All with a simple $825 upgrade.
Ford recently announced a new performance upgrade for the Bronco 2.3-liter, and for $825, it sounds like quite a deal. Power is boosted from 300 to 330 horsepower, while torque is bumped up to 385 lb-ft. Now, it's the turn of the Explorer ST, with the manufacturer offering a Ford Performance calibration kit for the sporty SUV.
As standard, the Explorer ST is rather rapid. The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine produces 400 hp and 415 lb-ft, which is enough power to hurl this 4,701-pound family hauler to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds or so. The automaker's latest upgrade should shave a few seconds off that time, thanks to a generous serving of extra power.
Ford claims the upgrade brings an additional 30 horses at 5,000 rpm, with 430 hp (peak power) produced at 6,000 rpm. The torque figure benefits too, with an additional 25-35 lb-ft arriving between 2,000-4,000 rpm. That will certainly come in handy when passing slower-moving traffic on the highway. Peak torque is now rated at 467 lb-ft and kicks in at 3,500 rpm.
As with the Bronco, the part is available in both Canada and the United States, with the exception of California. Unfortunately, the upgrade cannot be legally used or registered in the Golden State. While that's a shame, customers in the remaining 49 states can rest in the fact that the Explorer's reliability should remain unaffected.
If something is to go wrong, the upgrade is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile warranty. In order to enjoy this peace of mind, owners have to install the part at a Ford dealership or via an ASE/Red Seat certified technician. Like the Bronco, this upgrade also provides value for money - it costs just $825.
That's not exactly cheap, but a factory-backed upgrade with these results is hard to come by. It should turn the school run into a more riveting journey and shave precious seconds off the weekly grocery store dash, too. It's entirely possible to squeeze even more power out of the Explorer ST, but we wouldn't recommend that if you want to keep that warranty intact.
The standard model is a fine family vehicle, and manages to inject some panache and excitement into a fairly dull segment. We can't think of another three-row SUV that provides close to this much performance and luxury for the price other than, perhaps, the more outdated Dodge Durango R/T with its thirsty Hemi V8. A modestly-specced example of the ST will set you back less than $55,000 - far less than what the premium brands demand.
But Ford may not have the arena to itself for much longer. Hyundai has previously hinted at a Palisade N and, frankly, it looks rather excellent. Given the performance subsidiary's excellent products, it could be a fine addition to the range.