The 2013 Ford Explorer earns an average Total Car Score for the Large SUVs & Crossovers segment.
Two years ago Ford completely reinvented the Explorer, taking what was a truck-based, traditional sport/utility vehicle and turning it into an edgy, techy crossover that better fit the needs and desires of those looking for a people hauler (but who weren’t “minivan people”). With one major exception, the 2013 Explorer essentially carries over from last year, with just a few new features like auto-dimming headlamps and an optional heated steering wheel.
That one exception, though, is a big one: the debut of the Explorer Sport. If the name sounds familiar, it used to denote a two-door version of the old SUV. Now, though, it identifies an Explorer with a potent, 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 under the hood, churning 350 horsepower through a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic to an AWD system that offers multiple settings for various terrain types. Several reviewers have dubbed it the SHO Explorer, after the hot Taurus model of the same name. Yet thanks to the efficient nature of the EcoBoost V6, the Explorer Sport’s fuel economy should be decent, given its performance potential. Ford expects it to get 22 mpg on the highway, 16 in the city, just 1 mpg below the standard V6 AWD model in each driving cycle.
The Explorer Sport is also the top Explorer model in terms of accessories, with unique 20-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, push-button start, and a premium sound system tied into the latest Sync system with MyFord Touch and various entertainment apps. Even mobile Wi-Fi is available.
All this performance and content does come at a price, with the Explorer Sport’s MSRP starting north of $40,000 and quickly rising above $50,000 when options like the moonroof, navigation, adaptive cruise control and rear-seat entertainment system are ordered. Yet for that money, buyers of the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport will be secure in the knowledge that theirs is the sportiest -- and SHO-iest -- big American crossover on the market.
The 2013 Ford Explorer is a five-door crossover vehicle that can seat up to seven passengers. It is offered in four different trim levels, including the all-new Sport version.
The standard engine in all but the Sport model is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. Optional in all but the Sport model is a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder making 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with six-speed automatic transmissions. The V6 can be fitted to either a front- or all-wheel-drive powertrain, while the EcoBoost drives the front wheels only.
The Explorer Sport is powered by a turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that sends 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque to a six-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters) and an AWD powertrain.
Standard equipment found on the base Explorer includes 17-inch steel wheels, manual climate control (including rear climate control), power accessories, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, cloth upholstery, and a six-disc AM/FM/CD audio system.
The Explorer XLT is fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels and adds satellite radio to the audio system; the Explorer Limited rolls on 20-inch wheels and is equipped with dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button and remote start, a reverse-sensing system, a rearview camera, leather upholstery, heated front seats, Ford’s Sync connectivity system with MyFord Touch, and a premium Sony audio system with HD radio.
The Explorer Sport receives a sport-tuned suspension, unique 20-inch wheels, and interior amenities that are on par with the Limited version.
The EPA has found the Explorer equipped with the standard V6 and front-wheel drive returns fuel economy of 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined; pairing the V6 with AWD sees a slight dip to 17/23/19 mpg. Explorers running the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine achieve 20/28/23 mpg. The Explorer Sport models haven’t yet been rated by the EPA, but Ford expects fuel economy of 16 mpg city, 22 highway.
Properly equipped, the 2013 Ford Explorer will tow up to 5,000 pounds.
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