Following a short teaser earlier in the week, Ford has taken the covers off of the first-ever high-performance version of the Explorer prior to its world debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show next week. Known as the Ford Explorer Sport, the model will be powered by a 3.5 liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 making 350-hp mated to a four-wheel drive system with a Terrain Management System.
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“Adding an EcoBoost drivetrain to Explorer Sport delivers even more fuel efficiency and performance to the lineup,” said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer. “This is our highest- performance, most capable Ford Explorer ever.”
The model, which is going after the HEMI versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango R/T, is expected to average fuel-economy of 16/22 mpg (city/highway). That’s better than both of the Chrysler models mentioned.
“Explorer Sport makes no compromises,” said Carl Widmann, vehicle engineering manager. “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.”
The Ford Explorer Sport is mated to a 6-speed SelectShift Automatic with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Of course there are some design changes to make it sportier than the other Explorer models. Buyers will get a special grille in low-gloss Sterling Gray, 20-inch painted wheels, blacked out headlamp and tail lamps, black roof rack rails, side view mirror skull caps, charcoal black leather-trimmed seating, steering wheel stitching and Sport-logo floor mats and illuminated scuff plates.
As the top of the line model of the Ford Explorer, the Sport model comes with arrange of standard and optional features including:
- 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
- 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
- Explorer Sport can be tailored to individual preferences with the following options as well:
- 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
- Explorer Sport is manufactured at Ford’s Chicago production facility. It will arrive in dealerships later this year.
- By: Omar Rana