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.
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
Ford has had nothing but great success with its latest, three-row iteration of the Explorer SUV, with buyers finding it a suitably good driving tool for the jobs demanded by family living. And while I've never found the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 that inhabits the engine bay to be anything less than well-suited to this large SUV/CUV class – it wasn't so very long ago that a 290-horsepower, 24-mile-per-gallon-highway six-cylinder would have seemed like a real tough guy – it has
The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport goes on sale this fall, packing a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, premium interior features and sporty (sort of) exterior design elements. And while Ford originally told us that the Sport would produce "at least 350 horsepower," we've now learned that the top-trim Explorer will churn out 365 hp and 360 pound-feet of torque. If that sounds familiar, it's because those are the same totals found in the Taurus SHO sedan, which shares its engine.
With at least 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport is no ho-hum grocery getter. Now that we know how much the most powerful Explorer costs, we may have to start cutting coupons. Ford has priced the new Explorer Sport at $40,720 plus another $825 for destination charges. That price tag comes in at nearly $1,000 more than the similarly equipped Explorer Limited with all-wheel drive, yet it adds the EcoBoost V6 and sport-tuned suspension.
No one may have asked Ford to drop the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 found in the Taurus SHO behind the headlights of the Explorer, but that doesn't mean we're complaining. Ford has just debuted the higher-performance crossover at the 2012 New York Auto Show, complete with its full 350 horsepower. Ford says the newly menacing softroader will be good for around 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, and the nudge in power shouldn't do anything but help the vehicle's ability to tow up to 5,000
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Ford has just revealed its Explorer Sport to the assembled media in Dearborn ahead of its New York Auto Show debut. And while the 350-horsepower, 350-pound-foot-of-torque crossover will be the performance capstone for the nameplate, Autoblog has learned that the Sport also previews a number of subtle performance updates that will roll out throughout the entire Explorer range for the new model year.
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 ho