For Sale By:Dealer
Exterior Color: White
Interior Color: Gray
Model: Transit Connect
Trim: AdvanceTrac RSC
Drive Type: No Transmission
Aurora, Illinois, United States
When one speaks of sporty and fun-to-drive utility vehicles, few would put the Ford Explorer in the same category as the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne. Yet, with just a few reservations, I'd toss the new-for-2013 Ford Explorer Sport close to that arena for consideration.
As a recap, the sportiest of Explorers is fitted with Ford's twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6, making 365 horsepower and 350 pound feet of torque. Acceleration is brisk (figure about 7 seconds to 60 miles per hour), as power goes to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Contributing to its more athletic demeanor are larger front brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, chassis upgrades, quicker steering ratio and a more aggressive wheel/tire package. Cosmetically, the Sport is distinguished by its blacked-out lights, black trim and noticeable lack of chrome (with the exception of the door handles).
Ford recently handed me the keys to a Ruby Red Metallic Explorer Sport. Rather than mindlessly drive the big seven-passenger all-wheel drive hauler in soccer mom circles around Los Angeles, I loaded up my family and embarked on a long weekend road trip to Yosemite National Park.
Generally, cars get bigger and heavier as they get older. That's why it looks so ridiculous when you park a classic Mini next to a modern version. The same can be said of the Corvette, the BMW 3 Series, Porsche 911 and, of course, the Ford Taurus. In the Taurus' case, though, that size has become a liability, particularly because the big brute isn't nearly as sizable on the inside as it is on the out.
For 2016, Ford is aiming to rectify that. According to Edmunds, the 2016 Taurus will ride on a stretched and widened Ford Fusion platform. Ford is expecting this move to go a long way in trimming the Taurus' ample body fat.
"The problem with today's Taurus is that it is overweight and even the high performance SHO is not really competitive," said a source that spoke to Edmunds on condition of anonymity. The 365-horsepower SHO variant, "actually weighs about as much as the stretched Audi A8 L. Of course, Audi uses an extensive amount of aluminum, but it is a much bigger car."
Few upcoming debuts have been as eagerly anticipated as the all-new Ford Mustang that's expected to debut shortly as the Mustang's 50th anniversary year approaches. Well, Car and Driver magazine would have us wait no longer as it claims to be leaking Ford's new global pony car early.
Of course what you're looking at is just as likely to be a composite rendering based on what C/D projects the new Mustang to look like, but to our eyes it looks spot on. Combining design traits from the Evos Concept with classic Mustang signatures and Ford's Aston-inspired grille treatment, C/D's images - including a complete 360-degree digital navigator - show a Mustang not only for the modern era, but also for global distribution, taking a quintessentially American car to markets its predecessors were never designed for.
Those global considerations are expected to spell the demise of the outgoing Mustang's holdout live rear axle in favor of an independent suspension, and a slight constricting of the exterior dimensions. And thanks to a separate leak, coming from a digital survey, we have apparent confirmation of what will power the new pony car. While the existing 3.7-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 engines will apparently carry over with only slight adjustments in output, the survey confirms a new 2.4-liter turbo four will be positioned in between them, offering slightly more power than the V6 but markedly improved fuel economy for a manageable $560 premium over base.