The Ford Explorer carries the distinction of being one of the most significant vehicles sold in America over the past twenty years. While Jeep brought the concept of an SUV to appeal to families with its Grand Cherokee, it was the Ford Explorer that won over the masses and made the truck a best-seller. Times change, and finally, Ford changed the Explorer into more of a crossover, which is what the public wants. Sales of the Explorer are up, and news came today that Ford is doing something with the Explorer they have never done before-make it sporty.
Hard to believe, but for as long as the Explorer has been around, Ford has never marketed a sporty version, but all that changes with the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport. At the heart of the Explorer Sport is a 3.5L EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6, expected to churn out 350hp. All Explorer Sports will come with all-wheel drive paired to a six-speed automatic with shift paddles. Towing capacity will be a respectable 5,000 lbs. With fuel economy figures of 16/22 MPG city/highway, Ford is marketing the Explorer Sport as a more frugal alternative to the HEMI-powered Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Ford did not stop at simply shoehorning a more powerful engine into the Explorer. The chassis has been reinforced for improved handling, the steering ratio has been tuned for quicker response, and larger brakes complete the package. Visually, unique 20″ wheels, smoked head and tail lamp bezels hint that this is no run of the mill Explorer. The Ford Explorer Sport will be on sale later this year, and will be seen publicly for the first time at the 2012 New York Auto Show, and The Garage will be there! Stay tuned.