There is a lot to get excited about when you first glance at the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport, but there is just as much to love under the hood. A strong 3.5-liter V6 engine pairs up with a six-speed shiftable automatic to deliver 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. There are some people who call this the perfect engine because not only can it safely tow up to 5,000 pounds, it still manages to deliver decent gas mileage for its size at 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but most will want to opt for four-wheel drive, as it includes Ford’s Terrain Management, which is a four-mode system that electronically optimizes traction based on different conditions. Hill-start assist and hill descent control are included as well.
Explorer Sport remains composed around corners and manage to not shake you all around when it hits rough or uneven terrain. The four-wheel independent suspension allows one tire to tackle a hole or bump without transferring it to the other tires.
Other features worth mentioning include SiriusXM Traffic and Travel, Active Park Assist, rear view camera and USB connection.
The 2013 Explorer Sport is expected to be rated the same as its predecessor when crash testing is done, as there have been no significant changes for the model year. The 2012 Sport earned a rating of “Good” in roof-strength, side-impact and frontal-offset tests. However, the 2013 model has been tested for braking power and managed to stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, which is average for this class.
For peace of mind, Explorer Sport is equipped with Curve Control that will step in and slow the vehicle down, if it feels you are going too fast for a curve. Other safety features that either are standard or available as an option include:
Not one inch of Explorer Sport has been overlooked. This is the poster child for what a sporty SUV should look like. Chiseled lines are complemented by 20-inch wheels, charcoal body molding and bumpers, an oversized chrome grilled, privacy glass and roof racks. If there is one complaint, it is that it is only available in four colors
Although the cabin of the Sport is roomy enough for seven passengers, there are others in this class that it just does not compete with, such as the Acadia, Enclave and Traverse by GM as well as Dodge Durango and Ford Flex.
Leather seats are well cushioned yet supportive, and you can’t help but feel as though you are in a luxury vehicle due to its upscale design and silent ride. High-quality materials are used throughout, and the MyFord Touch Interface brings the dash to life.
There is not much to get excited about, when it comes to cargo capacity. With all seats in place, Sport grants you 21 cubic feet, which is about what you will get in a compact car. Even with both rear seats folded down, only 80.7 cubic feet is awarded.