Hard to believe it's been nearly two years since the new-generation Ford Explorer rewrote the rules for the nameplate that became probably the most synonymous with the acronym "SUV." The 2011 Explorer took the tried-and-true, body-on-frame Ford SUV that for more than a decade was America's station wagon and turned that formula on its head. The new unibody Ford Explorer became a crossover.
With the Explorer's transformation came definitively more acceptable road manners and ride quality. But nobody was going to accuse the three-row, wide-body — and nearly 2.5-ton — Explorer of offering any sort of enthusiast appeal. And why should it?
Because there are Hemi-powered Jeep Grand Cherokees and Range Rover Sports, that's why.
Hold People, Haul Stuff, Go Fast — Pick All Three Our point is not to question the rationality of a "high-performance" crossover. They're oxymoronic, yes, but they exist. They exist because people — mostly fairly affluent people — want to buy them.
An even more puzzling proposition is the high-performance, three-row crossover. This is an even rarer bird, and with the exception of the Dodge Durango, you have to look to V8-powered European stuff, thus the reason Ford's people have the temerity to mention the Range Rover as a competitor for the just-released 2013 Explorer Sport.
The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport certainly is less costly. Base price is $41,545 (including destination) and even though the one you'd want will bring you close to $50 grand, that's still $35,000 less than the three-row Mercedes-Benz GL550 and probably $20 thou less than five-seater Mercedes MLs, BMW X5 and the Range Rover Sport.
Fair Enough Consider, then, that the 2013 Explorer Sport, with the same 365 horsepower/350 pound-feet 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 we know from the Taurus SHO, doesn't hold up too shabbily to the high-powered Euro competition, whose V8s churn out significantly more power but also are markedly porkier on the scales.
If you consider the Sport's most likely competition to be domestic, the EcoBoost is 5 horses stronger (though down 40 lb-ft) than the Hemi-powered Dodge Durango RT and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Explorer Sport is 75 hp mightier than the standard V6-powered Explorer and produces fuel economy ratings of 16 city/22 highway mpg — just 1 mpg thirstier than that vehicle and still near the top of this not especially environmentally concerned class. The Explorer Sport's chief engineer proclaims it to be "the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered high-performance SUV out there."
Whether all this will impress the seat of your pants is for now subjective, as we've yet to test it. But, when pressed, engineers say there might be as much as a 2-second reduction in 0-60-mph time — a handy thing given the noncommittal 8.3 seconds we got from the conventionally aspirated Explorer Limited.
What the seat of our pants told us: The Explorer Sport's EcoBoost propulsion makes a huge difference when midrange thrust is what you seek. Passing back road dawdlers will have all occupants (as many as seven) checking the tightness of their seatbelts far less than in, say, the Scion FR-S.
That's gotta be good for something, right?
Higher Performance Through the Steering Wheel, Too Stop us if you've heard this before, but the engine may not be the best part. The Explorer Sport's chassis upgrades are at least as gratifying as the extra engine grunt, even though we'll allow that they don't make the 4,921-pound Sport the slot car of crossovers.
Ford engineers know the standard Explorer's electrically assisted power steering isn't the paragon of tactility, but the Explorer Sport's steering gear is solidly mounted to the front subframe and the steering's programming has been retuned. Then they did something nobody typically associated with improving steering precision or turn-in ever does: They replaced a bushing at each rear-wheel knuckle with a bearing.
Result: steering that's at least responsive and locked in on center, if still not particularly alive with feedback. We wouldn't call the Explorer Sport's steering radically better than the standard Explorer's, but it's close — close enough that the chassis gang got the hard-mounted steering gear and the rear suspension revision approved for all Explorers as a running change.
It Won't Float What we like about the Sport's improved handling is that Ford engineers didn't stiffen the stabilizer bars or go overboard in jacking up the spring rates in pursuit of sports-car cornering. There are Sport-specific springs and dampers, but the result is merely better body control, such that low-frequency humps taken at high speed on a back road are pleasingly and efficiently absorbed, never affecting the steering or allowing the Sport to get floaty.
Yet there's still a large degree of comfort orientation: Without overly stiff tuning, the wheels don't crash and your head doesn't toss when the road gets rough. There still could be more assertive rebound damping, though, and the Sport continues to exhibit uncomfortable body lean in more-abrupt corners.
The Explorer Sport's front brakes are beefed up by 1.1 inches to 13.9 inches, with 19 percent more thermal mass, 67 percent more swept area and improved venting. Diameter for the rear discs increases from 12.8 inches to 13.6 inches and thickness increases, too, delivering a substantial 53-percent increase in thermal mass. Yet we still think there's work to be done here. Why does everybody but the Germans chintz out on something so vital yet so essentially cheap as brakes? The Explorer Sport's 9-inch-wide 20s replace 8.5-inch jobs for the standard Explorer, although the 265/45 rubber is only marginally wider. Don't want fuddy-duddy all-seasons? Summer rubber is optional.
All Explorer Sports are fitted with a specially tuned all-wheel-drive system that includes the standard Terrain Management selections. A paddle-shifter six-speed automatic transmission remains as well. The Sport rides so marginally lower at the front your eye will never notice.
I Want It To Turn Black The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport's strategy on visual differentiation can be summed up with one word and one color: black. So if you want folks to know you've popped for the Sport, you'd better hope they notice the black grille and the all-over black exterior accents, including the lower body cladding and Explorer-specific alloys.
Some may question the very notion of high-performance utility vehicles, but with the 2013 Explorer Sport, it's hard to argue the balance of Ford's approach. The Sport is not about off-the-charts acts of violence like the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Rather, it's just enough of a boost to keep Mom or Dad interested in the upcoming corner without beating them up later this evening on the grocery run.
The Explorer Sport is effective even when viewed as little more than a new trim level for the Explorer lineup, given that it's not much more expensive than a similarly equipped Explorer Limited.
The takeaway is that the overall performance envelope of this new Explorer feels just about right. There's enough power to flex it when needed, and the Explorer Sport's handling feels tidier than the V8 Grand Cherokee or Durango RT. If you sometimes want to haul six or seven and always want a dose of performance, the Explorer Sport expands a small class.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
2013 Ford Explorer Overview
The 2013 Ford Explorer is offered in the following submodels: SUV. Available styles include XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). Explorer models are available with a 3.5 l-liter flex-fuel (FFV) engine, with output up to 290 hp, depending on engine type. The 2013 Explorer comes with front wheel drive or all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The 2013 Explorer comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2013 Ford Explorer?
Save up to $300 on one of 157 used 2013 Ford Explorers for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $14418 as of Dec 12, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 151 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2013 Ford Explorer trim styles:
The 2013 Ford Explorer Base is priced around $16158 with average odometer reading of 73907 miles.
The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport is priced around $23250 with average odometer reading of 75970 miles.
The 2013 Ford Explorer XLT is priced around $17700 with average odometer reading of 75643 miles.
The 2013 Ford Explorer Limited is priced around $17915 with average odometer reading of 88676 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Is the 2013 Ford Explorer a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2013 Ford Explorer and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2013 Explorer featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2013 Ford Explorer? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2013 Ford Explorer and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2013 Explorer 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2013 Explorer.
Review I just bought a 2013 Explorer with a tow package with the intent of occasionally needing to rent a trailer as I had done with my previous vehicle (a 2009 Edge). I found out after the purchase that U-Haul has black-listed all model years of Explorer and will not rent towable equipment that will towed by any Explorer. This fact was not know by the dealer.
2013 Ford Explorer inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Ford Explorer for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1435 new and 1872 used and CPO 2013 Explorers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 11488 and mileage as low as 22187. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2013 Ford Explorer. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 301 on a new, used, or CPO 2013 Explorer available from one of 2805 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Is the 2013 Ford Explorer safe? The 2013 Ford Explorer earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
2013 ford explorer XLT 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, flex-fuel (unleaded/e85) 20 combined MPG 17 city MPG/24 highway MPG
2013 ford explorer XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, flex-fuel (unleaded/e85) 19 combined MPG 17 city MPG/23 highway MPG
2013 ford explorer Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, flex-fuel (unleaded/e85) 19 combined MPG 17 city MPG/23 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2013 Ford Explorer?
Available Ford Explorer 2013 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: Platinum, Eddie Bauer, XLT, Limited, XLS, Base, Sport, XLT Sport, NBX, XL, XLS Sport
Exterior Colors: Shadow Black, Magnetic Metallic, Oxford White, Blue Jeans Metallic, Blue Metallic, Tuxedo Black Metallic, Black Clearcoat, Smoked Quartz Tinted Clearcoat Metallic, Platinum Dune Metallic Tri-Coat, White Gold Metallic, Burgundy Velvet Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Silver Birch Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Side Metallic, Red Fire Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl Clearcoat Metallic, Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Black, Caribou Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic, Sterling Gray Metallic, Canyon Ridge Metallic, Cinnamon Glaze Metallic, Sterling Grey Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Sunset Metallic, Guard Metallic, White Suede, White Suede Clearcoat, Dark Stone Clearcoat Metallic, Deep Impact Blue Metallic, Pueblo Gold Clearcoat Metallic, Red Candy Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Dark Cherry Clearcoat Metallic, Green Gem Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat, Sangria Red Clearcoat Metallic, True Blue Clearcoat Metallic, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, White Platinum Metallic Tri-coat, Blue Flame Metallic, Dark Copper Clearcoat Metallic, Kona Blue Metallic, Medium Wedgewood Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Torch Red, Aspen Green Clearcoat Metallic, Brilliant Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Kodiak Brown Metallic, Vapor Silver Clearcoat Metallic, White Sand Tri-Coat, Oxford White Clearcoat (Fleet), Bordeaux Reserve Red Metallic, Cinnamon Metallic, Dark Blue Pearl Metallic, Golden Bronze Metallic, Mineral Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Toreador Red Clearcoat Metallic, Cashmere Clearcoat Tri-Coat Clearcoat Metallic, Ginger Ale Metallic, Stone Green Clearcoat Metallic, Tropic Green Clearcoat Metallic, Carbon Clearcoat Metallic, Ceramic White Tri-Coat Clearcoat Metallic, Deep Jewel Green Pearl Metallic, Estate Green Clearcoat Metallic, Mineral Gray Clearcoat Metallic, Sport Blue Clearcoat Metallic, White Pearl
Interior Colors: Ebony Black leather, Ebony Black w/Red Accent Stitching leather, Medium Light Camel cloth, Medium Light Camel leather, Ebony Black premium leather, Medium Stone leather, Charcoal Black leather, Ebony Black premium cloth, Medium Parchment, Medium Light Stone leather, Black leather, Medium Soft Ceramic premium leather, Camel leather, Medium Light Stone cloth, Midnight Grey, Pecan premium leather, Medium Light Camel premium cloth, Charcoal Black w/Sienna Insert leather, Charcoal Black w/Sienna Insert premium leather, Camel leather/suede, Graphite, Black cloth, Charcoal Black premium cloth, Camel cloth, Medium Light Stone premium cloth, Medium Light Stone premium leather, Medium Prairie Tan, Stone leather, Black/Camel (Late Availability) leather, Black/Stone leather, Charcoal Black premium leather, Medium Graphite, Stone cloth
Popular Features: Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Headlights, Lane Departure Warning, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, 5000lb Towing Capacity, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Post-collision safety system, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Third-row seating, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, 6000lb Towing Capacity, Alarm, Bluetooth, Parking sensors, USB Inputs, AWD/4WD, Pre-collision safety system, Auto Climate Control, Back-up camera, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Mobile Internet, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Upgraded Stereo, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Remote Start, Navigation, Rear Entertainment System, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Sunroof/Moonroof, Towing Hitch, Blind Spot Monitoring, Cooled Seats, Heads up display, Upgraded Engine