2013 Ford Explorer Reviews and Ratings

Utility 4D XLT 2WD

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2013 Ford Explorer
NADAguides Test Drive Review

A new model, the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport follows past Explorers by utilizing a four-door/three-row seating design. An available alternative to the standard FWD (offered on other trims), the Ford Explorer Sport trim level offers AWD. Other various features that aren’t offered on other Explorer models are the blacked-out exterior elements (headlights, taillights, wheels and grill), stiffened suspension, and larger brakes.

The 2013 Explorer Sport flaunts and edgy, sporty look with a blackened grille, blackened lower body panels, and accented black wheels. Exterior colors, for the sport trim level, are limited to Ruby Red Tinted Clear coat, White Platinum Tri-Coat, Tuxedo Black, and Ingot Silver. All exterior panels flow tightly, for smooth lines and an overall great looking exterior.

Ford has equipped the Explorer Sport with a 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6 that produces an impressive 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque; the same engine used in the Taurus SHO. The 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission (with paddle shifters) shifts gears smoothly with good timing in between gears. Even though power seems adequate the sheer weight of the SUV makes for slow acceleration. That being said, the vehicle boasts smooth speed, responsive braking, tight handling, and continuous power (once the lag from the vehicle’s weight is surpassed). The heaviness does have some advantages, namely a safe drive even on quick turns or abrupt stops, cornering that exceeds expectations, and lack of sway due to even weight distribution and lower ride height.

Interior elements are all made of durable, good quality material. All switches, buttons, knobs and panels are placed well, requiring little to no effort to access. Following suit, the entertainment center and dashboard are all at a comfortable distance, further improving interior ergonomics. Comfort is extended to the driver through a perfectly designed telescoping steering wheel (wrapped in leather), power seats, and adjustable pedals. For a mid-size SUV, the Explorer Sport boasts ample amount of room with generous legroom for second row passengers, third row passengers, and flexible cargo space that can be increased by folding the third and second row seats down, providing plenty of space for anything you might need to store. Almost every feature in the vehicle is intuitive with the exception of the Ford MyTouch software that can be a little difficult to use and slightly unresponsive, a problem that might be avoided with calibration based on the driver’s touch.

An interesting feature is the Microsoft SYNC; an entertainment system – that allows you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel by utilizing voice command software for climate, radio, and navigation controls. Driver visibility is aided by a blind spot monitoring system, a wide angle back up camera, and a reverse sensing system with audible alert. Convenient features include hands-free phone capabilities (system can be a little tricky but once the phone and car are paired an automatic sync will take place upon entry), heated front seats (optional feature), password keypad entry, Intelligent Access equipped with Push-Button Start, Lane Departure warning system that flashes orange (in the side mirrors) when a car is in the lane on either side of you (making it unsafe to change lanes), full-size spare tire, free Sirius XM satellite trial, power lift gate (optional), Sony 9-speaker premium audio system, and steering wheel mounted controls.

Ideal for SUV drivers, the Explorer Sport is built with utility options but maneuvers like a car, fitting well in most spots and boasting an excellent turning radius. A small downside is the fuel economy, 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for a combined 18 mpg but for its class the Explorer Sport exceeds expectations with little to no cabin noise, comfortable ride, great features, superior handling, and a fun to drive factor that should put this car on the top of anyone’s list.

The 2013 Ford Explorer ranges in price from the base model at $31,995 to $41,675 for the Sport AWD trim level. To learn more or see more pictures, view the Ford Explorer details page.

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