Ford are contemplating a hardcore Explorer for the 2013 range – the Sport. Never before have the likes of an Explorer had a performance model but that's about to change. Supposedly, Ford are planning to dominate the "gasoline-engine-powered, high performance SUV" category by focusing on fuel economy – 16 mpg in an urban environment and 22 mpg on the highway.

Mind you, those figures come from a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost® V6 engine that sends "at least" 350 bhp trough a paddle-shifting six-speed SelectShift Automatic box and an all-wheel-drive system. Recognizing it as a "Sport" version can also be done by looking at the exterior or the interior. And you have a fragile spine, you'll notice that the suspension has been firmed up as well. Also, the brakes are bigger.

Roof rails painted in black, black head- and taillight motives, black wing mirror caps and 20-inch wheels all give away the SUV as a Sport member. The front lower fascia provides an additional opening for the engine to breathe. Various "EcoBoost" and "Sport" badges also suggest that this is not your run of the mill Explorer.

The inside offers some black leather that may or may not be paired with contrasting Sienna inserts. An exclusive design for the instruments, Sport-logo floor mats and illuminated scuff plates complete the overall Sport character.

Ford Explorer Sport (2013)

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As for equipment, the standard stuff is as follows:

  • 4WD with Terrain Management System
  • Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control
  • 10-way power driver's seat with power recline and lumbar
  • Six-way power passenger seat with recline and lumbar
  • First-row heated seats
  • First-row heated seats
  • Compass and exterior temperature display
  • Rear view camera
  • SYNC® with MyFord Touch® driver connect technology
  • Sony® Premium Audio System with HD Radio™ and 12 speakers

Whereas, as options these are listed:

  • Active park assist
  • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert
  • Inflatable rear seat belts
  • 110-volt outlet
  • PowerFold mirrors
  • Intelligent access with Push-Button Start
  • Remote Start
  • Adjustable pedals with memory
  • Dual-panel moonroof
  • Power liftgate
  • Class III trailer-towing package

Source: Ford