Ford is adding the 2013 Explorer Sport to the Explorer lineup later this year, and has designed the new model for shoppers who want an Explorer with a more powerful engine and a sportier interior and exterior.

The 2013 Explorer Sport will feature a 3.5-liter V6 Ecoboost engine that can tow 5,000 pounds and will make at least 350 horsepower, Ford says in a press release. That’s 110 horsepower more than the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Ecoboost engine that is optional on the 2012 Ford Explorer, and 60 horsepower more than the 2012 Explorer’s standard 3.5-liter V6 engine. A six-speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters, four-wheel drive and a terrain management system complete the 2013 Explorer Sport’s powertrain.

Car reviewers haven’t driven the 2013 Explorer Sport yet, but Ford says the Explorer Sport has more responsive steering, can stop in shorter distances and has better towing performance compared with other Explorer models. Ford expects fuel economy ratings of 16/22 mpg city/highway.

The Explorer Sport will compete with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango R/T. A 360-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 engine is optional on all Grand Cherokee trims and is standard on the Durango R/T trim.

Ford isn’t clear on which interior features are standard or optional on the 2013 Explorer Sport, but buyers can expect power-adjustable front seats that have power recline and lumbar support, heated front-row seats, rearview camera, Sync with MyFord Touch and a Sony stereo. Park assist, blind spot monitoring and inflatable rear seatbelts are optional safety features. These features are competitive with what the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango offer, as both of these midsize SUVs have blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors and power front seats, though they don’t have inflatable seatbelts. The Grand Cherokee has more optional off-road packages, but its terrain system is optional. Both the Grand Cherokee and Durango have an optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Ford hasn’t announced pricing for the 2013 Explorer Sport, which goes on sale later this year, but the 2012 Ford Explorer starts at $28,870.

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