While the four-door version of the Ford Explorer has long proved itself most popular by sales numbers, the two-door model retained a steady following. Attached to the two-door version of the Explorer since its debut in 1991, the Sport moniker was integrated into the model nameplate in 2001. When the four-door Explorer received an all-new design and new mechanicals for the 2002 model year, the two-door Explorer Sport contoured to be produced on the older platform.
Styling was modernized on the 2001 Explorer Sport granting the two-door sport utility vehicle a sportier exterior appearance. While the revamped platform used by the 2002 Explorer four-door adopted rear-wheel independent suspension system, the Explorer Sport retained the leaf spring suspension setup at the back. This rear suspension setup on the Ford Explorer Sport proved popular with off-road minded drivers.
Available with either a rear-wheel or four-wheel drivetrain, the Explorer Sport’s sole powerplant was a 4.0-liter single overhead cam V-6 engine. Producing 203 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque, the Explorer Sport provided buyers a choice between a five-speed manual transmission and a five-speed automatic gearbox. Peak fuel economy for the Ford Explorer Sport was rated at 17 miles per gallon city and 22 miles per gallon highway. Four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system, 16-inch aluminum wheels, engine immobilizer, power windows and CD player arrived standard on the sport utility vehicle. Changes made to the Ford Explorer Sport between 2001 and 2003 were minor. Production of the two-door Explorer Sport ceased after the 2003 model year with no direct replacement.