Here’s what we know for sure: on Wednesday, March 28, Ford will announce a new model of Explorer that it promises will be fast. They tell us it won’t come wearing an SHO badge, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come packing the same drivetrain as the new-for-2013 Ford Taurus SHO.
If that’s the case, expect a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, good for some 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, driving all four wheels. It will likely shift through the same six-speed automatic transmission as used on the Taurus SHO, and will probably be equipped with SelectShift paddle shifters to row your own gears.
Judging from the video, those look like the same 19-inch wheels found on the 2013 Taurus SHO as standard issue, so we’ll bet that there’s a 20-inch wheel, summer-only tire combination sold as part of an Explorer Performance Package, too.
The new Taurus SHO will run from 0-60 mph in just under six seconds. We doubt that the new Explorer will be that quick, but it may be reasonable to expect a 0-60 mph time in the seven second range.
We say it’s a smart move on Ford’s part, since it gives performance-minded buyers a “muscle SUV” option for far less money (we assume) than the $55,000 starting price of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. We don’t expect the Explorer to be as quick as the Jeep, but on the other hand it should prove far less thirsty, too.
We’ll bring you an update as soon as Ford shows its cards this Wednesday. If you want to see the news break live, follow Ford's announcement at 1:00 EST Wednesday on the automaker's Explorer Facebook page.