The Ford Explorer is among the best-selling SUVs in the market today. To maintain this level of sales, Ford has released an upgraded model for the 2018 model year. However, not wanting to mess up a good thing, the new model features only a few visual upgrades for all trims. The most notable features on the Sport trim are the addition of 20-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile tires and tightening of its suspension to deliver better performance than base trims.
2018 Ford Explorer Sport Exterior
The 2018 Ford Explorer Sport has only undergone minor exterior upgrades. At the front, the model features a new grille insert while the grille itself is flanked by revised fog light housings that look much smaller than those on the outgoing model. The lower grille X design has been replaced with a grid pattern. On the sides, the lower character lines now extend behind the rear wheels, which give the model a somewhat longer look despite it dimensions remaining unchanged. There is no other change on the flanks. At the rear, the Sport features a new lower fascia.
Unlike the base trims, the Explorer Sport is hooked up with quad exhaust pipes with a chrome finish instead of twin pipes in the outgoing model. The units enhance the rear Sporty look. The model will be available in four new exterior colors; they are Platinum Dune Tricoat, Burgundy Velvet Tinted Clearcoat, Blue Metallica and Cinnamon Glaze. As said earlier, the model features a tighter suspension and rides on a set of 20-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile tires.
Like the exterior, the interior features slight changes. One of the new changes is the upgrading of the model’s technologies. First, the model features a 4G LTE modem along with a Wi-Fi hotspot capable of supporting 10 devices. The hotspot has a range of 50 feet allowing you to access it even from your office, in your home or when picnicking during weekends. The model now features a SYNC Connect that allows remote access of the model using the FordPass to lock, unlock, start or locate the car wherever it is. It also offers diagnostics information.
With all rows intact, the model trunk has 21-cubic feet of cargo space that can be expanded to 80.7 cubic feet upon folding the 2nd row and 3rd row seats. The model still retains its cool leather seats with heating at the front, SiriusXM radio, a navigation system, panoramic moonroof, a power adjustable steering column and pedal, Bluetooth connectivity, memory settings for the driver’s seat as well as a partially digital cluster.
For safety, the Explorer Sport features the “Safe and Smart” package as standard. The package bundles together adaptive cruise control backed by brake support, lane-keep assist, blind spot monitoring along with a vibrating steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and auto high-beams.
Engine and performance
The base trims are powered by is a 2.3 L EcoBoost 4-cylinder mill that produces 280 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque and a naturally aspirated 3.5 L, V-6 that cranks out 290 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. However, the Explorer Sport is powered by a more powerful mill to back its performance status. The unit is a 3.5 L EcoBoost V-6 that churns out 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.
The engine is hooked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. The system channels the juice to front wheels as standard; AWD is available as an option. If you opt for AWD, you will benefit from the automaker’s Terrain Management System that features 4 driver-selectable positions (Sand Gravel, Mud, Grass and Snow). The system also features Hill Descent Control. When well equipped with the Class III trailering package, the engine can tow as much as 5000 lbs.
Price and release date
Ford is yet to release prices of the 2018 Ford Explorer Sport as well as that of other Explorer trims. This information will be available when the model nears its release date scheduled for later this year. However, considering the 2018 model has not undergone significant upgrades, the price will increase slightly mostly to cater for inflation. The current model sells at $45,355.
The 2018 Ford Explorer Sport will compete with performance-oriented models of the Nissan Pathfinder, Kia Sorento, Dodge Durango, Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse.