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2020 Ford Explorer ST and Explorer Hybrid: First Look

  • The 2020 Ford Explorer range adds ST and Hybrid models.
  • The Explorer ST is powered by 400-hp 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6.
  • The Explorer Hybrid has a 500-mile estimated cruising range.
  • The 2020 Explorer lineup will go on sale this Summer.

Ford has released key details on two all-new models in its expanded 2020 Explorer lineup at the North American International Auto Show. Engineered by the Ford Performance Team, the 2020 Ford Explorer ST is targeted to bring an engaging driving experience along the lines of high-end European performance SUVs from BMW, Range Rover, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid is the first of a new generation of hybrids using a liquid-cooled lithiuim-ion battery built into the floor beneath the rear seats.

What Performance Hardware Does the ST Have?

First and foremost, the 2020 Explorer ST gets a tweaked 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 rated at 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. Ford has track-tested the ST to 143 miles per hour. The ST comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission and standard 4-wheel drive for maximum traction. ST Street Pack and ST Track Pack options add meaty 21-in tires, larger vented brake rotors and red-painted calipers. A driver-selectable Sport mode quickens throttle response and shifts, holds lower gears longer, quickens steering response and enhances the throaty engine sound in the ST’s interior. A Class III trailer-tow package is included too.

What Sets the ST Apart Visually?

Blackout trim accents outside and perforated leather sport bucket seats, a 12.3-in all-digital instrument cluster and a flat-bottom sport steering wheel finish the ST off inside.

What Technology Does the Explorer Hybrid Have?

The first-ever Ford Explorer Hybrid features a 3.3-liter V6 teamed with electric drive propulsion and working through an all-new 10-speed modular hybrid transmission. Ford has not disclosed details of the system, but there will be both rear-wheel-drive and 4WD versions available. EPA estimated city and highway fuel mileage ratings have not been released, however, Ford indicates it is targeting a 500-mile range for the RWD model between required fuel stops. Ford says that cargo space will not be reduced in the Hybrid because the lithium-ion battery has been located under the rear seats.

What Other Equipment Does the Hybrid Have?

The Explorer Hybrid will be available in an upscale Limited trim. Standard amenities will include a 14-speaker B&O premium sound system, power front seats, a wireless phone charging pad and accent-stitched leather seats with micro perforation. Also onboard is active noise cancellation and Ford’s excellent C-Pilot360 Assist+ suite of driver-assist technologies.

How Much and When?

Mums the word on price, but expect Ford to be competitive in both segments. The 2020 Ford Explorer ST and Explorer Hybrid will hit dealerships in calendar year 2019.

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