When I was a young pup shucking out new Willow Green 1995 Explorer XLTs at MSRP or close to it, the Explorer Sport was the unwanted, low-markup, undesirable-demographic, showroom-poison, short-wheelbase, ugly-duckling, obvious-descendant-of-the-Bronco-II, credit-criminal-friendly… oh, you get the idea, right? Nobody wanted them and we didn’t bother to stock them in any quantity.
Those days are long gone, and so is the two-door SUV; the last short-wheelbase Explorer to darken a dealer’s floorplan left the factory over a decade ago. Now, Explorer “Sport” means six-cylinder Ecoboost.
The Explorer Sport is the only Explorer with a base price over $40,000, but it’s reasonably well-equipped and, as seen below, arrives with all the goodies for under fifty grand. Put aside for the moment the fact that fully-loaded Explorers used to sell for thirty K, and it could almost be considered a value. Your humble author continues, however, to recommend the Flex over the Explorer; it does everything the “SUV” might reasonably be expected to do, offers a better third row, and looks like a design statement instead of a melted soap bar.