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For 2013, a new Sport trim joins the Explorer fleet, offering a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, standard 4-wheel drive, 20-inch sport alloy wheels and two-tone leather-trimmed seats. New features for the Explorer include a passenger-side front knee airbag, available heated steering wheel and auto-dimming headlights.
A top-to-bottom rethink of the Explorer formula results in a thoroughly contemporary and far more desirable take on the SUV/crossover concept, creating a package that should help win over new buyers as well as bring former owners back into the Blue Oval fold.
The Explorer continues to be a strong seller for Ford, despite the recent downturn in SUV sales. Powerful owner loyalty, a reasonable size and the option of a potent V8 engine all contribute to the Explorer's success, despite the vehicle's aging platform and less-than-stellar fuel economy. The Explorer makes a great choice for families looking to get away from a full-sized SUV, as well as for those who need the ride height and four-wheel-drive capability that only a body-on-frame SUV can provide. Although the Explorer has plenty of newer competition, both domestic and foreign, few offer the combination of low price, three-row seating and a powerful V8 engine, not to mention the Explorer's 7,300-pound tow rating.