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2020 Ford Explorer Gains High-Performance ST and Fuel-Sipping Hybrid Models

Making the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer lineup this nameplate’s broadest ever, two special models are joining the fold: a high-performance ST variant and a fuel-sipping hybrid.

The sixth-generation of Ford’s ever-popular family SUV is all new from the platform up. Available in rear- or all-wheel drive, it promises to offer more interior room, amenities, features and refinement than its predecessor.

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The track-tuned ST version should be the most entertaining Explorer ever offered. Inside and out, these vehicles feature unique styling elements including a black mesh grille, special liftgate trim, new sill plates and more. They also come with a standard Class III trailer tow package.

Motivation is provided by a sprightly 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6, one that’s estimated to deliver 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. Aiding acceleration, as well as helping enable a top speed of 143 miles an hour is a standard 10-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is also included at no extra cost.

The Explorer ST is available with two special options groups: the Street Pack and Track Pack. Both come with 21-inch wheels as well as larger brake rotors and pads, plus red-colored calipers.

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Hybrid models feature a 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine. Augmented by various electronics, they should deliver a combined system output of 318 horsepower. But outright performance obviously isn’t the focus here — efficiency is.

Other parts of this powertrain include a 10-speed modular hybrid transmission and a specially designed, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack. It mounts underneath the second-row seats where it doesn’t affect passenger or cargo space.

Rear-wheel-drive versions of the 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid are estimated to provide more than 500 miles between fill-ups so frequent gas stops are a thing of the past. These will be offered in Limited trim, which means they’ll come standard with active noise cancellation for a quieter interior; Ford Co-Pilot360, the automaker’s suite of advanced driver-assistance technologies; leather seating surfaces; a 14-speaker B&O sound system; wireless phone charging; and even 10-way power-adjustable front bucket seats.

ST and Hybrid trims will join the other Explorer models in the 2020 lineup, including base, XLT, Limited and Platinum. This all-new utility vehicle will be built in Chicago, Illinois, and is slated to go on sale this summer.

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