Following the introduction of the redesigned 2020 Explorer, Ford has taken the wraps off two new Explorer models built around two new powertrain options: hybrid and performance.
The 2020 Explorer ST joins the Edge ST as Ford’s second performance-focused SUV model. Powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine with a projected 400 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque, the Explorer ST was engineered by the Ford Performance team and has a top speed of 143 mph.
It has a performance feel with sustained performance capability and wears an unmistakably ST appearance. More than anything, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun to drive,” says Ed Krenz, Ford Performance chief functional engineer.
The 3L EcoBoost is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and comes standard with four-wheel-drive and selectable traction control. Also standard is a Class III trailer tow package with cargo management system and Active Park Assist 2.0, which we detailed in our initial coverage of the Explorer refresh.
Like the Edge ST before it, Explorer ST has a Sport mode that tightens the truck’s steering system for sportier handling, more aggressive response from the accelerator, and gears that hold longer and shift quicker.
The ST is available in a Street Pack or a Track pack which Ford says offers different levels of performance brakes featuring larger vented vented rotors, red brake calipers with stainless steel pistons and larger brake pads.
Ford has differentiated the look of the Explorer ST from the regular models with a black mesh grille insert, lower bodyside details, roof-rack side rails and skid plate elements.
At the media preview for the ST and hybrid, Ford had a cutaway prototype of the hybrid model to not only show off the components of the hybrid powertrain, but to illustrate how the truck’s designers were able to implement the extra powertrain components inherent to a hybrid vehicle while not decreasing the amount of available space inside the cabin.
Ford says it was able to do this by integrating a “specially designed, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery” into the Explorer chassis below the second-seats.
The Explorer hybrid is powered by a 3.3L powertrain projected to produce a combined 318 horsepower with a range of more than 500 miles between gas station visits on the rear-wheel-drive model. Ford notes that the actual range will vary and says the final EPA ratings will be available later this year.
Like the ST, the hybrid is mated to a 10-speed transmission.
The Explorer Hybrid will be available in the Limited trim with active noise cancellation, Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ driver assist, technologies, leather seats, heated second-row seats, a 14-speaker B&O sound system, wireless phone charging pad and 10-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats.