2013 Ford Explorer Sport bringing 350 hp, twin-turbo V6 to soccer practice

March 28, 2012
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
2013 Ford Explorer Sport

The modern revival of the Ford Explorer has been pretty much what Ford hoped it would be -- a popular three-row SUV that squares off well against the imports and the Detroit opposition. To keep interest fresh, Ford's throwing a new model into the mix in a few months: the Sport edition, with the twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 from the Taurus SHO good for a minimum 350 hp. That will get the gelato home before it melts.

With the EcoBoosted Explorer, Ford now has a bracket of engines in the Explorer, although the 2-liter turbo remains a rarity. It also fills a gap for a stouter Explorer, once filled by the V8 in the previous truck-based generation. Ford maintains by using its twin-turbo and direct-injection setup, the Explorer Sport will get 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, surpassing the Hemi V8-powered editions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs.

Other upgrades incude larger brakes, a stiffer frame, special wheels and other gadgetry befitting the top-of-the-line model. Prices weren't announced, but the regular Limited all-wheel-drive has a sticker just under $40,000, and it's a safe bet that's where the Explorer Sport will land. Even with gas at $4 a gallon nationally, sales of these larger vehicles have yet to slow -- and if Ford can convince buyers to pay for fuel economy with little sacrifice in power, it'd be surprising to see them fall flat when they arrive later this year.