The Ford Explorer Sport is, according to the company, their sixth generation model. However, the 2016 Explorer sport still shares the same DNA as the Explorer that came out decades ago. Yes, obviously when the Explorer came out, it redefined the SUV category. But, now, in 2016, the Explorer Sport keeps us expecting more.
A new year and a new model. It is new on paper, but when you compare it with the previous model to see what has changed, you will be a bit disappointed. The wheelbase has increased by 0.2 inches due to some minor suspension tweaks and the new front fenders, and the fascia hood has added another inch. The suspension layout is still the same – front struts and multilink rear. There are some additions to equipment on board, but the vehicle has still remained the same. Therefore, even though it is a slight improvement over the last model, it is still not a better SUV.
So other than some nitty gritty tweaks, the Explorer does not offer anything new. The Sports Edition has added some more styling which makes it look sportier (perforated leather with red stitching and black trim and grille) and a more powerful engine. But is that worth the 12400 USD more than the base model?
The 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 engine that Ford has put in the 2016 Explorer Sport has been there in the Police Interceptors for a long time. It gives a 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft torque. The all-wheel drive and the six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters are already a standard in this segment. Hence, the Sports branding may seem to be a misnomer to some.
• Vehicle Type: Standard Sports Utility Vehicles 2WD
• Curb Weight: 4443 pounds
• Passenger capacity: 7
• Passenger door: 4
• Wheelbase: 112.8 inches
• Length overall: 198.3 inches
• Width max: 78.9 inches
• Height overall: 70 inches
• Ground Clearance: 7.8 inches
• Engine Type: V-6
• Engine displacement: 3.5 liters
• Power @ RPM: 290 @ 6500
• Torque @ RPM: 255 @ 4000
• Fuel System: Port Injection
• Transmission: 6 Speed Automatic
• Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.6 gallon
• Fuel Economy: 17 mpg (city) 24 mpg (highway) 20 mpg (combined)
• Drivetrain: Front wheel drive
Pros and Cons:-
• The 2013 Ford Explorer Base model with all-wheel drive reached from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.4 seconds, whereas the new 2016 Explorer Sport makes it in 6.6. The small fraction does not really matter when it comes to regular use, but it still shows that the Sports branding is not quite in place. It is still faster than some other vehicles in this segment, even with ones with a 5.7 liter Hemi V8. • The newer model has a stopping range. The braking is better, but no significant change. With continuous braking, the stopping distance increases, especially in more extreme conditions, like stopping from a really high speed. If the brakes are allowed to cool, the performance returns to normal. • The Sports Edition has tuned suspensions and had a faster steering ratio. The Sport has a 17.1:1 gear ratio, as opposed to the 15.8:1 found in the older models. This means it can make sharper initial turn-ins. However, it is not good enough for sharp off road turns.
• While commuting on a daily basis, the steering is perfect and feels really sharp. Changing lanes is quick and navigating city highways is a breeze.
• The 2016 Explorer Sport has a front and back camera, heated steering wheels, power tilting, and telescoping. When you throw in some extra cash, you get adaptive cruise control, collision warnings, dual panel sunroofs, DVD screens behind front headrests and more.
The 2016 Ford Explorer Sport is old wine in a new bottle but is still feels like a decent vehicle. It does not really quality for the “Sport” branding it bears, and neither is it a hardcore SUV, but it still is a great SUV crossover for city roads.