Tech

Ford Explorer ST debuts with 400 horses at Detroit Auto Show

Ford Explorer ST debuts with 400 horses at Detroit Auto Show

Combining a 10-speed transmission with four-wheel-drive, the Explorer ST also offers a Sport mode which will tighten up the steering and throttle response while holding onto gears a little longer, making it, in chief functional engineer, Ed Krenz's words, "a hell of a lot of fun to drive".

"This new generation of Explorer recognizes that every family - and every driver - is unique", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president of product development and purchasing.

Specially tuned dampers and springs are on hand to sharpen the handling, and, for those who require maximum performance from their three-row family hauler, an ST Street Pack and ST Track Pack are available.

Set to replace the Explorer Sport in the lineup, the Explorer ST will be the most-powerful model in the lineup. The company says it's estimating a 143-mph top speed. Any time you take one of the most iconic SUVs ever - that would be the Explorer - and mate it to a 400 horsepower/415 pound-feet turbocharged V6, you've got to have a winning formula right? "There's no mistaking its ST DNA". Both rely on 21-inch aluminum wheels to transfer power to the road, but with different performances when it comes to braking, for instance. 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.

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Visually, Explorer ST stands apart from the rest of the lineup courtesy of a black mesh grille insert, liftgate applique, lower bodyside details, roof-rack side rails and skid plate elements. ST-exclusive leather seating seating and interior trim team with a chunky, flat-bottom heated steering wheel bring the sporty feel inside.

Powered by a 3.3-liter hybrid unit, the 2020 Explorer Hybrid is said to produced a combined system output of 318 HP. In today's announcement, Ford added that the Explorer Hybrid's lithium-ion battery pack will be liquid-cooled and fitted below the second-row seats in a way that preserves passenger and cargo space.

As Ford prepares the first of several fully electric vehicles, for what amounts to a rapidly expanding niche, the automaker is also working on rolling out electrified versions of its existing mainstream lineup.


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