2013 Ford Explorer Sport Review

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2013 Ford Explorer Sport Review

July 26, 2013

Our company recently had its first annual National Retreat that we invited all of our Directors across Canada to attend.  Focus Communications arranged for 3 press vehicles, courtesy of Ford Canada to transport the team from Edmonton, Alberta to Canmore in the Alberta Rockies.  We thoroughly enjoyed driving the C-Max, F-150 and Explorer Sport.

Facebook Photo of Directors & Cars

I drove the C-Max a few months ago and you can read more here.  You can read our West Edmonton Director’s CMax review here.  On this trip, I drove the 2013 Explorer Sport.  I have driven the new body style of the Explorer before, but this was the first time I experienced the vehicle on a road trip and through highway driving.  Four of us loaded up 4 bags, 2 inflatable areo beds, 2 coolers, 2 rubbermade bins and bedding.  It was tight, but we managed to hold all of that gear where the third row would normally be.  The third row folds easily and completely flat.  Even with the trunk totally full, the second row seats were still able to recline a bit and there was lots of leg room for our 2 back seat passengers.  Once we arrived at our destination, we used the third row for 2 or 3 adults and they found it comfortable and roomy; so the third row doesn’t just have to be for the kids!  I did hear complaints that the second row middle seat is way too narrow for a person to sit or most likely even install a car seat for those families that have 3 car seats across the middle row.  The passenger sitting in the middle seat of the second row said they were basically sitting on the buckles.

Exterior Image

 

The one thing that our second row passengers noticed right away was the unique seat belts.  Ford introduced the industry’s first ever production inflatable seat belts.  The only real difference is the buckle – the seat belt felt the same or even perhaps a bit more comfortable than a standard seat belt.  The crash sensing system determines when the belts tubular airbag should inflate.  Cold compressed gas flows through the buckle and into the belt.  As a mom, I really like this feature for small children that are in booster seats.  I myself still have my 4.5 year old in a Britax carseat with a 5-point harness as I still feel she is way too small for a booster seat using the vehicles seat belt.  Inflatable belts are an amazing idea!  You can see the inflatable belts in action through renderings courtesy of Ford here.

I think that the Explorer is one of Ford’s most esthetically pleasing vehicles they have in their line up and I really like every part of the redesign.  The Sport has some extra features that really give the Explorer an edgier look.  Included extras are painted and machined 20-inch wheels, low gloss sterling mesh grill, black roof rails, polished exhaust tips, blacked out front lower fascia and blacked head & tail lights.

 

Grill

     Wheels

 

The extra features on this model continue on into the vehicle as well through two-tone leather seats and contrasting stitching on the steering wheel and seats.  The unique Sport logo is also displayed throughout the interior. As always, I give the SYNC system a superb rating.  I still think it is the easiest system to use on the market for synching devices, making & receiving calls and accessing music.  The large dash display and steering wheel controls make it easy and safe to use your phone, listen to music, navigate and change climate controls.

2013-Ford-Explorer-Sport-Dashboard

Obviously, “SPORT” means that this vehicle has some extra power.  I found it very responsive for a full size SUV to pass on the highway.  It has a 3.5 litre turbo charged V6 EcoBoost engine with 365 horsepower.  The model also includes paddle shifting on the steering wheel, which I always find a bit strange.  I would find it very surprising that anyone would actually use this feature on an SUV, but I suppose they must be out there!

The safety standards on the vehicle are amazing.  I have already mentioned the inflatable seats belts above, but also included on this model are front passenger knee airbags, blind spot monitoring in the two side mirrors and “MyKey” controls on calling, texting and speed for families that may have a younger driver borrowing the Explorer.  The vehicle can also sense if you are approaching someone too fast (if for example, they break hard) and will make a loud beeping alert as well as flash a red light on the dashboard.  Curve Control will automatically slow the vehicle down up to 10mph if a curve is being taken too fast.

Really my only complaint on the Explorer was the cruise control.  Obviously it is a safety standard, but I didn’t like the cruise control automatically slowing down as you approached a vehicle on the highway.  I found it annoying to wait for the car to speed back up when passing, so I found it easier not to use the cruise control for highway driving.

Overall, I think the Sport is a great buy for a family.  The model I drove had just under $5000 in options and a total price of $54,779 CAD.

Exterior 2

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