Ford is adding the first-ever performance version to its Explorer lineup for the 2013 model year.
It is powered by a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine making at least 350 horsepower and driving all four wheels.
"Adding an EcoBoost drivetrain to Explorer Sport delivers even more fuel efficiency and performance to the lineup," said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer, Ford Motor Company. "This is our highest- performance, most capable Ford Explorer ever."
The company projects that theE xplorer Sport will have the best fuel economy among gasoline-engine-powered, high-performance SUVs.
Ford expects fuel consumption ratings of about 14.7 L/100 km (16 mpg US) in city driving and 10.7 L/100 km (22 mpg US) on the highway – better than the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango R/T with 5.7-litre Hemi engines and the Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
In addition to more power and enhanced on-road dynamics, the Explorer Sport features sporty design cues inside and out.
"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 2200 kg (5,000 pounds)," said Carl Widmann, vehicle engineering manager.
The terrain management system in the Sport model includes special settings for sand, snow, rutted mud and hill descent.
The Explorer Sport also 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 fuel efficiency.
The chassis also has been specially reinforced, making Explorer Sport stiffer and improving its handling and it features a solid-mounted electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) rack with a faster ratio, providing more responsiveness to drivers both on-road and off.
Standard equipment includes larger brakes for shorter stopping distances and better performance while towing.
Sporty design elements
The Sport model incorporates subtle design cues to differentiate it from other models in the lineup. They include unique 20-inch painted and machined wheels, blacked-out headlamp and taillamp treatments, black roof rack rails, sideview mirror skull caps and a liftgate appliqué.
A special grille features a low-gloss grey mesh, with contrasting ebony high-gloss bars. The black front lower fascia features a functional opening for additional cooling.
Inside, black leather-trimmed seating is available with and without contrasting Sienna inserts. Stitching is emphasized to lend a handcrafted appearance.
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.
Available options on the new top-of-the-line Explorer in Canada include:
- Inflatable rear seat belts
- Dual-panel moonroof
- Power liftgate
- Class III trailer-towing package
- 6-passenger seating
- Voice Activated Navigation System
The Explorer Sport is built at Ford’s Chicago production facility.