Ford adds excitement this year to the Explorer lineup with the addition of the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport, billed as the first-ever performance version of the Explorer. What’s different? Start with 350-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. In the words of our editors, the Explorer Sport is “basically an Explorer SHO.”
There are also new styling details: the Explorer name appears on the front of the vehicle, new wheels and polished tips on the high-performance exhaust. Other Sport features include rearview camera, 4WD with Terrain Management system, front heated seats, 12-speaker Sony Premium Audio system with HD radio, and SYNC with MyFord Touch. Optional safety technology includes inflatable rear seat belts, Active Park Assist, and Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert.
The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport, priced from $40,720, goes on sale late this year.
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
There are not one, but two models of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe mid-size crossover to appeal to growing and established families. There’s the two-row five-passenger Santa Fe Sport, out first this fall, and the three-row Santa Fe suitable for seven passengers, available early next year. Both offer, in the words of our editors, “aggressive new styling, terrific fuel economy, and a ton of features for a reasonable price,” which translates to our 7.8 (out of 10) overall rating for the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe.