Cars Coming Soon: 2013 Ford Explorer Sport

When I heard that Ford would introduce a new Explorer Sport at the New York Auto Show, I immediately had flashbacks to the Explorer Sport Trac of yore. The Sport Trac was like the mullet of cars: SUV in the front, pickup truck in the back. It was ugly and not really good at being an SUV or a pickup.

Why would Ford bring back this abomination and ruin the fantastic new Explorer?

Well, naturally, I misunderstood. The Sport Trac remains firmly lodged in the pages of history. The Explorer Sport is something else entirely. In fact, it probably should have been called the Explorer SHO.

Sitting on top of the Explorer lineup, the Sport “sports” the same twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 found in the Taurus SHO AWD. In this application, the mill produces 350 hp, compared with the SHO’s 365. Torque will be around 350 lb-ft.

Ford projects fuel economy numbers in the neighborhood of 16 mpg in the city and 22 highway. An Explorer with the 240-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder gets 20/28. But the Explorer Sport can tow up to 5,000 pounds and cuts at least 2 seconds off the 0-60 time.

If you’re thinking that Ford has stepped up to compete with the 6.4-liter $60,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 AWD, don’t get too excited. The super-Jeep is still in a class of its own, as Ford is going after the 5.7-liter Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango R/T. That said, the Sport is more than just an engine upgrade and blacked-out lights. Changes include a new 3.16:1 final drive ratio, a water-cooled Power Take Off faceplate cooler that keeps the standard all-wheel-drive system cool as it deals with the extra torque, paddles to shift the 6-speed automatic transmission and special settings for the Explorer’s Terrain Management System.

There’s no official pricing just yet, but I’d venture to guess this one will top $40K.

Even north of $40,000 the Explorer Sport should be a great buy and find plenty of customers. Would you be one of them, or would the Cherokee or Durango be more your style?


Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Ford Explorer
Used Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Used Ford Taurus
Used Jeep Grand Cherokee
Used Dodge Durango


  1. You know what? I like it. A lot. But Randy’s right. Gas mileage should be much better and towing capacity should be higher. This would be for speed freaks with familes who have extra cash. And why would those people “move down” to Ford when they want the Porsche, Land Rover, Audi SUVs?
    Great idea that doesn’t make much sense.

  2. Vehicles in this size class aren’t really serious towers, but just right for the Jersey boy pulling a stink boat or Harley trailer. (Around here, yoopers pulling trailers full of 4-wheelers or snowmobiles.)

    The mileage is absurdly bad. Boy, they sure need to update that gas guzzler tax. You could probably get mileage around 24 city 30 highway with a diesel and have much more usable torque for towing. Nothing sucks more than a gas turbo engine for towing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.