Ford Explorer Sport

Generally speaking, when talking about a motor vehicle, if someone uses phrases like ""hobby-horse ride"" or ""can cause sea sickness"" or ""rocks and sways like a carnival ride,"" it indicates that said vehicle leaves much to be desired. Such is the case with the Ford Explorer Sport. A result of (and possibly casualty of) product cycling, the Explorer Sport is an odd vehicle.

More on the Ford Explorer Sport
Ford Explorer Sport Origins

Basically, it represents the two-door version of the venerable Explorer built on a platform that already felt outdated when it arrived on showroom floors. The body is re-skinned with the front of the Sport Trac crew cab, along with lower body cladding and flared fenders. Underneath this admittedly interesting and hardy-looking exterior sits a regular and old Explorer. Interestingly enough, the base four-door Explorer went through a redesign while the Explorer Sport on the market used the old platform. Maybe Ford saw this as an opportunity to use up the old Explorer parts left over after the base model’s redesign.

It seems that the target market won’t need to access remote regions or tear up the countryside with some serious off-roading. Just the same, the name ""Sport"" really does not apply to this SUV. Nothing substantial has been done structurally to warrant a ""Sport"" designation.

The Sport clearly aims to please younger drivers looking for a fun vehicle. Childless couples don’t need the extra space of a four-door. This is all well and good except that a short wheelbase, high center of gravity SUV like the Explorer Sport is a rollover looking for a place to happen when driven by a younger, more aggressive driver. While the two-door SUV class offers few options, experts consider many mini-SUVs superior to the re-skinned, outdated, and unstable vehicle platform

About the Ford Explorer Sport

Yes, it looks cool or tough with this body style. The model’s great appearance isn’t surprising since that marks the only difference from the model it derives from; so we know what the engineers and designers spent most of their time doing. The Sport comes with either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

The trim packages include the XLS, XLT, and XLT Premium. As for the exterior, the XLS trim includes styled steel wheels and the basics. The XLT package adds aluminum wheels, power mirrors, and remote keyless entry. The XLT Premium offers bright-finish aluminum wheels, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic on/off headlamps, front tow hooks on the 4x4 only, and side steps. A limited slip differential can be added to any package.

Ford Explorer Sport Features

The Explorer Sport uses a 4.0-liter SOHC, 208-horsepower V-6 engine that generates 245 lb-ft of torque (or 203 horsepower and 237 lb-ft of torque with the standard manual transmission). The five-speed manual only comes on the most basic XLS models, all others come equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission. Shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive is optional.

Similar to most SUVs, the Explorer Sport sees comfort as a necessity, and that means many interior options. The XLS starts off with power windows and locks, a single-CD audio system, and some options called the Convenience group. The XLT has a Comfort group, a tilting steering wheel, and speed control. The XLT Premium includes a premium floor console with a front power point, rear audio controls, and rear climate vents; an auto-dimming rear-view mirror; a power-adjustable driver’s seat; and an overhead console, plus heated front seats. Other available options include a six-disc in-dash CD player, a power moonroof, and front side airbags.

Although it remains the smaller version of a popular SUV, it still offers enough space for everyone inside to be comfortable. The seats and roominess don’t make up for the ride, though.

As mentioned earlier, the ride resembles something in an amusement park. The shorter wheel base and smaller size alleviate many parking and handling problems associated with the full-size SUV. This makes it easy to negotiate parking lots, city streets, and other tight spaces. Yet a Sport model belongs on the dirt, where this vehicle does alright but doesn’t excel. It provides adequate acceleration, although some fans of sportiness might find it a bit lacking.

The Excursion Sport gets five-star safety ratings for front and rear side crash tests, but the high center of gravity and short wheel base cause it to receive a dismal two star rating on the rollover safety test. Driving the Sport means cornering and turning responsibly and safely.

Fuel economy shows slight improvement over its larger kin. The Sport rates at 15/20 mpg city/highway.

Ford Explorer Sport Evolution

The Ford Explorer Sport represents a two-door version of the Ford Explorer, designed to take the place of the Bronco II in Ford's model line. It saw production from 1991 to 2003. The Sport began as a trim level of the Ford Explorer, but it eventually became its own model. It rides on a 10-inch-shorter wheelbase. The single Sport offers several trim levels of the Explorer with two doors, such as the XL (1991–1997), the Eddie Bauer (1991–1994), and the Expedition (1995). In 1998, the Explorer Sport became the only two-door trim level of the Explorer, and in 2001 it became its own model as the second generation Explorer moved on to a four-door-only third generation.

Select a Ford Explorer Sport Year

2003 Ford Explorer Sport

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2003 Ford Explorer Sport is a two-door version of the venerable Explorer sport utility vehicle (SUV).

2002 Ford Explorer Sport

SUV, Utility/Offroad

As with anything, you have to take the good with the bad.

2001 Ford Explorer Sport

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2001 Ford Explorer is designed primarily for comfort and style, rather than the rugged off-road performance that sport utility vehicles (SUV) are normally associated with.