Competes with: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango, Nissan Pathfinder
Looks like: The Explorer product range is now complete
Drivetrain: 350-hp, turbocharged 3.5-liter six-cylinder; six-speed automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: Late this year
For the 2013 model year Ford is adding a high-powered engine to its Explorer crossover, called the Ford Explorer Sport.
The model is the first implementation of Ford's 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine in the Explorer; the engine is currently in the Ford F-150 , Ford Flex and Ford Taurus , as well as in many Lincoln models. Ford makes no mention of actual performance improvements for the model, which is sort of an ominous sign. The Explorer Sport comes only in all-wheel drive and will deliver 16/22 mpg city/highway, says the carmaker.
Like the Ford Edge Sport , the Explorer Sport also features various sport garnishes and exclusive paint colors and cabin trimmings. Along with four unique exterior colors, the Explorer Sport also comes with 20-inch painted wheels and blackened headlamp and taillamp lens treatments. The Explorer Sport also comes with blackened roof rails and side mirrors. The lower front intake is larger for additional cooling to the turbocharged V-6.
The sporty look isn't all superficial: Besides the uprated engine, the Explorer Sport also features a reinforced chassis and larger brakes, which improve handling and braking distance, says Ford.
The cabin features unique leather upholstery with contrast stitching and unique trim appliques. The Explorer Sport comes standard with many of the features found on the Explorer Limited, including dual-zone automatic climate control, MyFord Touch and a rearview camera.
The Explorer Sport goes on sale later this year; no word yet on pricing.