- - Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ford’s new Explorer Sport will stand in a class of one when it goes on sale next month with an EPA-certified 22 mpg highway rating, the only seven-passenger, high-performance SUV on the market to do so.

New for the 2013 model year, Ford Explorer Sport arrives, packing a 365 horsepower EcoBoost engine, high-fashion interior design and class-leading fuel economy.

“Explorer Sport hits a sweet-spot combination of power, usable torque, 4WD capability, with class-leading fuel efficiency,” said Bill Gubing, chief engineer for Explorer, Taurus and Police Interceptor vehicles. “The Explorer Sport EcoBoost engine matches Taurus SHO for output and the Terrain Management System has been specifically calibrated to optimize increased power - regardless of the road or conditions.”

Explorer Sport mixes high-performance SUV power with fuel economy of up to 16 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway. This is 3 mpg better in the city and 2 mpg better on the highway than the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango R/T with 5.7-liter Hemi engines.

Explorer Sport scores 3 mpg higher in the city and 4 mpg higher on the highway than the supercharged Land Rover Range Rover Sport.

No compromises

“Explorer Sport is an uncompromised high-performance SUV,” said Gubing. “From making changes to the chassis and suspension, uniquely calibrating the Terrain Management System for added power, we’re delivering an SUV that delivers great dynamics and performance - while towing up to 5,000 pounds.”

The Explorer Sport features a paddle-shifted six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission with a unique 3.16 to 1 final drive ratio to provide the balance of responsive acceleration and economical low-rpm cruising for better highway fuel efficiency.

Ford engineers also added chassis tunnel reinforcements and a solid-mounted electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) rack with improved pedal feel and response for drivers, both on-road and off.

This model comes standard with larger brakes for improved pedal feel, stronger resistance to fade and better performance while towing.

Explorer Sport also has received special Terrain Management System settings for optimizing increased power and torque in on-road touring and under sandy, snowy, rutted mud and hill descent conditions. These changes enable a luxurious ride for driving enthusiasts, without the harshness or thirst for fuel of performance-intended competitors.

Development engineers validated snow settings in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and returned to Borrego Springs, Calif. to fine-tune sand settings.

Sport-specific calibration optimizes increased EcoBoost power and consistent torque to specific conditions such as deep sand or snow, at the setting of a console-mounted knob.

Design elements

The 2013 Sport builds on Explorer’s muscular, sculpted form with subtle cues to differentiate it from other models in the lineup.

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