Ford revealed the 2020 Explorer at a special reveal event for employees, fans, dealers, suppliers, government officials, and media last week at the Ford Field in Detroit.
The sixth generation Explorer received a complete redesign in which it made the move to a rear wheel drive powertrain. By doing such, the engine and transmission placement was adjusted and resulted in better weight distribution for better driving and handling characteristics.
“It’s lighter, leaner and stronger – sportier and more athletic, with improved on- and off-road capability,” Ford said.
During the reveal event, Prince EA – a spoken word artist, delivered a live speech to help inspire people to get out and explore.
Following the debut, Ford announced a performance variant had been created by the Ford Performance team, the Explorer ST.
According to Ford, the Explorer ST uses a tuned 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine said to produce around 400 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque. Its mated to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission and comes standard with four-wheel drive and selectable traction control. A top speed target for track drivers stands at 143 mph.
“We designed it to be an ST from the beginning,” said Ed Krenz, Ford Performance chief functional engineer. “There’s no mistaking its ST DNA. 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.”
An ST Street Pack or ST Track Pack are also available options with the Explorer ST. Both options come with 21-inch aluminum wheels, differing levels of performance brakes, and feature larger vented rotors, red-painted brake calipers with stainless steel pistons, and larger brake pads.
The drive mode system, controlled by a rotary dial on the center console, lets drivers shift pick between Normal, Slippery, Trail, Deep Snow/Sand, Tow/Haul, Eco, and Sport modes. When Sport Mode is engaged, the steering system tightens for sportier reaction, the gas pedal responds more aggressively, gears hold longer and shift quicker, and an enhanced engine note plays through the cabin.
Inside, the Explorer ST comes standard with a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster. Subtle cues exclusive to Explorer ST include a flat-bottomed, heated steering wheel embossed with an ST logo and unique floor mats. Leather sport bucket seats complete the sporty feel.
Other styling cues to denote the Explorer ST include a black mesh grille insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside details, roof-rack side rails, and skid plate elements.
For more information, see Ford Motor Company.