2001 Ford Explorer Sport makes debut with new styling, features
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 16, 1999 - The Ford Explorer Sport - sales leader among two-door sport utility vehicles - is even better for the 2001 model year with new sporty styling, features and functional improvements designed to inspire confidence in any driving situation. The new model was unveiled today during a preview to Ford dealers.
On sale beginning early next year, the 2001 Explorer Sport aims to strengthen its leadership position with significant changes to exterior sheet metal, a new interior, more front leg room and improved ride and handling characteristics.
Sales of the two-door Explorer have increased each year - from 31,700 units in calendar year 1991 to nearly 112,000 units in calendar year 1998. Sporty Styling As its name implies, the Explorer Sport is the sportiest member of the Explorer family, catering to customers who are young, active and independent-minded looking for more fun and adventure than he or she can find in a car.
For the 2001 model year, Explorer Sport shares its new modern front-end sheet metal with the all-new Explorer Sport Trac, which also goes on sale beginning early next year. Complex-reflector headlamps flank a signature Ford grille which flows back and up to the vehicle's muscular "power dome" hood. An upswept, wraparound front fascia houses driving lamps and integrates with the vehicle's lower body-side molding.
Optional tow hooks integrate into openings in the lower bumper. Wheel flares are integrated into the sheet metal.
Inside, Explorer Sport receives additional sporty touches, including new interior trim and a distinctive white dial instrument cluster.
New Features, Improved Package The 2001 Explorer Sport is designed with several new features.
The standard floor console includes two larger and improved front cup holders, an open front storage area convenience clip, twin retractable rear cup holders and a removable "soft pack" storage bag for holding CDs and other items.
The optional console adds a coin holder, front power point, flow-through ventilation with rear blower controls and rear-mounted audio headphone jack/audio controls.
The optional power moon roof can be tilted open or fully retracted into the roof. It includes a second, manually retractable sliding sun shade. An express "one-touch open" feature fully retracts the moon roof when the control switch is pressed briefly.
A front overhead console is optional. It houses two map/courtesy lamps, compass, outside temperature display and garage door opener storage bin or, for models equipped with a moon roof, the moon roof switch.
Customers can choose from two audio systems. The standard 60-watt system uses four premium speakers and includes AM/FM stereo radio, clock and single CD player. An optional, 290-watt audiophile quality system features a six-disc in-dash CD player and seven speakers (two coaxial tweeter/midrange speaker sets in the front doors, two single rear door speakers, plus subwoofer).
Designed to seat four adults comfortably, Explorer Sport's passenger compartment offers customers best-in-class roominess and increased front leg-room compared with the previous model. With nearly 70 cubic feet of maximum cargo space and the ability to tow up to 5,180 pounds, Explorer Sport is perfect for active lifestyles.
Confident The new Explorer Sport is powered by Ford's 4.0L SOHC V-6, which produces 206 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 238 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The engine is linked to a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.
The new Explorer Sport offers drivers a command seating position for a better view of the road and comes in 4x2 and optional 4x4 configurations.
Ford engineers took several steps to improve the ride and reduce cabin noise in the 2001 Explorer Sport over today's model, and a stiffer frame improves vehicle dynamics and contributes to lower noise, vibration and harshness. A sound dampening floor system helps block noise from entering the passenger compartment. Also, the instrument panel and laminated dash sheet metal are designed to reduce the transfer of engine noise to the passenger compartment.
Suspension improvements contribute to a better ride. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard, and the modified front caster improves drift/pull characteristics. Also, revised shock tuning and a new multistage rear leaf spring suspension reduce ride harshness.
All models come with standard power rack-and-pinion steering for precise, carlike steering characteristics.
The Explorer Sport is fitted with a larger, more durable and quieter four-wheel disc braking system, which achieves a shorter stopping distance. Front brakes have larger rotors, phenolic pistons and stiffer calipers. All models have new front-wheel dust shields to assist in rotor cooling.
A four-wheel, three-channel anti-lock braking system is standard. This system controls front wheel braking independently and the rear wheels in tandem during an emergency stop. Dynamic rear proportioning optimizes non-ABS stopping performance under varying load conditions.