By on January 14, 2019

At the North American International Auto Show Monday, Ford today revealed a pair of extensions to the venerable Explorer line, bolstering the standard trim revealed last week. As expected, the new midsize SUV will be offered in a hybrid version, as well as a high-performance ST flavor.

The Ford Explorer ST follows the Edge down the ST path, adding power and track-inspired handling to an otherwise sedate utility. Under hood, a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 produces 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. A standard 10-speed automatic and all-wheel drive puts the power down via standard 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Ford’s media release notes “a top speed target for track drivers stands at 143 mph.” Whether any track will allow an SUV on the tarmac is another story.

Interior highlights include a flat-bottom steering wheel, ST logos galore, and micro-perforated leather sport seats.

For drivers who want even more ST on their ST, both an ST Street Pack and an ST Track Pack are available. These packages add 21-inch wheels and larger performance brakes with red-painted brake calipers. As we all know, red brake calipers mean “fast.”

 

For green drivers who prefer dragging a boat to hauling ass, the Ford Explorer Hybrid is ready to satisfy their higher-MPG desires. In this setup, a 3.3-liter naturally-aspirated V6 mates with a hybrid system to produce 318 total system horsepower. 500 miles of total range is estimated on this rear-drive hybrid.

The battery — including the liquid cooling system — is built into the chassis below the second-row seat, thus eliminating any cargo-carrying trade-off for choosing a hybrid. Interior dimensions remain the same across all Explorer models.

Ford estimates a 5,000 pound towing capacity for the hybrid, which should allow for a boat, an ATV or two, or perhaps a small race car.  As we reported before, the hybrid powertrain will be standard for the Explorer Police Interceptor, meaning the thin blue line will be green.

[Images: Ford]

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46 Comments on “2020 Ford Explorer ST and Explorer Hybrid: Two Ways To Haul...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Its growing on me.

    Explorer: manatee approved.

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    The cop car will be a hybrid? That’s pretty radical. I expect a lot of podunk towns will go with Tahoes instead for the up-front cost savings.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Standard Hybrid. They’ll sell a standard 3.3 minus the Hybrid for the ones that are cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        For the ones that are cheap? The base price for the Explorer Interceptor has risen $6k to $7k. Add $3k for the hybrid.

        My state was able to get an Explorer for about $26k. Now the base price is $32k-$33k.

        Chrysler will be seeing a lot of business because of this. Minnesota State Patrol has also switched away from Ford. $21k for a HEMI Charger.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Hybrid is a ~$3,000 option on the Interceptor, it is not standard.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Wrong!

        https://www.ford.com/police-vehicles/hybrid-utility/

        “The simple fact is this: Police vehicles spend a lot of time idling on the job. That’s what makes the standard hybrid powertrain on the Police Interceptor Utility ideal for law enforcement. On-board electrical equipment can be powered using the lithium-ion hybrid battery, allowing the gasoline engine to shut off – running only intermittently to charge the battery. The standard hybrid AWD drivetrain provides improved handling stability and traction in all driving conditions.”

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    While overall i’m liking it more, but it’s not love yet. But I do love those rims on the ST. And the horizontal screen looks much better than the vertical one in previous pics.

  • avatar
    slap

    Edge ST – a CUV with enough power so it can safely merge into traffic with fat Americans on board.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Both the Ford Explorer and Kia Telluride look 2x to 3x better/newer than the lame Clackilac XT6 (aka Chevy Traverse Lambda) outside AND inside (the Explorer literally looks twice as expensive as the Chevrolac XTraverse6).

    Kill Cadillac or sell it to the Chinese. Fire Barra, Carlisle, Ammann and Reuss, and also kill Buick while they are at it.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I like how much tire they put on the ST. Much better than the current Edge Sport and ST variants. Maybe Ford realized that people are buying CUVs in part to deal with horrible infrastructure.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “Maybe Ford realized that people are buying CUVs in part to deal with horrible infrastructure.”

      Somebody’s got to be the first to institutionally recognize that.

      I hope the pendulum predictably swings the other way and we get a tundra tire bandwagon!

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        The truth of the matter is, many CUVs are no better than their sedan platform-mates at dealing with bad roads. Wheel/tire packages aside, looking at sizes of ball joints and control arm bushings and such, often times the CUV has the same size components to deal with more weight and more unsprung weight (larger wheels). The CUVs often also have stiffer suspensions to deal with higher center of gravity, which makes bad roads more unpleasant to drive over. I had a rental Optima LX with 16 inch alloys and 65 series tires and it was absolutely exemplary over beat up pavement, one of the best cars I’ve experienced in that regard. My in laws’ ’13 rav4 Limited is easily one of the worst. For outright durability, a BOF SUV/truck with meaty tires is still the only way to go. Either that or an old Corolla, the combination of low weight and the freakishly-oversized balljoints Toyota put on those means you’ll almost never be doing suspension work outside of a set of struts once in the car’s lifetime.

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    Is this a mild hybrid, or is it a plug-in? I can’t find any specifications on the battery pack size anywhere.

  • avatar
    0Gravity

    Is anyone torn over black wheels? I’m on the fence. Most of the time I think they look really cool, especially on a performance vehicle. But then I see another truck-bro driving a murdered out rig and wonder if this is a trend that’s already not aging well. I hope there will be a “regular” wheel option for the ST builds for comparison. Probably there will be since the Edge ST also has two options.

  • avatar
    Lefty54

    I am definitely interested in the Explorer Hybrid. Wonder how much it will cost and when it will be available?

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Summer-ish.

      All versions are planned for launch.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      On the Interceptor the Hybrid is a $3,300 option, at my state’s contract price anyway. However that comes with a 3.3 V6 standard that isn’t available in the Explorer. My bet is it comes in under $3K over the base EcoBoost. Production starts in June so you should be able to buy ont in July-Aug or order it now.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Wrong.

        Hybrid is standard, per Ford.

        https://www.ford.com/police-vehicles/hybrid-utility/

        3.3 V-6 is “Available”. 3.0TT is “Available”.

        Quit posting garbage.

  • avatar
    JoDa

    The sloping roof is a joke in a SUV but not a dealbreaker here.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I like the ST, not as much as the Aviator, but better then the standard issue Explorer

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, if you’re gonna build a dull, plodding CUV, you might as well make it less dull and plodding, I suppose.

    Golf clap to Ford.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    An Aston Martin DB4GT was a genuine GT machine in 1960, a continent-devouring machine for the roads of the day, 300 odd horsepower.

    GT sounded good to the ears of modern marketing man, so Ford UK brought out the Cortina GT in 1963, a 78.5 hp (mind that 0.5 hp) tire- shredding continent-demolishing tin box.

    Soon Ford USA caught on and GTs multiplied like rabbits.

    Mercedes decided Coup-aye sounded good for a four-door in 2009. A Coupe is by definition a two-door. Mercedes sniffed in derision at “that” old convention. So now they make two and four door Coupes depending on what market niche they are trying to fill. The badge wh*res couldn’t care less anyway.

    Ford chose the ST moniker for its sharp handling sedan cars one step below the b*lls-out RS machines, then decided to stop making cars for North America except Mustang, still available as a GT but not ST. So the ST moniker is now applied to lumbering crossovers with uprated engines and shocks. Trips to Costco will never have been quicker, except for that cut-and-trust courier in, what is that anyway?, yes indeed, a 2009 Corolla in warp drive!

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Great job Ford. Keeping the styling Explorer and going back to RWD. Definitely NOT an SUV that “blends in”, everyone will know what it is. The Ford upswing just keeps on keeping on. “Golf clap”

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Too big for me, but I like it for someone else.

    What I’m REALLY interested in is the hybrid system. Nautilus Hybrid pretty please? Hmm. Could that replace the 2.3EB in the Rustang?

  • avatar
    0Gravity

    Can anyone clarify for me if the Explorer is true 4WD or AWD in the traditional sense of each. My understanding is that with 4WD there is always one powered drive wheel in the front at the same as there’s one powered drive wheel in the back. So two wheels powered to the road at the same time. AWD by contrast is only one drive wheel alternating between the front or back when slippage is detected (rear starts to slip, power shifts to front axle). I’m guessing that the explorer is the latter, the AWD type. But maybe my understanding is based on how it used to be done, and maybe today’s AWD can put power to more than one wheel at a time. Thanks in advance for anyone that cares to explain. Cars have come a long ways since my 4WD manual 4Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I can just about guarantee you this explorer won’t be available with any sort of “hard locking” center diff feature, and forget about a low range. I suspect it will be a simple viscous coupling going up to the front, they’re cheap and easy to control for smooth engagement and power transfer.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Ugly and boring. Another opportunity for Ford to bring genuine innovation and excitement to this field of SUVs but, like the Ranger, they opted for the path of least resistance.

    But hey, at least you have an iPad knockoff taped vertically to the dash

  • avatar
    jatz

    “Another opportunity for Ford to bring genuine innovation and excitement to this field of SUVs”

    Engine fires aren’t exciting enough for ya?


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