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2013 New Explorer Sport disappoints

by DrivingEnthusiast

The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport was announced today for production late in the year. However, there were no surprises here and there is nothing new at all. And just as the platform-mate SHO is morbidly obese (1000 pounds heavier than the original SHO), the Explorer is as well (and we owned two of the original SHOs, and two original Explorers so we’ve been there and done these to the tune of 300k miles).

The Ford Explorer Sport simply reuses existing parts from the Ford Flex EcoBoost (350 HP, 350 torque EcoBoost 3.5l V-6) and suspension (with 2013 SHO brakes). It’s existence was inevitable.

If you remember the SVT (Explorer) Tremor Concept that was shown at the NAIAS Show in 1998, which had a unique Yamaha-built set of 5-valve heads on a 4.6 Modular (390 HP naturally aspirated), but had zero chance for production (because the platform was just about to change), something unique like that would have been much more interesting today. Or the (Explorer) Sport Trac Adrenalin Concept shown at the Chicago show in 2005 (390 HP supercharged Mustang Mach 1 engine and 4 SVT Cobra seats) built on the last-gen Explorer platform.

Instead, Ford offers nothing new or unique here. At least Ford could have provided a better Getrag transmission with more gears (which they have off-the-shelf). Or at the very least a decent set of sporting seats (one of the best differentiators of the Lincoln Aviator from it’s Explorer platform-mate). But alas, given lack of any development budget and given the inherent constraints of the former Volvo platform, this isn’t possible now. We’ll have to wait several years for an all-new platform (and budget), probably a stretched Mondeo/Fusion platform.

Bottom line: nothing here of interest to a Driving Enthusiast… and not enough towing capacity for even your smallest race car. Ford Press Release and specifications follows.

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 System, 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 Automatictransmission 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 Radioand 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.



Construction Unitized steel body, four-door with rear liftgate

Final assembly location Chicago Assembly Plant


Type 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost ® V6

Manufacturing location Cleveland Engine Plant

Configuration 60-degree V6, aluminum block and heads

Valvetrain Four valves per cylinder, intake variable camshaft timing

Bore x stroke 92.5 x 86.7 mm

Displacement 3,496 cc

Compression ratio 10.0:1

Horsepower 350 @ 5,500 rpm (estimated)

Torque 350 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-5,000 rpm (estimated)

Recommended fuel 87-octane unleaded/premium provides improved performance

Fuel capacity 18.6 gallons

Fuel injection Direct injection

Oil capacity 6.0 quarts with filter

Recommended oil GF5 5W-30

Emission control Closed loop with catalyst

Federal standards Tier II/Bin 5 tailpipe, Cold Bin 4, T2e evaporative

California standards ULEV II tailpipe, L2e evaporative


Layout Four-wheel drive with Terrain Management System™


Standard Six-speed SelectShift Automatic ® 6F55 with paddle activation


First 4.484

Second 2.872

Third 1.842

Fourth 1.414

Fifth 1.000

Sixth 0.742

Reverse -2.882

Final drive

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