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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2012 New York Auto Show in New York City.
Ford Explorer Sport

What is it? Ford has unveiled a performance version of the Ford Explorer using a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged, EcoBoost V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Output is claimed to be at least 350 hp. Fuel economy is projected to be 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

The Sport features an all-wheel drive with a convenient terrain selector, allowing the driver to change multiple systems to suit conditions, including sand, snow, mud, and hill descent. To balance out the increased performance, this SUV will have larger brakes and electric power steering.

The Sport will be at the top of the Explorer line and feature elements such as a special grille, leather seats, sport floor mats, and illuminated scuff plates.

Interior is dressed with a two-tone color scheme, steering wheel stitching, obligatory logos, and detail trim upgrades. Notable features include 10-way power driver’s seat and six-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, rear-view camera, Sync and MyFord Touch. Options include park assist, blind-spot monitoring, inflatable rear seat belts, moon roof, and power liftgate.

What is new or notable? With the Explorer Sport, Ford has created a high-end performance variant to compete with the Dodge Durango R/T and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Think of it as the SHO edition, rather than remember the old two-door “Explorer Sport” designation.

When will it be available? Late 2012.

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