Ford has released new pictures and video of the new Explorer hot-weather testing in Dubai desert. With a 50 percent humidity factor and midday temperatures pushing over 125 degrees Fahrenheit, the desert climate provides “an ideal environment to test and validate vehicle performance in some of the world’s most extreme conditions.”

Chief Engineer for Vehicle Engineering Don Ufford adds one more reason to the list as to why Ford’s trying out the new 7-seater Explorer SUV in desert, and that is to listen to what local customers have to say about the SUV model.

“We regularly sell close to 10,000 Explorers per year in the Middle East market,” Ufford says. “SUV drivers in this part of the world regularly use the broad range of capabilities these vehicles offer. Our rationale for testing in Dubai is simple: If we can perform well here, we can do well anywhere.”

Along with numerous other tests, including for the effectiveness of the air conditioning system, Ford claims Dubai also offers unique terrain characteristics to validate the Explorer’s four-wheel drive capabilities.

The new 2011 Ford Explorer will be offered in the United States with a choice of two engines, either a 290HP 3.5-liter V6 or a 235HP 2.0-liter EcoBoost Turbo four-pot. Sales will begin later this year.

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