Since it’s 2011 refresh, the Ford Explorer has’t really set the world alight, at least among those that remember the old 5.0-liter and 4.6 V8 models that offered both gusto and family practicality.
Having introduced a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder in the 2012 model, Ford decided to kick things up a notch with the 2013 Explorer Sport, launching a 3.5-liter EcoBoost powered flagship Sport model.
Rated at the same 350 horsepower as the Taurus SHO and delivering 350 lb-ft of torque, the Sport is designed to deliver that extra dose of pizzazz without sacrificing fuel economy (Ford says it will deliver a projected 22 miles per gallon on the highway).
The Sport boasts a six-speed automatic transmission with 3.16:1 final drive ratio like that found in the Taurus SHO and there’s also a specially calibrated terrain management system designed to deliver optimized off-road performance while enabling this rig to tow some 5,000 lbs.
Other features include bigger brakes than other Explorers, a stiffer chassis and suspension and unique exterior trim that includes a dark painted grille, uniquely-colored 20-inch machined wheels, light lenses and mirror caps and black roof rails amongst other things.
Inside there’s plenty of stitching, as well as available two tone Sienna upholstery, 10-way power driver’s seat and six-way passenger front seat; first row heated seat cushions, dual-zone automatic climate control and of course SYNC and MyFord Touch.
Ford says it will announce pricing for the Explorer Sport in May, with deliveries scheduled to commence this fall.