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

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

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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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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