Ford Explorer ST to Pack a Sizeable Premium

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford explorer st to pack a sizeable premium

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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  • Jatz Jatz on Feb 16, 2019

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

    • See 3 previous
    • Jatz Jatz on Feb 17, 2019

      @Hummer 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.

  • Jfb43 Jfb43 on Feb 17, 2019

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Feb 20, 2019

      @EBFlex 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.

  • Jim Bonham Thanks.
  • Luke42 I just bought a 3-row Tesla Model Y.If Toyota made a similar vehicle, I would have bought that instead. I'm former Prius owner, and would have bought a Prius-like EV if it were available.Toyota hasn't tried to compete with the Model Y. GM made the Bolt EUV, and Ford made the Mach-E. Tesla beat them all fair and square, but Toyota didn't even try.[Shrug]
  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.
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