By on February 15, 2019

Image: Ford

Ford’s 2020 Explorer dons a new platform and familiar skin when it goes on sale this summer, and buyers looking for peak performance from their midsize SUV had best dig deeper for funds.

Compared to the 2019 Explorer Sport, which carries beneath its hood a 365-horsepower Ecoboost motor, fans of the 2020 Explorer ST stand to shell out an extra eight grand and change for their extra power.

This info comes by way of CarsDirect, which got its mitts on an Explorer order guide. Ford’s promise of a barely-changed entry price was indeed kept, with the base model 2020 Explorer stickering for $33,860 after destination — a $400 climb from 2019’s entry point.

The base model represents a bargain, as not only do buyers gain rear-drive architecture and revamped styling, they also get Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 safety features as standard equipment. Base power comes from a 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder generating 285 hp, mated to a 10-speed automatic.

But you didn’t come to TTAC to read about value-packed base models. No one ever does that. You came here because your Fiesta hot hatch is getting old and you’re thinking of swapping its ST badging with that of a (much) larger vehicle. While Explorer buyers gain power over 2019’s Explorer Sport, it’s a bit of a climb from the former sporty Explorer’s pricing.

CarsDirect claims the 2020 Explorer ST carries an after-destination price of $55,835, or $8,115 more than this year’s Explorer Sport. For that price, buyers gain a better-handling Explorer with 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 — an engine found in more prestigious Lincoln vehicles. The 2019 Explorer Sport’s 3.5-liter Ecoboost is rated at 365 hp and 350 lb-ft.

But that’s not the ceiling for the Explorer, regardless of model year. The top-flight Platinum model, priced at $55,260 for 2019, grows in cost to $59,345 for 2020. That’s a hike of $4,085. Options will take you solidly above the $60k marker.

As Ford attempts to squeeze more profit from its new-generation utilities, the bulk of the buying public will still congregate towards volume trims. With Ford, that means XLT. At $37,770, the 2020 Explorer XLT retails for $2,275 more than the 2019 model. Going the Limited route — a trim positioned below ST — will cost $49,225, or $5,365 more than the present model year.

One wonders how difficult it will be to find a base model Explorer on your local dealer’s lot.

[Images: Ford]

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74 Comments on “Ford Explorer ST to Pack a Sizeable Premium...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The interesting thing is if the Lincoln with the equivalent engine will actually be cheaper MSRP v. MSRP.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Sixty grand for an Explorer. Ye gads.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      My thoughts exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I’m waiting for the ST trim to come to the Navigator.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      As a foreigner in US, I always wondered why American cars are cheap inside and out. It all rests on American mentality: big portion for $10.99. If it’s $15.99 for smaller portion of a better quality/presentation – no go. This is why American province looks like manure: walmarts and others corporations, and desolation/dilapidation.
      American car companies failed because of being subject to American mentality. At least in big part.

      What’s a $60k in 2019? It’s about $9k in 1970 dollars. Should this Explorer cost $40k and be of same quality as malaise era cars? Stop being ridiculous

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        “This is why American province looks like manure”

        Andc yet you stay here. Are you a fly?

        • 0 avatar
          SatelliteView

          I’m a foreigner from a 2nd world country. I stay in suburbia that looks like it’s 1965 America. I’ve driven a lot through province though. I’m glad Trump got elected. Hopefully he gets a 2nd term, and middle America regains some of its former glory.

          But as far as American cars being manure for a long time… We’ve got people right here wishing it costs $10-20 grand less….. Blind to history…

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I’d consider the explorer a midsize crossover, so with that in mind $50-60k is too much when I can’t even get a decent V8 option. Human nature is to want the most, with money involved humans want the most for their money. The rest of the world may build better interiors on smaller cars but that’s due to local size restrictions. I can daily drive a Semi truck in the US and no one would ever bat an eye, so give me the biggest vehicle for the best price.

            Your crazy if you think Ford isn’t making $20-30k on these high trim trucks. With a V6 and unibody construction they have plenty of margin. For $50-60k the obvious answer is a Tahoe or Expedition and get a body on frame SUV instead of a cheap unibody setup like the explorer.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        We will pay for a quality meal but most don’t want to pay to have it better presented.

    • 0 avatar

      LOL. I just spent less for a Mercedes, with a 385 hp six and fancy-schmancy badges. Ford’s on drugs.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I was starting to think that this new Explorer posed a serious threat to Fiat’s continued ability to sell creaky old Grand Cherokees, but then I read the pricing and drivetrain options for the new Ford.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Economic times are great! Demand for uniquely spectacular vehicles never higher. Money more readily available for more people. They’ll sell every single one they choose to make.

    I was surprised to learn some time ago that GM’s entire 2019 production of the Bison sold out in record time.

    Look at FCA’s line of HiPo vehicles. How do they spell S U C C E S S ?

  • avatar
    NECarGuy

    I currently drive a aftermarket tuned Edge Sport and was excited about the new Explorer ST. At that price I will definitely be considering other options.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Why is Limited positioned above Platinum trim for trucks but below it for SUVs? The Expedition is the same way.

    Such a pointlessly confusing system.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    The above pictures of the Explorer are athletically handsome, to me. The size and price are out of my range but as an enthusiast, I’m happy for higher performance options. Pay to play. I hope for Ford’s sake, their new ST lines sell well.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Honestly, that base engine sounds … pretty compelling.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    So in 2020 when I see a black Explorer I’ll know its a cop.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “the 2020 Explorer ST carries an after-destination price of $55,835”

    That seems about right. A Durango R/T AWD starts at $46K and a Durango SRT starts at $63k. The ST’s performance should be in between those two.

  • avatar
    RSF

    Ford won’t have any trouble selling these. Even the ancient Platinum Explorer’s are all over the roads where I live.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Makes sense.

    The fleet (police) versions of the Explorer are increasing around $6,000.

    As a result at least one state patrol has gone away from Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No they are not, unless someone is trying to be greedy. The state negotiated bid for 2020 Utility Interceptors went up $3406 vs the 2019 and is still $1448 cheaper than the 2019 Tahoe.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        Yes they are. Fl state bid, IL state bid, and MN state bid pricing all shows a $6k-$7k increase from the base 2019 to base 2020 model.

        That is why MN state patrol has shifted away from Ford.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Well then the dealers in those states are gouging. The pricing I gave for my state was current as of Fri. Unless they are claiming the hybrid is “standard” and you get a credit for the NA V6 power. In my state the Hybrid is a $3302 option. So yeah $6700 more but the fuel savings for most depts will more than make up for that in lower fuel costs.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            Ford has announced the hybrid is standard and they will build them as hybrids unless they are ordered without it, just like you can order the twin turbo unit.

            All the 2020 police units built thus far are hybrid units.

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

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            No not gouging. Ford is the one who is charging an insane amount for a mediocre SUV.

            My state pays $26,096 for a N/A AWD Explorer now. That same model in 2020 (3.3L and AWD) will cost $32k-$33k.

            2019 Pricing: http://www.mmd.admin.state.mn.us/pdf/A-175(5).PdF

            Scroll to the last page. There is a link to an Excel spreadsheet. You’ll find the price in there for a 2019 Explorer.

            Florida pays $27,615 for their 2019 Explorers (they get the 500A package where MN does not):

            https://www.dms.myflorida.com/business_operations/state_purchasing/state_contracts_and_agreements/state_term_contracts/motor_vehicles/pricing

            This from Illinois. 2020 Explorer 3.3L non hybrid is $32K (or exactly as I said…$6K more than the last Explorer)

            But their regular Explorer fleet pricing (could not find police so add a grand or two) is $24,987.

            http://www.nwmc-cog.org/Suburban-Purchasing-Cooperative/Sport-Utility-Vehicles.aspx

            So, like I said, the new Explorer is outrageously more expensive than the last generation and causing some departments to move away from Ford all together.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    With Ford pricing like that, keeping “premium” Lincoln around makes less and less sense.

  • avatar
    0Gravity

    If you want those snazzy black wheels and red brake calipers, that’s an extra “Street Pack” or “Track Pack” price on top of base ST price. Still….take my money

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    Add another 10% above the car price for sales tax, fees, tags, etc…

    I will probably go with the Aviator Reserve. It has the things I want and just a little bit more then the Explorer Platinum with all the options.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Fully loaded Ford Explorer ST – $60K.

    Fully loaded Taurus SHO before cash on the hood – $48K.

    Will the Explorer ST need $4K on the hood and $6K to $10K in dealer discounts to move off the lot?

    Nope. Any questions on why OEMs are killing off sedans? Any questions on why dealers don’t want to stock sedans?

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    So now the Big 2.5 drop new models with the expectation that there will be deals right out of the gate?

    They must be hiring over at Ford Credit because they will need more people to figure out how to write the subprime paper. Yikes.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I like it, but I still would have the Aviator, looks like they’ll be about the same price

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    These will sell. No other non-luxury model with a decent third row has this kind of power except maybe the Durango, though that’s not really apples to apples. If I could have waited another year (6 months for release, 6 months for decent discounts) this would be in my driveway.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    That’s an expensive V6 crossover, you can get into a V8 crossover over at FCA for a much more reasonable price.

    Also what the hell is the point in (what looks like) 2 piston calibers painted red on a V6 crossover? Is Ford trying to get a head start before the 4th owner gets into the driver seat?

    • 0 avatar
      mittencuh

      V8 versus V6 is totally irrelevant to 99.9% of the population. Why do you think there is only one V6 midsize sedans now?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Judging by the auto show I just left and increasing number of products posting engine size on the exterior of the vehicle I would say a good portion of the population cares. Now GM advertises V8 displacement alongside Ram, Nissan, and 3/4+ Fords trucks.

        Sure old people buying crossovers tend not to care so much but when your trying to sell a product on the premise of being “sporty” a V6 is laughable.

        No one buying one of the current midsize FWD sedans cares about the car they are driving, else they wouldn’t put up with the penalty box drivetrains almost all of those cars carry.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Seems like Ford has hired Johan de Nysschen. How else to explain the very aspirational MSRP for the Explorer.

    Yet another overpriced SUV with middling quality. I get that SUVs are hot with buyers/leasees, but buyers want value. The pricing on the Explorer is anything but.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      You mean sticking a cheap imitation iPad on the dash with some Scotch tape and gum isn’t a premium detail?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      @jkross22 as I posted above – it’s all about the Benjamins baby!

      A fully loaded Taurus SHO from a performance standpoint will likely do everything the Explorer ST does, and will likely do a lot of it better. But a fully loaded Taurus SHO is about $48K sticker, before $3.75K of cash on the hood, and whatever the dealer is adding to move them.

      The Explorer ST loaded is at $60K, won’t come with cash on the hood, and because it is the top trim, likely won’t get heavily discounted.

      Do the math man.

  • avatar
    GM JUNK

    This will sell, and sell a lot more numbers then any of the outdated junk out there right now.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Somebody we know created a new user name. I was wondering what happen to his posts. I am guessing he got banned.

  • avatar

    Nice vehicle, but avoid the turns. I don’t believe any large SUV can maneuver with even a 1990 Pontaic 6000. For this reason I avoid SUVs at all costs.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The A-body reference brought back a memory from about 3 years ago where I was driving my buddies 1995 Buick Century station wagon that he just installed new P195/75R14 tires on. We were driving on the highway going around 70 and an Explorer of 2014-2015 vintage was trying to pass us on the right. That is until we hit a steep curve and he almost flipped the damn thing leaning all over the place tires howling. The old A-body actually took the curve better than I thought it would.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Aren’t big HP engines in daily drivers like having a big schlong on Lesbos? Where you gonna use it?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      As far as my SS sedan goes I flirt with redline every time I drive it. A good power train need not go to waste.

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        “I can’t get my car out of second gear.”

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          No usually flirt with red on 1st 2nd and 3rd; one time in 4th but only under a perfectly legal circumstance… I don’t see how that makes a difference, I’m using every last HP the engine has, and starting to get the itch to do headers, intake, tune, etc.

          This crazy idea that you can’t make use of 400-500 HP on the street baffles me now that I have it.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            This site is a good place to learn respect for certain people with viewpoints and preferences opposite mine.

            Except about the absolute need for snow tires in North Flyover; no tolerance there.

  • avatar
    jfb43

    Too rich for my blood, for sure. But as others have said, it’ll sell.

    This, in my opinion, is the best looking SUV on the market and people will pay for that. I think it now looks better than any Land Rover (which most people think of as the best looking SUV) which is way more expensive. This has the features, it has the proper RWD layout now, and it looks premium. It has the power of the Explorer name behind it.

    The question is, how close is too close between this and the Aviator? Lincoln needs to differentiate itself with different engines/powertrains, and this new Explorer essentially bridges the gap. I don’t think the perception of luxury is enough for Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      You think this Explorer is good looking?

      It looks like the last one (which was as boring as cold oatmeal) with a joker face for a grille.

      Ford has the laziest stylists in the industry.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Most people I have shown this new RWD based Explorer said it looked too similar to the previous one. Looking at the above side shot I agree. Despite the price increases this will continue selling because Sport Utility! All joking aside most folks that get these lease them and typically go for the higher trim levels so the sticker matters little to them. For those that purchase this thing they will get a dose of sticker shock.


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