Just Car Blog
|2013 Ford Explorer Sport Review & Test Drive||
The complete redesign of the 2011 Ford Explorer set in motion a new movement by Ford to re-exemplify where they stand in the ever-so-growing and extremely competitive SUV segment. Having a successful run for new Explorer in the past 2 years, Ford ups the ante with a Sport version of the Explorer featuring re-worked chassis components, unique sport trim details and Ford’s powerful yet efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine.
The new 2013 Ford Explorer is the best it has ever been touting its unibody construction first introduced as a 2011 model. The all-new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport, as the top-level trim much like the Limited version, comes packed full of amenities and features but adds the well-endowed 365 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine.
As a fan favorite, Ford’s new 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost (turbocharged) engine is utilized in many vehicles, and for good reasons. The powerful and efficient boosted engine making its way into the new Ford Explorer only makes sense in the eyes of enthusiasts and those new-age baby boomers who want a bit more oomph in the family hauler. Not only did Ford drop the V6 EcoBoost engine into the new Explorer Sport, but they changed up many chassis components to stiffen the body structure, improve handling and add stability to handle the extra power along with a unique sporty look.
The all-new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport is a complete package where all components mesh together and work in harmony to give consumers that sporty edge desired in many SUVs that are otherwise boring econo-SUV-crossover-wagon-types with a plethora of seats and cargo space. Undeniably, the new Ford Explorer Sport spices things up a bit without losing its SUV-esq versatility and comfort.
Powering the new 2013 Ford Explorer is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine with 365 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque directed through its standard four-wheel-drive system. On the open road the new Explorer Sport is a menacing SUV that adapts well to spirited driving provided you do not have much cargo in the back bouncing around. The Explorer Sport gets a unique set of 20-inch wheels, wider than what is available on the standard Explorer trim levels, making way the 265/45 20-inch performance summer tires selection. Having a wider tire patch only added to the Explorer Sport’s handling abilities along with its sport-tuned suspension, which adapts well to back roads without much harshness transmitted into the cabin.
The electric power steering is among the best in its class providing a decently weighted wheel and just the right amount of feedback from the road. Thanks to the new strut tower brace, stiffer springs and dampers, and a solidly mounted steering rack, the new Explorer Sport always feels firmly planted on most surfaces. Managing torque through all 4 wheels was left to the program-selectable terrain management system, which transmitted a small amount of torque steer through 1st gear but by 2nd it seemed to straighten things out. The engine puts down all 360 ft-lbs. of torque as low as 3,500 rpm, putting the Explorer Sport in motion as a capable tow vehicle, up to 5,000 pounds. When not towing, the new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport can dash to 60 mph in about 6.2 seconds, a decent clip for a 7-passenger SUV with a curb weight of 4,859 pounds. At times it felt as if the Explorer Sport can do better than 6 seconds to 60 mph, but its hefty weight puts a damper on things dispute all 4 wheels gripping the pavement without breaking loose.
Braking performance is improved with the Explorer Sport, which features larger front brake rotors over other trim levels. Driving the new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport always exuded a reassuring experience even during inclement weather conditions as a remapped AdvanceTrac traction and stability control system directs power to the wheels with more grip.
The unique sporty character of the new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport not only filters through its chassis and powertrain, but many unique sport traits are found throughout the interior and exterior. The new Explorer Sport on the outside has unique darkened 20-inch wheels, darkened LED taillights, blacked-out front grill, headlight inner trim, rearview mirrors, and blacked-out lower cladding trim pieces. With the many color options are still available for the Explorer Sport trim, the complete exterior look matches its menacing power output and sporty road-going demeanor.
On the inside the new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport only gets a few minor changes to set it apart from standard trim levels. The front seats are replaced with sport seats and unique accent stitching. The middle row chairs seat 3 and the 3rd row has seating for two, just like in the Explorer Limited trim package – providing comfortable seating for all rear occupants. The 3rd row is a bit cramped for 2 adults although manageable for most. Cargo space is on average and can be expanded with the easy folding of the 3rd row seats flush into the floor. Rear cargo access is a sync due to the standard power liftgate in the Explorer Sport.
Up front, the perforated leather heated and ventilated sport seats provide a bit of extra bolstering over standard Explorer seats. The dashboard instrument cluster is the same unit found in other Explorer trims with two color LCD screens on either side for viewing customized vehicle statuses, basic infotainment information and configuration of vehicle settings.
Tied into the MyFord Touch system is the center-mounted high-resolution LCD touchscreen. Other redundant controls for the HVAC and audio system are just below in a set of glossy capacitive touch buttons. Ford has improved upon the minor shortcomings of the MyFord Touch system, as button response times are shorter and more responsive. Though, the MyFord Touch system can be somewhat cumbersome to those not familiar with the operation of capacitive buttons and perfectly targeting their fingers on the touch-screen’s graphical buttons. Basically, I still found myself mistakenly pressing buttons that I did not want. The capacitive part of the system does not take long to get used to and is much of an improvement over previous iterations of MyFord Touch. The take away is the system may not be for everyone, but after spending a good amount of time you tend to get used to its unique operation.
Having a sport version of the new 2013 Ford Explorer is a step in the right direction to fulfill the need for SUV buyers looking for V8 power without the extra cost of fuel and vehicle price. My 2013 Ford Explorer Sport test vehicle saw an average of 21 mpg doing short inner city drives and a few long highway stints. The new 2013 Explorer Sport gets a respectable EPA estimated 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. On the highway I was able to get an even better figure of 23 mpg on a steady cruise at 60 to 65 mph. Having the extra power at your disposal, excellent handling abilities for a 7-passenger SUV, and good sporty looks is surely an added benefit to the Explorer Sport over other trim levels.
The all-new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport in a decently configured package will run you around $44,000. For that price you get many standard features, which are mostly part of the Explorer Limited trim’s package. Tacking on a few more options, such as adaptive cruise control package and a dual-panel moonroof will put you close to $47,000 for a fully-loaded Explorer Sport.
Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: Base Explorer Sport $40,780 / As-Tested Explorer Sport $44,000 -estimated
- Engine: 3.5-liter Turbocharged EcoBoost DOHC V6 24-valve 365 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm / 350 ft-lbs. torque @ 3,500 rpm
- Wheelbase: 112.6 in.
- Total length: 197.1 in.
- Total width: 78.9 in.
- Total height: 71 in.
- Track: f/r-67 in./67 in.
- Fuel tank: 18.6 gallons
- Headroom: f/r-41.1 in./40.5 in.
- Legroom: f/r-40.6 in./39.8 in.
- Cargo capacity: 21.0 cu.ft. all seats in place / 80.7 cu.ft. all seats down
- Turning circle: 38.9 ft.
- Curb weight: 4,859 lbs.
- 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
- EPA mileage: 16 mpg/city, 22 mpg/highway
|2013 Ford Explorer Sport Introduced with 350 Horsepower V6 EcoBoost Engine||
Our speculations yesterday, drawn into a conclusion from the High-Performance Explorer teaser video, have come to fruition in the form of the new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport touting 350 horsepower.
It was only a matter of time before Ford would inject yet another one of their vehicles with the current EcoBoost (twin-turbo) V6 engine found in the current Taurus SHO. Not only does this engine provide the new Explorer with more power, but it remains to be efficient as well. Ford expects the new Explorer Sport V6 EcoBoost to get 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
The new Explorer Sport package will add the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine with 350 horsepower, larger brakes, faster electric steering rack, and a reinforced chassis for added stiffness. On the outside the Explorer sport gets a Sterling Gray grill, 20-inch painted and machined wheels, black roof rails, blacked-out headlights/taillights, and black sideview mirror covers. Interior appointments for the new Explorer Sport include Charcoal black leather seats with or without contrasting Sienna inserts, leather wrapped steering wheel and floor mats stitched with Sport badges.
Ford’s new 2013 Explorer Sport will be a nice placement at the top of the Explorer line in place to compete with other ‘performance-sport’ SUVs on the market. Now soccer moms (and dads) can have a little more fun behind the wheel.
Hit up the full press release and release video below for additional information.
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.
|Video: Ford Teases A High-Performance… Explorer?||
Watching the twenty-six second video supplied by Ford, the only thing that’s certain is that a new model of Explorer is coming, and it will likely be in a trim level not seen before. From the sound of the engine, it’s not powered by the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8, either, which means the most lively drivetrain will be the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 that’s packed into the Taurus SHO.
That would give this new model some 365 horsepower, likely sent through all four wheels. Since the most powerful Explorer you can buy today packs just 290 horsepower, a 75 horsepower gain would yield a substantial improvement in acceleration. It still wouldn’t stack up against the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8’s 465 horsepower, but then again the EcoBoost engine doesn’t suck down gas quite like Chrysler’s 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, either.
We’ve heard through a reliable source that the new Explorer won’t come wearing an SHO badge, as Ford doesn’t want to dilute the brand created around its range-topping Taurus model. While we know what it won’t be called, Ford isn’t giving any clues as to what badging the truck will get.
Ford will reveal the new Explorer model on Wednesday at 1:00 EST. You can see the reveal live on Ford’s Explorer Facebook page.