l will power XL, fuel-injected OHV V6 with 5-speed manual gearbox. All models share the sophisticated ‘control trac’ full-time 4 wheel drive system, with variable torque spilt. Towing capacity remains at 2500kg on XLT and Limited, with XL rated to tow 2300kg.
Explorer already offers dual airbags, advanced chassis design that meets the most stringent crash requirement and ABS as standard, and the new model will also introducing side air bags.
“This is a first for this class, otherwise only available on the Mercedes ML and top of the line Range Rover,” said St George. “We are offering side airbags as an introductory no cost option to give Explorer buyers a taste of Ford’s advanced safety technology.” The airbags will become standard on the Limited and offered as an option on future XL and XLT models.
The XL has been upgraded to 16″ wheels with the super duty tyres to match. The new tyres have significantly thicker sidewalls, stiffer compound and uprated material, resulting in improved puncture resistance. The new tyres are also fitted to XLT and Limited. The XLT retains its current alloy wheel and Limited gets a new 5-spoke alloy.
Exterior styling changes enhance Explorers around town appeal. The front bumper has been re-styled and a pair of new more powerful round driving lights has been fitted to all three models. Explorer’s roof rack has also been re-designed for greater load capacity. The 1999 Explorer also features;
- Split tailgate for ease of access
- New running boards on XLT, to make entry and egress easier
- Wheel arch mouldings running boards and bumpers on XLT are
finished in a pale bronze, as used on the luxury US Eddie Bauer
- A retractable cargo blind is standard on XLT and Limited
- On the inside, dual sunvisors are fitted on both passenger
and drivers side providing shade regardless of the sun’s direction.
Both visors are fitted with covered and illuminated vanity mirrors
Pricing for the new model starts at $40,500 for the XL, with the XLT at $48,500, both with the no cost option of side airbags. Top of the range Limited will be available from early July costing $60,000.
“No wonder it’s the best selling 4 wheel drive vehicle in the world,” concluded St George.