We at TFLCar have mixed feelings about the current Ford Explorer. It’s handsome, comfortable and a very good family car – but it’s no SUV. The mere fact it exists makes the Ford Flex superfluous – in our opinion. Also, it's WAY better looking than the Flex. One thing most of us at The Fast Lane Car agree on is that the current Ford Explorer is too soft and a tad sluggish.
Things are about to change.
A slightly detuned version of the Ford Taurus SHO’s twin-turbocharged 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost with 350 horsepower will be added to the Explorer Sport (it puts out 265 hp in the SHO). A six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is the only transmission available. The 2013 Explorer Sport will come as an all-wheel drive (AWD)/ 4-wheel drive (4WD) model.
Despite its low-slung street setup with a performance oriented suspension, the Explorer Sport will have a Terrain Management System (TMS). The TMS system can adjust the 4WD/AWD to meet various traction challenges such as mud, snow, ice and minor off-road issues. A hill decent control system is part of the package as well.
The Taurus SHO can run the 0 to 60 mph run in just under 6-seconds. Given the extra weight, higher profile and slightly less horsepower of the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport, we expect the performance to be a tad slower; say, 6.6 – 7.1 seconds to move from 0 to 60 mph. That’s pretty dam quick, but it won’t challenge the mighty Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8… except… at high altitude, it may be pretty damn close. Hummm. Well, Ford rarely allows test cars into the Rocky Mountain region, so we may never find out.
Ford is beefing up the chassis, brakes and adding fat tires hugging painted 20-inch wheels. There will be some subtle Explorer Sport upgrades such as some revised exterior components and special badges. It’s easy to assume that Ford will beef up the weight in the steering too. At least, that’s what we hope they’ll do.
Ford has been kicking ass with interiors recently and the booty kicks continue with the sweet looking interior of the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport. We’re not fans of the SYNC system, but that’s not to say we dislike the idea of a completely hands free infotainment system. Besides, once you get the stereo to work, the Sony system rocks hard.
The two things Ford neglected to mention is the 2013 Explorer Sport’s price and EPA estimates. We expect a base price to run between $39,000 to $43,000; once again, we’re guessing. We think the combined mpg will be about 21 mpg. These are educated guesses at best.
Ford is playing up the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport with very little fuss. Perhaps they are worried about gas prices as some publications speculate. Or, perhaps they want to keep the spotlight on their upcoming no-longer-crappy Ford Escape introduction later on in April.
Regardless of their reasoning, we hope to get our greedy paws on one as soon as possible… it looks like a blast!
Here’s Roman having not so much fun off road in the Explorer.
Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his examiner.com page HERE. Follow on twitter @TFLcar or watch latest car review videos on YouTube.