Thirty years from now car enthusiasts will look back and call these days we live in the second golden age of muscle cars. For the first time since the early ’70s, despite the push from the petroleum haters for electric cars, we have a great selection of powerful new vehicles. Every native US car maker has revived old muscle car names or went to retro styling on their pony cars. The V8 engine is alive and well and today’s V8s are more powerful and more efficient than ever before. GM’s LS, Chrysler’s Hemi and Ford’s Modular V8 platforms are all great engines that have permitted enthusiasts and racers to push stock blocks and heads to amazing levels that were not possible with the OEM offerings of 20 years ago.
The new Camaros, Mustangs, and Challengers are great, but it’s not practical for everyone to have one for a daily driver. Ford’s Explorer Sport, Jeep’s Grand Cherokee SRT8, Dodge’s Hemi Durango, Porsche’s Cayenne, Mercedes’ ML63 AMG and BMW’s X1 and X5 are all powerful and sporty SUVs. You can drop off the kids at school, pick up some groceries or take the family on a road trip, while not driving a soul-stealing 160hp “sensible car.” When I met my wife in 2002 she was driving a 1999 Mustang GT and she said she would never ever under any circumstances drive a minivan. Eleven years later with our son on his way, it was time for a sensible new car with more room for a car seat and stroller.
The compromise was a 2014 Explorer Sport with the twin turbo 3.5 EcoBoost engine. The Sport not only boasts 365 flywheel horsepower and 350 foot pounds of torque, it gets a sportier suspension with quicker steering and bigger brakes compared to the XLT and Limited models. Still, the Sport has three rows of leather seats, heated and cooled front seats, backup camera, Microsoft Sync command center and would annihilate her old ’99 GT. This isn’t your usual big horsepower, sticky tires, and fender exit exhaust article you normally see in RPM Magazine. The first upgrades were a car seat and giant panoramic rear view mirror so we could keep an eye on little CS3.
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