Changes for the 2013 Ford Explorer/Explorer Sport:
The big news for Ford’s big crossover is a big-time increase in performance, as the 2013 Ford Explorer introduces its first-ever Sport model for the new model year, featuring a 350-hp, 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, superior driving dynamics and an exclusive appearance upgrade. As for the rest of the 2013 Ford Explorer lineup, it will offer new amenities such as a heated steering wheel, auto-dimming HID headlights, and a knee airbag for the front-seat passenger.
The Base model of the 2013 Ford Explorer is fairly well equipped right out of the box, with a 3.5-liter V6, Ford’s SelectShift six-speed automatic transmission, a multi-function steering wheel, “Explorer” rear scuff plates, the Easy Fuel capless fuel-filling system, dual chrome exhaust tips, LED taillamps, blindspot mirrors, trailer sway control, parental controls, and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Curve Control.
The 2013 Ford Explorer also offers two progressively more premium trim levels—XLT and Limited—for additional technology and comfort advantages. Among them: A leather-wrapped steering wheel with leather-trimmed and heated front seats, premium audio from Sony, power-adjustable pedals, SYNC with MyFord Touch, rear-seat climate controls, additional chrome and satin silver exterior accents, fog lamps, remote start, ambient lighting and an enhanced media hub with two USB ports, an SD card reader, and audio/video input jacks.
Finally, the 2013 Ford Escape Sport, despite its name, adds a lot more than just a power-packed EcoBoost engine. For sharper reflexes and improved athleticism, it also rides on a sport-tuned suspension and boasts an intelligent all-wheel-drive Terrain Management System, performance paddle shifters, and sport-style front bucket seats.
And keep in mind that the Blue Oval’s Terrain Management System is available in the non-EcoBoost V6 model as part of a comprehensive options list that also includes, on all models, a power liftgate, power-folding third-row seats, a full portfolio of driver-assistance technologies, and a dual-paned panoramic sunroof.
Engines and Transmissions:
The main motivator for the 2013 Ford Explorer is a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine that has 290 hp and 255 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, and also boasts the automaker’s Ti-VCT twin independent variable camshaft timing. Drivers can further choose between two different EcoBoost units: A high-mpg 4-cylinder engine that’s still capable of developing 240 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque, along with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that brandishes 365 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmission-wise, the 2013 Ford Explorer relies on the SelectShift six-speed automatic with both V6 engines, while the 4-cylinder EcoBoost unit is mated to a traditional six-speed auto.
Fuel Economy Ratings:
Taking full advantage of that 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine, the 2013 Ford Explorer can achieve EPA grades of up to 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway/23 mpg combined. The other EcoBoost alternative still manages 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway/18 mpg combined, and that’s with all-wheel drive. Drivers will see EPA ratings of 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway/20 mpg combined with the Explorer with its conventional V6 and front-wheel drive, with those numbers slipping slightly to 17/23/19 with all-wheel drive.
The Blue Oval’s strong commitment to safety leadership in the industry helped the 2013 Ford Explorer bring home a 5-star overall safety grade from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in both all- and front-wheel drive configurations, with both versions earning 5 stars in front- and side-crash testing and 4 stars for rollover protection. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2013 Ford Explorer is a Top Safety Pick (and hasn’t been tested under the new Top Safety Pick+ regimen).
Emphasizing its next-gen design, the 2013 Ford Explorer offers a thorough slate of technology offerings, including the latest SYNC with MyFord Touch connectivity and infotainment system with navigation—and now also with mobile wi-fi capability. Ford’s MyKey suite of technologies for parental controls—able to limit vehicle speed and audio volume, as well as track the Explorer—is on board as well, and the company also offers adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, Ford’s SOS post-crash alert technology, a Blind Spot Information System with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping and lane departure systems, inflatable rear seatbelts, a rear-seat entertainment system, and Intelligent Access with pushbutton start.
Also of special note is the 2013 Ford Explorer’s standard AdvanceTrac Roll Stability Control feature, which incorporates Curve Control to provide optimum braking at each individual wheel to enable improved vehicle composure in turns.