We spend loads of time reviewing sports and supercars that we tend to forget all about the SUV realm. Back in the 1980s, when the SUV was just starting to become the new fad, there were no performance models to speak of.
In the 1990s, we caught a glimpse of out first true performance SUV, as the GMC Typhoon hit the market in very limited numbers. The Typhoon boasted stout numbers, as GM managed to pump a full 280 ponies from its typically underwhelming 4.3-liter engine. To boot, the Typhoon is still competitive today – in terms of speed – as it hots 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds and clears the quarter in 14.1 ticks.
Unfortunately, the Typhoon was only a 2-door model and lacked the typical SUV utility. GMC also produced a little over 4,000 examples, so they were and remain very scarce. What’s cool though, is just how closely matched the Typhoon still is when compared to today’s performance SUVs. It’ll never beat the likes of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or the Porsche Cayenne, but it can certainly hold its own pretty well, especially for a 19-year-old SUV.
We took a look at the current world of performance SUVs to figure out who is top dog. Click past the jump to find out the results.
Okay, so there are two things that I really love, besides my family and close friends, of course. Those two things are cars (obviously) and football. With my love of football comes my love of fantasy football, much to my wife’s chagrin.
Well, the folks over at Shopautoweek have taken both of my loves and put them together in the form of automotive fantasy football. They chose a lineup of cars to make up the offensive side of a football team.
The team consists of a full assortment of offensive linemen, which you actually don’t have in most fantasy football leagues: a quarterback, fullback, running back, tight end, and two wide receivers. They even went as far as putting out a scouring report listing why they selected each car for these respective positions.
We do disagree with some of their selections, but overall it is a good effort. So check out the full infographic after the jump and let us know in the comments section what cars you would put on your team.
Most of us have all heard the saying that it is not so hard to outrun a cop car, but it’s impossible to outrun their radios. It looks as if the California Highway Patrol is taking that to heart, as it chose the Ford Explorer over the Taurus and Charger Pursuit Car as the replacement for the outgoing Crown Victoria police cruiser. According to the CHP’s representatives, the reasoning for choosing an SUV over the uni-body vehicles is payload capacity, as the CHP can hauls up to 1,700 lbs of people and gear in its vehicles at any given time.
The only two other vehicles that gave the Explorer any competition were the Chevy Tahoe Police Package and Dodge Durango Special Services. The Durango never got a chance, as it was too late for it to receive a pursuit rating in time and Chrysler never submitted a bid. There is no indication on how the testing panned out between the Explorer and Tahoe, but the CHP chose the Explorer based on a lower bid, so chances are that the Tahoe outperformed the Explorer, but was simply too expensive.
Now, don’t start thinking that this is any old Explorer that you can run down to a local Ford dealership and pick up. Ford removed the standard 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and dropped in the 3.7-liter V-6 borrowed from the F-150 that produces 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The standard 3.5-liter engine gets the Explorer to 60 mph in an acceptable 8.3 seconds, so we would figure the extra 12 ponies and 23 pound-feet should cut that down to about 8 seconds.
Yeah, the Explorer PPV is no speed demon, but as we said before, it is much harder to outrun a radio signal than it is a cop car. So this choice was more of a combination of cost and utility than pure speed. Besides, most highway patrols have special pursuit vehicles just for those pesky high-speed pursuits when patrol cars and radios just aren’t enough.
The film on the teaser reel has barely cooled down and Ford is already debuting the high performance version for their Explorer SUV. The new Explorer Sport will make its world debut next week at the 2012 New York Auto Show and will arrive in dealerships later this year.
The Explorer Sport will feature a muscular, sculpted form with subtle cues to differentiate it from the other models in the lineup. Under the hood, Ford has placed a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine that delivers a total of 350 HP. Combined with four-wheel drive and a Terrain Management System, the new Explorer Sport delivers the highest projected fuel economy among gasoline-engine-powered, high- performance SUVs: 16 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway.
"Adding an EcoBoost drivetrain to Explorer Sport delivers even more fuel efficiency and performance to the lineup," said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer. "This is our highest- performance, most capable Ford Explorer ever."
UPDATE 06/08/2012: Thanks to an online configurator revealed today by Ford, we can now offer the official pricing for the 2013 Explorer Sport. Get yours today for $40,720.
Hit the jump to read more about the new Ford Explorer Sport.
Ford has not been shy with new high-performance models in its 2013 lineup. First came the newly redesigned Fusion with an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, then the Focus ST with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. So what’s next for Ford? We think Ford may have tipped its hand with a recent video.
In this video (above) you can see a teaser of what’s to come. From what it looks like, Ford will be announcing a high-performance model of the 2013 Ford Explorer on Wednesday, March 28th. It is all speculation as of yet, but with the ominous sounds of an engine reaching high rpm, what else could it be?
We may be reading way too much into the video, but if you watch carefully at the 0:10 mark, you will see a speedometer on the left. Count the seconds it takes for this thing to reach 60 mph. By our estimation that Explorer hits 60 mph just shy of 5.5 seconds. Now, that could be just a sped up video of a standard Explorer, but if it’s authentic, that is one mean midsize SUV. That isn’t quite in the Grand Cherokee SRT8’s range, but it’s still impressive.
Most rumors in the industry are saying that this model, which may be dubbed an SHO, will feature the same 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 connected to an all-wheel-drive system as the 2013 Taurus SHO. This would be a welcome addition to the existing 2013 Explorer lineup, which already includes a standard 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and an optional 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
The video says “Coming 3-28-2012,” so we will simply wait and see what the specifics are. As we type this, it just rolled over to 12:00 a.m. on the 28th and still no details… Sheesh, Ford, take your time why don’t ya. In all honesty though, Ford has a live chat with its SUV Marketing Manager and Chief Engineer on its Facebook page setup for 2:30 p.m. EDT, so details are likely to be revealed at that time.
This 2011 Ford Explorer is special for a number of things. For one, it was jointly built and designed by Galpin Auto Sports and skateboard legend Tony Hawk. The other and more important reason why this particular Explorer isn’t your normal SUV is because it was built for the 2011 Standup for Skateparks event in Las Vegas. The event was organized by the Tony Hawk Foundation with the mission to build free public skateparks in low-income areas.
For now, the special Explorer SUV is at the 2011 SEMA Auto Show to turn some serious heads. It’s been painted with a custom gray paint and comes with a blacked-out front grille and trim pieces. GAS then added side vents and custom paint accents to the hood of the Explorer while also custom painting the Tony Hawk logo on the fenders and liftgate. Finally, GAS put in a new set of Savini multi-piece wheels wrapped around Pirelly performance tires.
As a man who’s completely in-tune with his inner-child, Hawk wanted the interior of his SUV to be built with plenty of entertainment options. So in addition to the fully custom Katzkin leather interior, the Explorer’s interior also has a new set of custom skateboard racks and an in-car Sony Entertainment System with its own Playstation 3 gaming console.
Galpin Auto Sports has always demonstrated an unbridled desire to be one step ahead of the game as far as their custom vehicles are concerned. Their latest program for the 2011 Ford Explorer is no different. Fitted with what is arguably one of the most comprehensive tuning programs for the Ford SUV to date, the Explorer XXVI is primed and ready for action at the 2011 SEMA Auto Show.
There are many things that stand out with this Explorer, beginning with a one-of-a-kind Matte Bruised Blue pearl paint finish designed by GAS and mixed by PPG. That eye-catching color is complimented by matte finished headlights and taillights and a custom fabricated grille. Suspension set-ups courtesy of Eibach springs and a new set of 24" Savini wheels wrapped in Pirelli tires complete the exterior program for the Explorer XXVI.
And then there’s the interior, which is a whole new conversation piece in itself. The seats have been dressed in custom leather with matching Stingray inserts, suede door panels, and a custom suede headliner. Moreover, the Explorer XXVI also has a radical surround sound system that includes 26 JL Audio speakers wrapped in LED trim, producing a hair-raising output of 2,000 watts. Finally, an iPad was also installed in the SUV, as well as a 360-degree camera that lets you keep tabs on just about everybody that’s eyeballing your insane SUV.
UPDATE 12/10/11: Official photos of the Galpin Auto Sports’ Ford Explorer XXVI program have officially been released. Check out all the snapshots of the souped-up ’Bowtie SUV’ in the gallery below!
DSO Eyewear is clearly not a new automaker looking to steal the scene, but they are experts in developing sunglasses. What does this have to do with the 2011 SEMA Auto Show? Well, DSO Eyewear has teamed up with Ford to work on a customized Ford Explorer. According to the companies’ initial statements, their Explorer was inspired by current fashion trends and embraces an active sports urban lifestyle.
The new Explorer by DSO Eyewear features a cool BASF Pearl Tri-Coat White paint with black chrome detailing on the exterior to give the car a contemporary look. The exterior also gets a new set of Niche 24-inch three-piece wheels that are combined with a lowered suspension. The exterior gives way to the interior showcasing Katzkin Midnight Tuscany leather with perforated Raven Suede accents. The lighting is high-tech, with Advanced Automotive Concepts custom LED headlamps.
Nothing else was said about the Ford Explorer, so we’ll all have to tune in to the 2011 SEMA Auto Show next week to see if DSO Eyewear should keep their day job.
Ford’s presence at the upcoming SEMA Show won’t be just about customizing models like the Fiesta and the Focus. The American automaker is also pitching packages for the bigger families based on the new Ford Explorer. The SUV may not be as fun as the previously mentioned hatchbacks, but it still plays an important part in Ford’s line-up in Las Vegas.
One of the more impressive update packages comes from Stitchcraft Interiors and is called the "Business Edition." As its name suggests, the car is all about offering a more luxurious interior for high-demanding customers. This idea was achieved with Alcantara leather seating, interior accents, door panels, and Orion Car Audio amps, speakers, and wiring. Stitchcraft Interiors also matched study trays to the interior and accents. The exterior is painted in a Seaside Collision two-tone paint scheme with charcoal and orange side graphics.
"The all-new Ford Explorer lends itself to a lot of customization trends because there are so many directions you can go in. Whether it’s amping up the style, performance or capability, they all work seamlessly with Explorer," said Melvin Betancourt, Ford SEMA Design Manager.
Just like skirts getting blown up by the wind, teaser images like these just leaves a whole lot to the imagination. Can’t you guys raise the covers up a little bit more?
In any case, what you see is the second Ford model that Tjin Edition is set to bring at the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas in two weeks time. We already showed you the Ford Mustang, so this time around, you can get your speculations on as to what the aftermarket company did to the Ford Explorer.
The image doesn’t shed a whole lot apart from that custom 24" iForged Concave wheel that appears to be part of Tjin Edition’s package for the Explorer.
In any case, the company did reveal a slew of other options added on to the Ford Explorer, including a custom Dupont paint finish, a lowered Einbach suspension set-up, large Baer brakes, a Thule bike rack, a black leather interior by LR Auto Body, and a pair of Recaro child seats, among other things.
No word yet on whether the Explorer will carry a similar performance upgrade as the Mustang, but hey, that’s what teasing is all about. The good news is that we won’t have to wait long before the unveiling as SEMA is only two weeks away from opening.