A Sportier Ford: the 2017 Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 16, 2016

Ford has always placed consumer needs above all else in its auto manufacturing efforts. And being pioneers in the field, Ford is aware that the number one consideration in SUV decision making is exterior appearance.

In an effort to provide SUV buyers a sportier SUV option, Ford announced the newest addition to its full-size SUV lineup for 2017 -- the new Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package, expanding the Explorer series to six models.

The other five models are base, XLT, Limited, Sport and the Platinum edition. A trend emerge from past sales data, with buyers preferring the more sporty and exclusive versions of the Explorer series. Explorer Sport and Platinum models are the top two models accounting for around 30 percent sales in the US. With the new XLT Sport Appearance Package, potential buyers have an additional option to choose from, with the new model’s sportier exteriors.

Reflecting its customer’s preference, Ford will likewise introduce within this year a new 2017 Ford Escape which will feature a Sport Appearance Package as well. According to Omar Odeh, Explorer brand marketing manager, Ford is always cognizant of this particular customer preference and the introduction of the XLT Sport Appearance Package is the company’s response to this need.

The new Explorer package offers the following features: 20-inch Magnetic Gray wheels; Magnetic Gray grille; Magnetic Gray mirror caps; Magnetic Gray rear appliqué; Ebony Black side cladding; Black roof rack; Explorer badge in the hood; Dark Earth Gray leather front seats with bolsters done by Salerno, Dark Earth Gray Miko suede for seat back uppers and inserts with Umber scrim, door trim inserts, Umber contrast stitching; Floor mats with Explorer logo.

In addition, standard XLT features such as 3.5 liter V6 engine, Intelligent Access with push-button start, LED fog lamps, SYNC3 and 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, grace the new 2017 Sport Appearance Package as well.

According to Odeh, the Explorer group has closely collaborated with Ford Design to capture the unique colors, wheels and interiors that SUV customers are looking for.

Press Release


Giving SUV buyers a fresh option for a sportier-looking ride, Ford adds the new Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package to its popular full-size SUV lineup for 2017. The addition of the package expands Explorer offerings to six models. Other versions include base, XLT, Limited, Sport and the Platinum edition.

Explorer buyers are demonstrating an interest in unique models. Sales of Explorer Sport and Platinum, the two top models, account for approximately 30 percent of Explorer sales in the U.S. market. The new XLT Sport Appearance Package joins the Explorer family beginning this summer.

The 2017 Ford Escape, launching in the coming months, will feature a unique Sport Appearance Package as well.

“Our Sport Appearance philosophy is rooted in the fact that we know exterior appearance is the No. 1 consideration in SUV purchase decisions,” said Omar Odeh, Explorer brand marketing manager. “The XLT Sport Appearance Package is a dramatic offering that gives customers another attractive option.”

The Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package features updates both inside and out:

20-inch Magnetic Gray wheels
Magnetic Gray grille
Magnetic Gray mirror caps
Magnetic Gray rear appliqué
Ebony Black body side cladding
Black roof rack
Explorer hood badge
Dark Earth Gray leather for front seats, including outer bolsters by premium leather maker Salerno; Dark Earth Gray Miko® suede for seat back uppers and inserts with Umber scrim, and door trim inserts; Umber contrast stitching
Explorer logo floor mats
The 2017 Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package comes equipped with standard XLT features including a 3.5-liter V6 engine, Intelligent Access with push-button start, 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, SYNC® 3, LED fog lamps and much more.

“In the market right now, across all our SUVs, customers are looking for unique colors, wheels and interior appointments,” said Odeh. “We’ve worked closely with Ford Design to deliver a unique look that will resonate with customers.”

Beginning this spring, Escape buyers can consider the Sport Appearance Package for 2017 as well – available for Escape SE and Titanium models. The package includes premium 19-inch Ebony Black aluminum wheels and high-gloss upper grille; black beltline molding and front fenders; partial leather sport seats with contrast stitching, and more.

SUV sales remain robust in U.S. market
Driven in part by increased sales to maturing millennials and continued interest from baby boomers – the two largest consumer groups in the U.S. market – SUV performance is robust and is expected to continue through the end of the decade.

More efficient than ever, with EcoBoost® engines available for every nameplate, Ford-brand SUV sales totaled more than 740,000 vehicles in 2015 – an increase of nearly 7 percent versus a year earlier. Escape sales in 2015 reached 306,492 vehicles – an all-time record. Sales of the new Edge grew 14 percent, with Explorer sales increasing more than 18 percent.

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