The first-ever performance version Ford Explorer is on the way and is expected to debut at New York.
True to their word Ford has revealed their new high-performance Explorer, and as expected the new addition to the Explorer range employs Ford's 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine. Dubbed the Ford Explorer Sport, this is the automaker's maiden performance-oriented SUV, which will come up against the likes of the Range Rover Sport and Dodge Durango R/T. "Adding an EcoBoost drivetrain to Explorer Sport delivers even more fuel efficiency and performance to the lineup.
"This is our highest- performance, most capable Ford Explorer ever," said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer. Coupled with 'more than 350 horsepower,' the Explorer Sport brings projected fuel economy of 16/22mpg city/highway making it best-in-class in this regard. Ford says the Explorer Sport can sprint from 0-60mph two seconds quicker than a standard Explorer, so around the mid six-second range is expected. Power is sent to the 20-inch painted and machined alloys via a paddle-shifted six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission with a unique 3.16 to 1 final drive ratio.
A specially reinforced chassis makes for stiffer and more improved handling, while the Explorer Sport also gets a solid-mounted electric power-assisted steering rack with a faster ratio for enhanced responsiveness, high-performance brakes, and special terrain management systems. "By carefully beefing the chassis and suspension, precisely calibrating the Terrain Management System and adding comfort and convenience features, we've delivered an SUV that delivers great dynamics and performance - while towing up to 5,000 pounds," said vehicle engineering manager Carl Widmann.
Differentiating Ford's newest SUV from other models in the lineup is a unique grille with low-gloss Sterling Grey mesh and ebony high-gloss bars, blacked-out headlamp and taillamp treatments, black roof rack rails, sideview mirror skull caps and a liftgate applique. Customers can choose from four exterior colors of Ruby Red Metallic Clearcoat, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, Tuxedo Black Metallic and Ingot Silver Metallic. The two-tone cabin gets Charcoal Black leather-trimmed sculpted seating, unique steering wheel stitching, illuminated scuff plates and Sport-logo floor mats.
As the top-of-the-line Explorer, standard gadgets include a rear view camera, SYNC with MyFord Touch, a 12-speaker Sony surround sound system, and dual-zone temperature control. Options include dual-panel monoroof, active park assist, remote start, a power liftgate and intelligent access with Push-Button Start. Pricing has yet to be announced nor have details about where the new Explorer Sport will debut, although we suspect it will make an appearance at next week's New York Motor Show.