The last time we remember talking about a high-performance Ford Explorer was 2007 when a rare Saleen Explorer XP8 popped up on eBay Motors. For the 2013 model year, however, Ford will start producing high performance Explorers right at the factory. Dubbed the Explorer Sport, this new addition to the Explorer lineup sports the same twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 found in the Taurus SHO, Flex, F-150 and Lincoln MKS and MKT. It produces the least amount of power in this application – 350 horsepower – and while Ford doesn’t mention torque figures in the press release below, we can assume somewhere around 350 lb-ft.
Ford is projecting fuel economy numbers in the neighborhood of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg highway, and says the Explorer Sport can also tow up to 5,000 pounds. Other tweaks to get this three-row crossover dancing include reinforcements to the chassis, a faster ratio for its electric steering system, a unique 3.16:1 final drive ratio and larger brakes. There are also paddles to shift the six-speed automatic transmission and special settings for the Explorer’s Terrain Management System.
When treating the Explorer Sport to a few exterior changes, Ford designers went with a dark theme, blacking out the lighting elements, roof rails and sideview mirrors, as well as the grille, lower front fascia and wheel faces. Inside the Explorer Sport gets Charcoal Black leather seating, with or without contrasting inserts, and special stitching on the seats and steering wheel.
No pricing was given, but the new Sport model will sit atop the Explorer line, which means a base price north of the Explorer Limited’s at $38,180. Ford is showing the Explorer Sport at a media event near its headquarters in Dearborn as we speak, so stay tuned for the first live images of the Explorer Sport as we get them.
*UPDATE: Video added after the break.
2013 Ford Explorer Sport brings SHO-like performance to big CUV UPDATE w/video originally appeared on WorldCarsNews on Wed, 28 Mar 2012 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.