“[The] Explorer Sport hits a sweet-spot combination of power, usable torque, four-wheel drive capability, with class-leading fuel efficiency,” said Bill Gubing, chief engineer for the Explorer, Taurus and Police Interceptor vehicles. “The Explorer Sport EcoBoost engine matches Taurus SHO for output and the Terrain Management System has been specifically calibrated to optimize increased power – regardless of the road or conditions.”
But the recently-created class is poorly defined enough to offer space for interpretation and “best-in-class” claims that don’t really make sense. It’s true that the Explorer Sport gets better mileage than, say, the Grand Cherokee SRT8, but it can’t come close to matching the Jeep’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8.
Similarly, BMW’s X5 M falls under the same category as both the Ford and Jeep, but would embarrass either on a track.
A more realistic comparison would be to something like the EcoBoost Flex, which has the same engine, offers the same seating capacity, but with different style and the same 365-hp rating. With the Explorer migrating away from its old body-on-frame architecture, both cars are technically crossovers, though Ford refers to the Explorer as an SUV, which is forgivable given how much taller and utilitarian the car is than the Flex.