Compare the 2018 Ford Explorer XLT vs 2018 Ford Explorer Sport

Krieger Ford Columbus OH
Krieger Ford Columbus OH


2018 Ford Explorer XLT


2018 Ford Explorer Sport

17 city / 24 hwy

Fuel Economy

16 city / 22 hwy
290 hp


365 hp
255 lb-ft


350 lb-ft

Serving Columbus, Westerville, and Gahanna, OH

The current generation of the Ford Explorer has been around for a number of years, a reminder that there's no need to fix what isn't broken. After ditching the body-on-frame truck-style construction in favor of a more crossover-style unibody, the Explorer became a more family-friendly transport, something that this big, seven-passenger vehicle remains to this day.

The 2018 Explorer XLT is a bit more luxurious than the base trim, and the Sport variant comes with a more powerful turbocharged engine, making it the firm choice for those who will be doing a lot of cargo hauling and towing. Both trims have excellent utility scores overall, and both come with nicely appointed interior. Below, a more detailed comparison follows.

Engine and Powertrain

The 2018 Ford Explorer XLT trim is powered by a 3.5L V6 rated at 290 horsepower. Transmission is six-speed automatic, and the XLT can be purchased with either front- or all-wheel drive. For an extra boost of power, buyers can choose a turbocharged 2.3L engine rated at 280 horsepower. The 2018 Sport variant ups the ante with a turbocharged 3.5L V6 that produces 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. This model comes exclusively with all-wheel drive. The Sport also receives special suspension tuning, and it comes with low-profile 20-inch wheels. Both models promise quick, responsive steering. Acceleration is a big selling point for the Sport variant. The Sport goes from a full stop to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds, excellent for such a large vehicle.


Both the 2018 Ford Explorer XLT and Sport have a deep-well cargo area, great for stacking taller items. Cargo volume is on par with competing models, but there's plenty of space for longer items when the rear seats are folded. Both the XLT and Sport feature third-row seats that can be folded completely flat. Both models come with an abundance of cupholders, long door pockets, and a huge central console bin. The Sport model is the trim of choice for those will want to haul a trailer. The tow capacity is on par with all major competition, and the Sport comes standard with a special towing package.

Interior Design

Standard interior features on both the 2018 Ford Explorer XLT and Sport models include adjustable front seats, soft-carpet upholstery, a rearview camera, and Sync voice commands. The Sport adds on a few niceties that are only available as options on the XLT. These include heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, and power-folding third-row seats. The front seats are heated and ventilated. Soft-touch surfaces abound, and the trim accent pieces are of the finest quality and fit together very well. Optional driver aid systems are available on both the XLT and Sport, and these are grouped together into a single package.


The Ford Explorer remains on the bestselling big SUVs on the market, and it promises years of faithful service. Check out the 2018 models today at Krieger Ford, and test drive both the XLT and Sport variants to see which one tickles your fancy.


MSRP excludes destination, taxes, title and registration fees. Starting at MSRP refers to the base model, optional equipment not included. Pricing and offers may change at any time without notification. To get full pricing details, see your dealer.

All figures are EPA estimates. Actual mileage may vary.