365 hp and 350 lb-ft are a welcome improvement over the 290 hp and 255 lb-ft present in the naturally aspirated V6 model. Fuel economy doesn't suffer horribly, either. The Sport is officially rated at 16/22 miles per gallon (city/highway), compared to 17/23 in the regular, all-wheel-drive model. For reference, Ford points out that the Explorer Sport is more efficient than both the V8-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.
When it hits dealerships, the 2013 Explorer Sport will be priced from $40,720, not including $825 for destination. Scroll down for the official press blast.
· The Ford Explorer Sport high-performance SUV is certified at 365 horsepower, with class-leading EPA-rated fuel economy of 16 city and 22 highway mpg
· The Ford Explorer Sport's standard Terrain Management System™ has been specifically calibrated to optimize increased EcoBoost® power
· Explorer Sport features an interior inspired by designer fashion accessories, sporty exterior cues, and 20-inch high-performance tires and wheels
DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 24, 2012 – Ford's new Explorer Sport will stand in a class of one when it goes on sale next month with an EPA-certified 22 mpg highway rating, the only seven-passenger, high-performance SUV on the market to do so.
New for the 2013 model year, Ford Explorer Sport arrives, packing a 365 horsepower EcoBoost® engine, high-fashion interior design and class-leading fuel economy.
"Explorer Sport hits a sweet-spot combination of power, usable torque, 4WD capability, with class-leading fuel efficiency," said Bill Gubing, chief engineer for Explorer, Taurus and Police Interceptor vehicles. "The Explorer Sport EcoBoost engine matches Taurus SHO for output and the Terrain Management System has been specifically calibrated to optimize increased power – regardless of the road or conditions."
Explorer Sport mixes high-performance SUV power with fuel economy of up to 16 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway. This is 3 mpg better in the city and 2 mpg better on the highway than the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango R/T with 5.7-liter Hemi engines.
Explorer Sport scores 3 mpg higher in the city and 4 mpg higher on the highway than the supercharged Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
"Explorer Sport is an uncompromised high-performance SUV," said Gubing. "From making changes to the chassis and suspension, uniquely calibrating the Terrain Management System for added power, we're delivering 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 Automatic™ 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 highway fuel efficiency.
Ford engineers also added chassis tunnel reinforcements and a solid-mounted electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) rack with improved pedal feel and response for drivers, both on-road and off.
This model comes standard with larger brakes for improved pedal feel, stronger resistance to fade and better performance while towing.
Explorer Sport also has received special Terrain Management System settings for optimizing increased power and torque in on-road touring and under sandy, snowy, rutted mud and hill descent conditions. These changes enable a luxurious ride for driving enthusiasts, without the harshness or thirst for fuel of performance-intended competitors.
Development engineers validated snow settings in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and returned to Borrego Springs, Calif. to fine-tune sand settings.
Sport-specific calibration optimizes increased EcoBoost power and consistent torque to specific conditions such as deep sand or snow, at the setting of a console-mounted knob.
The 2013 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.
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:
Dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control (DEATC)
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
Rearview camera system
SYNC® with MyFord Touch® driver connect technology
Sony® Premium Audio System with HD Radio™ and 12 speakers
Explorer Sport can be tailored to individual preferences with the following options:
BLIS® (blind spot information system) with cross-traffic alert
Inflatable rear seat belts
Intelligent access with Push-Button Start
Power tilt and telescoping steering column
Adjustable pedals with memory
Class III trailer-towing package
Explorer Sport is manufactured at Ford's Chicago production facility and goes on sale this fall.