2013 Ford Explorer Sport – fancy fish hauler


Thanks to Maxine Patenaude of Ottawa’s Thornley Fallis for putting me behind the wheel of this new Ford product.

My two weeks with the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport  included a trip up the Ottawa Valley and across the river to Témiscaming, Quebec, followed by a jaunt to our trailer up in Cobden.

The new Explorer is more than roomy enough for the whole family or group of full-sized trout anglers, with comfortable seating for 7 passengers, although I put the back two seats down to increase storage space for our fishing and camping gear.

My first impression of the Explorer Sport was ride quality, and my second impression was power, I mean big time power, and the 365 hp twin turbo had a lot to do with it!

With a 6-speed transmission and 0 to 60 mph rating of 6 seconds flat, it is easily the fastest vehicle in this class I have tried yet.


The new Explorer Sport is also being dubbed as the most fuel efficient High Performance SUV/CUV on the market(est 16 mph city and 22 mpg highway)

Since the Explorer’s redesign in 2011, this classic SUV was magically transformed into a modern-day Crossover vehicle. Gone is the traditionally stiff truck frame; now replaced with crossover-style unibody construction.


The ride is smooth and silky with smaller bumps being soaked up like a sponge in the vehicle’s suspension. And trust me, the dirt roads in NW Quebec had more than a few bumps and curls.

Off-road purists may be disappointed with the new CUV Explorer and lack of typical 4X4 features like high and low range and ladder frame construction; however, modern day families and weekend campers will appreciate the roominess, comfort and ride quality.

Instead of high and low range of traditional 4X4’s, Ford has included a new ‘intelligent 4WD system’, featuring different settings for conditions like sand, snow or mud.


The Sport model also boasts a ‘sport tuned’ suspension for a more solid and stiffer ride over uneven ground. Ground clearance is still decent however a low hanging front scoop could hinder rougher off-road driving. It; however, did not cause any problems for me on the rough northern roads.


The Explorer’s interior layout is a must see and feels more like the cockpit on an F14 fighter jet.  (I nearly forgot I was on an up north fishing trip) The interior is laid out in a functional and classy manner with every luxury detail considered. Such safety features as ‘blind spot’ indicators take the guess work out of passing, and Ford’s Sync voice command system is a wonder to behold, once you practise with it a bit of course.

 FM 106.1 please!


Most every aspect of the Explorer can be monitored from with the Sync System: navigation, heating & cooling, sound and so on. You can use the touch command screen, or really take charge of this beast with the voice command!

I managed to Sync my cell phone and my daughter even Sync’ed her iPod.

The Explorer tells you how many KM’s left before you need to fill up which isn’t a new feature for 2013, but I really like it on long trips, and it also boasts a wide assortment of modern day necessities like MP3, USB, SD memory card slots and even a 11o power outlet.

For those who aren’t used to it, though, this vehicle does carry a good-sized footprint and requires care in parking and manoeuvring into tighter spaces. It is considerably larger than Explorers of days-gone-by and feels more like a luxury vehicle in many ways.

With perhaps the nicest overall look on any SUV/CUV I have seen yet, there are few remnants of the old Explorer left.  This vehicle is definitely a head turner, with its sleek look and  20-inch mag wheels. 


In the end, the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport was a great experience and a vehicle very comfortable to drive. I have never travelled north in such luxury, and it is so fast that I feel fortunate to have returned home speeding ticket-free.

For those looking for modern day convenience and luxury in a full-size crossover combined with off-road ability, this is the vehicle for you.

And for the avid angler, this is one fancy fish hauler indeed.