• 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The first-ever high-performance Explorer model features a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, structural chassis enhancements for improved dynamics, and sporty design cues. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The new Explorer Sport features unique interior design cues and leather faced seats with contrast stitching, inspired by fashion accessories such as Prada handbags. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The new Explorer Sport features unique interior design cues and leather faced seats with contrast stitching, inspired by fashion accessories such as Prada handbags. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The new Explorer Sport features unique interior design cues and leather faced seats with contrast stitching, inspired by fashion accessories such as Prada handbags. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The new Explorer Sport features unique interior design cues and leather faced seats with contrast stitching, inspired by fashion accessories such as Prada handbags. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The new Explorer Sport features unique interior design cues and leather faced seats with contrast stitching, inspired by fashion accessories such as Prada handbags. (03/28/12)
  • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport: The new Explorer Sport features unique interior design cues and leather faced seats with contrast stitching, inspired by fashion accessories such as Prada handbags. (03/28/12)
The last time we remember talking about a high-performance Ford Explorer was 2007 when a rare Saleen Explorer XP8 popped up on eBay Motors. For the 2013 model year, however, Ford will start producing high performance Explorers right at the factory. Dubbed the Explorer Sport, this new addition to the Explorer lineup sports the same twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 found in the Taurus SHO, Flex, F-150 and Lincoln MKS and MKT. It produces the least amount of power in this application – 350 horsepower – and while Ford doesn't mention torque figures in the press release below, we can assume somewhere around 350 lb-ft.

Ford is projecting fuel economy numbers in the neighborhood of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg highway, and says the Explorer Sport can also tow up to 5,000 pounds. Other tweaks to get this three-row crossover dancing include reinforcements to the chassis, a faster ratio for its electric steering system, a unique 3.16:1 final drive ratio and larger brakes. There are also paddles to shift the six-speed automatic transmission and special settings for the Explorer's Terrain Management System.

When treating the Explorer Sport to a few exterior changes, Ford designers went with a dark theme, blacking out the lighting elements, roof rails and sideview mirrors, as well as the grille, lower front fascia and wheel faces. Inside the Explorer Sport gets Charcoal Black leather seating, with or without contrasting inserts, and special stitching on the seats and steering wheel.

No pricing was given, but the new Sport model will sit atop the Explorer line, which means a base price north of the Explorer Limited's at $38,180. Ford is showing the Explorer Sport at a media event near its headquarters in Dearborn as we speak, so stay tuned for the first live images of the Explorer Sport as we get them.

*UPDATE: Video added after the break.


Show full PR text
New Ford Explorer Sport: Fuel-Efficient, High-Performance SUV Features Inspired Design Cues, EcoBoost V6 Engine

- Ford Explorer Sport is a new addition for the 2013 model year, featuring EcoBoost® 3.5-liter V6 engine for greater performance feel and projected top fuel economy among gasoline-powered, high-performance sport utility vehicles
- Explorer Sport gives customers an interior inspired by designer accessory fashions, sporty exterior design cues and specially tuned suspension components


DEARBORN, Mich., March 28, 2012 – The first-ever performance version of the Ford Explorer arrives this year with the highest projected fuel economy among gasoline-engine-powered, high- performance SUVs.

With a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost® V6 engine making at least 350 horsepower and four-wheel drive with a Terrain Management SystemTM, Explorer Sport delivers enhanced on-road dynamics with sporty design cues inside and out.

"Adding an EcoBoost drivetrain to Explorer Sport delivers even more fuel efficiency and performance to the lineup," said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer. "This is our highest- performance, most capable Ford Explorer ever."

Power, capability, fuel efficiency
Completely new for 2011, the Ford Explorer has been winning over customers with its improved on-road handling, impressive comfort and convenience technologies, and fuel economy never before delivered by an SUV.

For the 2013 model year, Explorer Sport brings high-performance SUV power and projected fuel economy of up to 16 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway – anticipating 3 mpg better in the city and 2 mpg on the highway than the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango R/T 5.7-liter Hemi engines. It scores 3 mpg higher in the city and 4 mpg higher on the highway than the Land Rover Range Rover Sport.

"Explorer Sport makes no compromises," said Carl Widmann, vehicle engineering manager. "By carefully beefing the chassis and suspension, precisely calibrating the Terrain Management System and adding comfort and convenience features, we've delivered an SUV that delivers great dynamics and performance – while towing up to 5,000 pounds."

The Explorer Sport features a paddle-shifted six-speed SelectShift AutomaticTM transmission with a unique 3.16 to 1 final drive ratio to provide the balance of responsive acceleration and economical low-rpm cruising for better fuel efficiency.

The chassis also has been specially reinforced, making Explorer Sport stiffer and improving its handling.

Explorer Sport also brings a solid-mounted electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) rack with a faster ratio, providing more responsiveness to drivers both on-road and off.

Ford's newest SUV comes standard with larger brakes for shorter stopping distances and better performance while towing.

Explorer Sport also has received special terrain management settings for tackling sandy, snowy, rutted mud and hill descent.

"Upgrading to Sport specification enabled us to maintain the standards of traditional Explorer capability plus delivering the highest highway fuel efficiency among gasoline-engine-powered, high-performance, three-row SUVs," Widmann said.

Subtle, sporty design elements
Sport builds on Explorer's muscular, sculpted form with subtle cues to differentiate it from other models in the lineup. Available in four exterior colors – Ruby Red Metallic Clearcoat, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, Tuxedo Black Metallic and Ingot Silver Metallic – Explorer Sport has unique 20-inch painted and machined wheels, features blacked-out headlamp and taillamp treatments, black roof rack rails, sideview mirror skull caps and a liftgate appliqué.

The Explorer Sport's special grille is a low-gloss Sterling Gray mesh, with contrasting ebony high-gloss bars. The black front lower fascia features a functional opening for additional cooling. Explorer logotype in billet-like black adds a bold identity statement. Subtle Sport and EcoBoost badges at the rear finish the liftgate.

Inside, the high-end feel continues. Charcoal Black leather-trimmed seating is available with and without contrasting Sienna inserts.

The interior design contrast was inspired by fashion, mirroring two-tones that are currently seen in leather accessories and apparel from design houses Balenciaga and Prada. Stitching is emphasized to lend a handcrafted appearance while highlighting Explorer Sport's sculptured seats.

Explorer Sport also has unique steering wheel stitching, a technical look to instrument and door panel appliqués, unique Sport-logo floor mats and illuminated scuff plates.

Comfort, convenience, connectivity
As the top of the Explorer line, Sport offers a robust array of standard and optional customer- focused technologies that make driving more comfortable, convenient and connected. These include:

- 4WD with Terrain Management System
- Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control
- 10-way power driver's seat with power recline and lumbar
- Six-way power passenger seat with recline and lumbar
- First-row heated seats
- Compass and exterior temperature display
- Rear view camera
- SYNC® with MyFord Touch® driver connect technology
- Sony® Premium Audio System with HD RadioTM and 12 speakers

Explorer Sport can be tailored to individual preferences with the following options as well:
- Active park assist
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert
- Inflatable rear seat belts
- 110-volt outlet
- PowerFold mirrors
- Intelligent access with Push-Button Start
- Remote Start
- Adjustable pedals with memory
- Dual-panel moonroof
- Power liftgate
- Class III trailer-towing package

Explorer Sport is manufactured at Ford's Chicago production facility. It will arrive in dealerships later this year.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 117 Comments
      TrueDat
      • 3 Years Ago
      love it! glad they decided to not slap SHO on the back.. this thing should be a lot of fun
      Robert M
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't wait for this one to come out. I've always wanted a Explorer with a 4WD Ecoboost and this won me over big time. i don't mind paying extra for it but its worth the hard earned money anyway.
      Dean Hammond
      • 3 Years Ago
      interested to see one in a darker hue....not sure about this color scheme.....
      viper3ez
      • 3 Years Ago
      hhopefully its faster that the other already existing top dog Explorer and not a repeat of the Edge Sport retardation
        TrueDat
        • 3 Years Ago
        @viper3ez
        seeing that it will have nearly 100 additional hp, something tells me it will be several seconds quicker...
      Jason Parry
      • 3 Years Ago
      Aw it shouldn't have gotten the name of the 2-door mazda navajo version of the 90s. This is more than SPORT!
      Jimz
      • 3 Years Ago
      So stupid. I'm all for performance but who needs this ****? It's an SUV..
        Richard
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jimz
        Jimz, I can only conclude by your above statement that - #1 You are not a big fan of SUV's #2 If you had or have an SUV, you would prefer that it have less performance than the new Ford Sport Exporer with a V6 Engine. I'm sorry, what is it thats - "So stupid"?
        JaredN
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jimz
        Jimz, you need to stop assuming that everyone else's wants and needs are the same as yours. The answer to your question about who needs this is the same sort of people who buy a Grand Cherokee SRT8, a Porsche Cayenne, a BMW X6 M, a BMW X5 M, Infiniti FX50, Mercedes ML55, etc. It doesn't appeal to me, but then those buyers probably wouldn't care for my body-on-frame, solid-rear-axle SUV that I take offroad. Vive la difference.
          Jeff
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JaredN
          This isn't even comparable to those models as it doesn't even come close in performance to any of them. This is more like the Hemi Durango or Grand Cherokee. I don't see anything wrong with offering a more powerful engine in a heavy vehicle like the Explorer for those that understandably want more responsiveness. The current engine is a bit of a dog.
          BG
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JaredN
          "the same sort of people who buy a Grand Cherokee SRT8, a Porsche Cayenne, a BMW X6 M, a BMW X5 M, Infiniti FX50, Mercedes ML55, etc." In other words, the set who thinks they are impressing someone with their expensive SUV that they conspicuously park in their gated community driveway. Looks like the recession is over.
      anon111
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey look, it's an Evoque. Is Ford just stealing British cars left and right now?
        johnb
        • 3 Years Ago
        @anon111
        That would be a real trick, as the Explorer came out a full year before the Evoque did.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        OnTheRocks
        • 3 Years Ago
        Tell that to all the BMW engineers that design their brake systems with single piston calipers that perform just fine. Just because it's large, that doesn't mean it needs 4-piston monoblocks.
        WillieD
        • 3 Years Ago
        The brakes in a normal Explorer are actually pretty good, and these are even better...
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      AcidTonic
      • 3 Years Ago
      Funny how this was considered a priority over other endeavors...... We absolutely have to keep producing only FWD small cars while saying an American Evo/STI competitor is a "niche low production" market. Yet they will produce all sorts of retarded AWD+Turbo cars no one has been asking for. As long as it's big and not sporty, it receives AWD + Turbo. Then they talk about a 320hp FWD Focus RS with stupid suspension technology that tries to hide the incorrect decision to power the front wheels. So really Ford?!?!? THIS was a priority over a niche performance vehicle that would draw all the import lovers to your brand!?!? Look at the comments. Nobody wanted this vehicle.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        [blocked]
        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        just dont get it do you, engine, basically amortised now between 4 models, chassis also between a few, simple bolt in, NOT ground up with suspension tweeks...chances of some gravy slaes EXCELLENT, profitability....EXCELLENT, cost ...MINIMAL....PS, driven that RS focus yet....the old one got raves, driven THAT one?....oh, didnt think so.....
        elmo.the2nd
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Good god, you are such a horrible troll.
          AcidTonic
          • 3 Years Ago
          @elmo.the2nd
          Again, you don't know what a troll is.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          NO....NOT WHEN ITS A RAGING SUCESS...best c ar in the world next to the Veyron....
        elmo.the2nd
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        I do know what a troll is. It is a person who constantly says the same thing over and over again on different articles. You constantly attack Ford for not making an AWD street version of the Fiesta RS WRC WHILE attacking your own nationality because you seem to think you're better than everybody else. You sir, are a giant troll. People don't like trolls, and a lot of people don't like you. This has been evident in past articles.
          elmo.the2nd
          • 3 Years Ago
          @elmo.the2nd
          adn after I adjust the camber on my Stang, I would be able to whoop your little Evo any time
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        [blocked]
          merlot066
          • 3 Years Ago
          Ford sells every GT500 that they make. Dealers charge some pretty insane market adjustments and still sell them. Also, you should check your facts, 40% of Explorers sold are full-on Limited models and half of those are conquest sales. I'm sure conquest buyers are buying some base and XLT models as well so you're probably talking about a 30% conquest rate. I highly doubt an AWD rice-rocket would attract such numbers.
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          AcidTonic
          • 3 Years Ago
          And a 1000hp Mustang isnt? What about the GT500, they don't sell a bajillion of those either. Neither do they sell many of the Ford GT's back when those were made. Great cars have always been niche vehicles. Did you see the interest in 600hp Dart Rally car? I think the Evo/STI don't sell as well here because the stigma of an Import. I think the buyers want the technology and so far we haven't had a chance to prove it.
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Kinda funny to see the Explorer Sport moniker used on a 4-door Explorer with an automatic. My last Explorer Sport was a two-door with a 5-spd manual.
        torqued
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        Didn't you get the memo? Sport is just another word for horsepower these days. Checkout the BRZ comment sections.
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just noticed that the towing rating didn't increase, despite more power, larger brakes, ect. That's kind of a bummer. At 5,000lbs it doesn't even match the Pentastar Durango (6,200lbs), never mind the Hemi Durango (7,400lbs).
        merlot066
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        The tow rating wasn't limited by the engine. It's likely the rear suspension or the frame strength (though I doubt it, the frame on the Explorer is remarkably srong). After doing their marketing research and seeing people rarely towed more than 5000 pounds they didn't make it a priority over ride comfort and other things that would have had to change in order to handle towing a heavier trailer.
      That_Dude
      • 3 Years Ago
      Other than the engine..... It looks like any other explorer....
        torqued
        • 3 Years Ago
        @That_Dude
        You're an idiot. Did you read the article? If you're only interested in looks: "Ford designers went with a dark theme, blacking out the lighting elements, roof rails and sideview mirrors, as well as the grille, lower front fascia and wheel faces. Inside the Explorer Sport gets Charcoal Black leather seating, with or without contrasting inserts, and special stitching on the seats and steering wheel." If you care about performance changes: "reinforcements to the chassis, a faster ratio for its electric steering system, a unique 3.16:1 final drive ratio and larger brakes. There are also paddles to shift the six-speed automatic transmission and special settings for the Explorer's Terrain Management System"
          Eric G
          • 3 Years Ago
          @torqued
          @Captian Spadaro How are you complaining that it looks like another car sold by the same Automaker. You can literally look at almost every car company and say "SUV X just looks like a taller sedan Y." Obviously they are going to look the same, that's how a company builds an "image."
          That_Dude
          • 3 Years Ago
          @torqued
          But its not supposed to be a tall Taurus..... The Equinox and Traverse are not tall Malibus and Impalas
          That_Dude
          • 3 Years Ago
          @torqued
          I agree with him 100% its just a tall Taurus.... At least you can tell the difference between the Taurus and the lesser models.... They should've tried the adrenaline package again....
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