New Ride: 2013 Ford Explorer Sport

Ford’s Explorer line is adding a Sport model, a top of the line edition to this popular crossover SUV. The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport goes on sale this year, bringing with it a new engine and a full-time four-wheel-drive system. The Explorer Sport’s price has yet to be announced, but will likely come in around $40,000 or just above the price of the Explorer Limited.

Powerful Engine

The Explorer Sport name is a familiar one to Ford enthusiasts, but hasn’t been seen since Ford switched platforms from its previous body on frame chassis to its current unibody design. What this model brings in is a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, a motor that provides V-8 equivalent power and does so without sacrificing fuel economy.

Indeed, the Explorer Sport is expected to deliver 350 horsepower thanks to a pair of turbochargers and direct fuel injection. Ford will pair this engine with a shiftable 6-speed automatic transmission and adds steering wheel mounted paddle shifters for drivers who insist on a more engaged drive.

A full-time four-wheel-drive system with terrain management is designed to provide maximum traction in a variety of weather conditions. It has also been engineered to perform well in mud and sand, just the kind of terrain off-roaders will frequently encounter.

Exterior & Interior Updates

Exterior changes are evident in the new, blacked out grille. Not clearly as evident, but very much present is a functional opening in the fascia, one designed to enhance cooling. Not a bad idea given that this twin-turbocharged engine will be working hard and building up the heat. Other changes can be seen in the blacked-out roof racks and 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Inside, Ford upgrades the interior by adding heated front seats. Those seats, offering 10-way power for the driver and 6-way for the passenger, are well bolstered and offer lumbar support. Also offered is a 12-speaker Sony premium audio system, SYNC with MyFord Touch, dual-zone climate control, black charcoal seating surfaces in cloth or leather, and a rear view camera. Available options include active park assist, inflatable rear seat belts, a 110-volt outlet, folding side mirrors, a dual-panel moonroof, power liftgate and a towing package that enables the Explorer Sport to haul up to 5,000 pounds.

Roomy Interior

The Explorer Sport offers three rows of seating and seating for six or seven. Unique seat stitching, contrasting Sienna inserts and special appliques help to set this model apart from other Explorers. Four special exterior color schemes also give the Explorer Sport a unique look.

Like other Explorer models, the Sport will be built at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant. Production begins this spring.

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