2013 Ford Explorer Sport CUV with big performance from SHO

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Ford is upping the ante for its Ford Explorer model with big performance from its SHO performance line. The latest performance edition is the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport compact utility vehicle, which could be the answer to the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk.

The new 2013 Ford Explorer Sport CUV is equipped with the same twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 found in the Taurus SHO, F-150 and Lincoln MKS. The twin-turbocharged V6 engine produces about 350 horsepower and we’re estimating about 345 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission featuring shift paddles at the steering wheel.

But with a more powerful engine in the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport, expect fuel economy to be low as well. Ford projected fuel economy numbers are around 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 miles per gallon on the highway, the company even states that towing capacity is around 5,000 pounds.

Other revisions to the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport include reinforcements to the chassis, a faster ratio for its electric steering system, a 3.16:1 final drive ratio and larger brakes to provide a more responsive acceleration and fuel efficiency at cruising speeds.

“Upgrading to Sport specification enabled us to maintain the standards of traditional Explorer capability plus delivering the highest highway fuel efficiency among gasoline-engine-powered, high-performance, three-row SUVs,” Widmann said.

Look wise, the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport gets a dark theme, such as black lighting elements, roof rails, sideview mirrors, grille, front fascia and wheels.  And on the interior, it gets Charcoal Black leather seating and stitching on the seats and steering wheel.

No pricing has been announced yet, but we expect it to around $47,000, and this is based on the current price of the Explorer Limited model at $38,180.  Ford is currently debuting 2013 Ford Explorer Sport in Dearborn, Michigan.

Update: 3/28/2012

During the debut of the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport in Dearborn, Michigan today, Ford has released some official specs and performance numbers.  The Explorer Sport has received a brake upgrade with 13.8 -inch discs to provide up to 22 percent more stopping power. Torque spec is confirmed at 350 pound-feet of torque, which gives the Explorer Sports a full two seconds faster than other variants in the “0-60 mph” run.

Update: 6/8/2012

Ford has announced pricing for the new Explorer Sport CUV, which starts at $40,720 plus $825 for destination charges. Optional equipment includes a 402A package with voice-activated navigation and Travel Link, pushbutton start and remote start for $4,130. Addition, adding an adaptive cruise control ($1,150), dual-panel moonroof ($1,595) and dual-DVD for the second row seats will end you up at around $50,400.