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Ford to Launch Performance Sport Version of Explorer

Muscle with mileage.

by on Mar.28, 2012

The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport will deliver 350 hp and up to 22 mpg on the highway.

Gas may be inching ever closer to an all-time record but Ford Motor Co. is betting there are still plenty of buyers who want performance as well as high mileage.  With the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport, it’s hoping to deliver both.

Scheduled for a formal unveiling at the New York Auto Show next week, Ford lifted the covers to provide a sneak peek at the performance SUV, which will deliver muscle car levels of acceleration using a turbocharged V-6 rather than a conventional V-8 – which Ford abandoned when it introduced an all-new version of the Explorer for the 2011 model-year.

“We’re confident there are people out there who still want the extra horsepower – but want to do it in a smart way,” said marketing manager Eric Peterson.

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Instead of the traditional big-block V-8, the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport turns to the maker’s turbocharged, 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine which makes 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.  That’s in line with competitors like the more up-market Ranger Rover Sport, at 375 hp, and the similarly priced, Hemi V-8-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee, at 360 hp.

According to Ford, the Explorer Sport will turn 0 to 60 in about 6.0 seconds, or a full two seconds faster than the normally aspirated V-6 version of the SUV.

The Explorer Sport will rely on a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 rather than the old Explorer's big, gas-guzzling V-8.

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Ford Explorer Off To A Good Start

Strong initial demand could herald a return to the glory days.

by on Nov.29, 2010

Early orders suggest the 2011 Ford Explorer will come out of the blocks strong when it goes on sale early next year.

It spent years at the top of the SUV sales charts before crashing, ignominiously, in the wake of a safety scare.  But even before the completely redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer actually rolls into showrooms it’s showing strong signs of success.

With the new crossover-based version of the Explorer not set to roll into showrooms until early next year, Ford dealers have already booked 15,000 advance orders, twice what the maker was anticipating.  And buyers appear to be opting for heavily loaded versions of the SUV, which could make the next-generation Explorer a significant source of profits for the resurgent Ford.

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If the initial pace of orders holds steady it will serve as justification for the automaker’s risky decision to shift from a traditional, truck-based sport-utility vehicle to a car-like crossover.

Ford has been considering that strategy for some time but ultimately chose to stick with a body-on-frame design for the last Explorer.  It might not have made much of a difference in the wake of an unexpected crisis triggered by reports that earlier Explorers were suffering unexpected and catastrophic tire blow-outs that could cause the vehicles to roll over.  While sales initially held steady, demand for the Explorer eventually began to tank, and by 2009 volumes had plunged nearly 80%.

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