Ford Explorer ST Is A 400-Horsepower Crossover For The Family

Thrifty or rambunctious: 2020 Ford Explorer hybrid and ST revealed

After revealing the all-new 2020 Explorer at an independent event last week, Ford has detailed the performance-focused ST edition and fuel-sipping hybrid at the Detroit auto show. Ford says that the ST's top "track speed" is 229 kilometres an hour, putting this Explorer is some rarified company indeed.

The Explorer ST is Ford's second high performance SUV, following the Edge ST, and features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that's good for 400 hp and a top speed of 143 miles per hour. As Ford's SUV sales leader, Explorer will set the pace for the rest of Ford's utility lineup, which continues growing this year with an all-new Escape - and more.

"Lost cargo space in hybrids is a thing of the past for Ford customers", says Bill Gubing, the Explorer's chief engineer, though there was no discussion of exactly how big said battery is or how much electric-only range it will allow. "With an all-new ST and an all-new hybrid, there truly is an Explorer for every adventure". A specially tuned version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine found in the Platinum model powers the ST delivering 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque.

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Ford boldly calls the Explorer ST "the fastest three-row SUV under $60,000", and it packs upgraded brakes, springs, and dampers.

Power is fed through a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive with selectable traction control. Instantly familiar but more rakish and attractive than the outgoing model, the 2020 Explorer hits all the marks needed to remain relevant: It's approximately 200 pounds lighter, can tow up to 5600 pounds, features updated infotainment and connectivity anchored by an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and is built on an entirely new longitudinal-engine platform featuring rear- or all-wheel drive. Like the Edge ST, the Explorer ST includes a sport mode that tightens the steering system, makes the throttle response more aggressive, increases the gear shift speed, and enhances the engine note. It has unique leather upholstery with ST logos stitched in the seatbacks and a heated flat-bottom steering wheel.

Options include the ST Street Pack and ST Track Pack, both of which come with 21-inch aluminum wheels, red brake calipers, and their own individual brake upgrades. Ford has previously anticipated that the Explorer Hybrid would return 24 mpg, EPA combined, although its final ratings might land somewhat higher than that.

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