If you like the more aggressive styling of the Ford Explorer Sport but don’t need all that extra power, a new trim level debuting at the 2016 Chicago auto show is for you. Called the XLT Sport Appearance Package, this new option for the 2017 Ford Explorer SUV adds some sporty trim inside and out, but without the mechanical upgrades of the full Sport model.
Offered for the Explorer XLT, the appearance package adds Magnetic Grey trim for the grille, mirror caps, and rear appliqué, along with a black roof rack, an Explorer hood badge, and 20-inch Magnetic Grey wheels. The dark grey theme continues inside, with the seats covered in Dark Earth Grey leather with suede inserts and contrasting stitching, and the floor mats featuring an Explorer logo. Under the skin, the Sport package Explorer is mechanically identical to the standard 2016 Explorer XLT, down to the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine (a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four is optional).
Ford offered an XLT Appearance Package for $1,195 prior to the Explorer’s 2016 facelift, and the new XLT Sport Appearance Package is likely to carry a similar price premium (Ford hasn’t released an official price yet). With the 2016 Explorer XLT starting at $34,345, the XLT Sport-equipped model should still be significantly cheaper than the $44,445 Explorer Sport, though that model gets a more powerful, 365-hp twin-turbo V-6 and a stiffer suspension to back up its sharper looks.
The XLT Sport Appearance Package will go on sale this summer after making its official appearance at the 2016 Chicago auto show later this week.