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All-New 2020 Ford Explorer ST Is Ford’s Most Powerful SUV Ever

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Ford Explorer Hybrid also revealed with a very impressive range.

Just before the 2019 Detroit Auto Show kicked off, Ford lifted the wraps off the all-new redesigned Explorer, which now features rear-wheel drive. Only two powertrains were detailed at the time, but now the Blue Oval has unveiled the new ST and hybrid variants that complete the 2020 Explorer line-up. Other available trims include XLT, Limited, and Platinum.

As Ford continues to expand its SUV ST performance range following the surprise launch of the sporty Edge ST, the automaker claims the all-new Explorer ST is "the most powerful and fun-to-drive Ford SUV ever." Under the hood is a specially tuned 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that's estimated to produce 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, enabling the Explorer ST to hit a target top speed of 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."

Power is fed through a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive with selectable traction control. As standard, the Explorer ST rides on 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Optional upgrades include an ST Street Pack and an ST Track Pack, which both have 21-inch aluminum wheels with differing levels of performance brakes, larger vented rotors, red brake calipers with stainless steel pistons, and larger brake pads for better stopping power. Like the Edge ST, the Explorer ST includes a sport mode that tightens the steering system, makes the throttle response more aggressive, increases the gear shift speed, and enhances the engine note.

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Visually, the Explorer ST is distinguished with its black mesh grille insert, lift gate applique, lower bodyside details, roof-rack side rails, and skid plate elements. Explorer badging also stretches across the front edge of the hood.

Inside, a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster comes as standard, along with a heated steering wheel embossed with an ST logo and unique floor mats. Leather sport bucket seats, City Silver accent stitching, and an ST logo complete the cabin's sporty feel. As standard, the Explorer ST comes with a Class III Trailer Tow Package with Cargo Management System and Active Park Assist 2.0, takes control of the steering wheel, gas pedal, brake pedal, and gear shifter during parallel and perpendicular parking maneuvers.

Joining the ST model is the new Explorer Hybrid, which features a 3.3-liter hybrid powertrain projected to produce combined 318 horsepower and an EPA-estimated range of more than 500 miles between gas station fill-ups for the rear-wheel-drive model. The powertrain is mated to an all-new 10-speed modular hybrid transmission. Unlike previous hybrids, a specially designed liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is built into the Explorer chassis below the second-row seats to preserve cargo and passenger space.

Available in Limited edition trim, the Explorer Hybrid comes with Active Noise Cancellation, Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ driver-assist technologies, leather seats with micro-perforation and accent stitching, second-row heated seats, a 14-speaker B&O premium sound system, wireless phone charging pad, and 10-way power adjustable driver and front passenger seats. Pricing hasn't been announced, but the standard 2020 Ford Explorer starts at $32,765, which is only $400 more than the outgoing model despite packing a lot of new tech.