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    There may be a burgeoning problem with exhaust leaks in the 2011-2014 model year Ford Explorer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is examining multiple complaints of a gasoline smell in the cabin of these SUVs. However, the exact cause of this problem is still unknown.

    The current Ford Explorer is sold in more than 64 countries, and this three-row vehicle continues to grow in popularity worldwide. To keep up with demand, Ford began producing the Explorer at Ford Sollers Elabuga Assembly Plant in Tatarstan, Russia, a joint venture facility. This partnership will build Russian-market Explorers only, and production of export vehicles not destined for Russian buyers will continue to be built at Ford's assembly plant in Chicago.

    When one speaks of sporty and fun-to-drive utility vehicles, few would put the Ford Explorer in the same category as the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne. Yet, with just a few reservations, I'd toss the new-for-2013 Ford Explorer Sport close to that arena for consideration.

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