DEARBORN - The Explorer lineup grows in 2013 with the addition of Explorer Sport bringing more power, unsurpassed fuel-economy and sport enhanced capability to the Explorer family. Below is a Q&A about the new model including, design changes on the exterior and interior and additional enhancements that will improve ride and handling.
Q. How have customers responded to the Explorer?
A. Ford sold 135,704 Explorers in 2011, a 124 percent year-over-year increase, through February 2012, Explorer sales totaled 20,406 totaled, a 20 percent increase this year. We've seen that nearly 40 percent of Explorer customers are choosing the Limited model and Explorer is conquesting at a rate of 50 percent with about 13 percent of sales coming from luxury customers.
Q. What is different between the Explorer Sport and the Explorer?
A. Explorer Sport receives the 3.5-liter EcoBoost i-VCT V-6 engine as well as calibrations and component upgrades to accommodate additional power and improved driving dynamics. It also features a new look on the exterior and the interior.
Q. What design changes have you made?
A. The look and feel of Explorer Sport is premium and sporty. We have a new leather interior with contrast stitching and sport specific detail touches. New sport specific floor mats, and darkened tail and headlamps. Overall the Sport-specific interior inspired by designer accessory fashion and sporty exterior design cues interior give customers a total package of sport and luxury.
But the improvements we made in design are also matched by how well performance has been enhanced. The 3.5L EcoBoost engine provides 350 hp and torque with improved cornering and more than a two second improvement in 0-60 time than the 3.5L Ti-VCT V-6 engine.
Q. What technologies are coming on Explorer Sport?
A. The Explorer Sport comes with a lot of new additions standard, including: 3.5L EcoBoost engine mated to a 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters, SONY Audio system with HD radio, Terrain Management System, front-passenger knee airbag and more.
In addition, Explorer Sport is the first Explorer to get a solid mount Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) steering rack. EPAS has its own unique steering ratio that is sport specific, enabling more secure steering that is tighter and more responsive.
Q. What is the fuel economy on Explorer Sport?
A. Explorer Sport delivers projected fuel economy of 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, making it the most fuel-efficient gasoline powered 7-passenger high-performance sport utility vehicle
Q. Why does the 3.5L EcoBoost provide less horsepower and torque on Explorer Sport then Taurus SHO or Flex EcoBoost, which are mated with the same engine?
A. The manifold, exhaust, turbo tuning and under hood space had to accommodate the 4WD system in Explorer. Also, the exhaust system needed to be re-routed to accommodate 4WD when traveling off-road, induced by higher ground clearance.
Q. Will the 3.5-liter EcoBoost be available across the lineup?
A. No. The 3.5L EcoBoost is a unique offering for Explorer Sport. We believe we have the right mix of engine offerings to meet the needs of our customers. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 offers the blend of capability and fuel economy that Explorer customers will appreciate. The 290 hp 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 offers strong towing performance and best-in-segment fuel economy.
Q. Why did you use an iVCT versus a Ti-VCT engine?
A. The iVCT can deliver a faster 0-60 time and the additional performance that Explorer customers are looking for.
Q. What is the towing capacity of the 3.5L Explorer Sport?
A. The maximum towing capacity of Explorer Sport is 5,000 lbs. Also, this towing capacity and the fuel economy won't be diminished by adding a trailer tow package.
Q. What is the pricing on Explorer Sport? When will it go on sale?
A. It is too early to talk about pricing but Explorer Sport will be positioned above the Explorer Limited. It will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.
Q: Does Ford need an Edge, a Flex and an Explorer?
A: Absolutely. We’re a full-line automaker, and our plan includes a balanced portfolio for customers with a variety of vehicle needs.