Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Ford Explorer ST with 400 hp and Explorer Hybrid revealed in Detroit

Ford Explorer ST with 400 hp and Explorer Hybrid revealed in Detroit

All-wheel drive is standard, and the lone transmission continues to be the 10-speed automatic.

It's been less than a week since the 2020 Ford Explorer made its formal debut, and the Blue Oval's already expanding the crossover SUV's lineup.

Explorer ST also comes standard with a Class III Trailer Tow Package with Cargo Management System and Active Park Assist 2.0, Ford's new driver-assist parking system that takes control of the steering wheel, gas pedal, brake pedal and gear shifter during parallel and perpendicular parking maneuvers with a simple touch of a button. For the sake of highly unscientific comparisons, Land Rover says the Range Rover Sport runs from zero to 60 miles per hour in a claimed 6.8 seconds, a figure the Explorer ST should have no problem beating based on our previous experiences with the engine. The company says it's estimating a 143-mph top speed. It's the most powerful Explorer with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 making 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, and it's even more torquey than the non-hybrid Lincoln Aviator that shares the engine. "There's no mistaking its ST DNA". Ford said the hybrid can tug up to 5,000 pounds (down just 600 pounds from the Explorer's max tow rating of 5,600 pounds), which is 1,500 pounds more than a Highlander Hybrid can haul.

Options include the ST Street Pack and ST Track Pack, both of which come with 21-inch aluminum wheels, red brake calipers, and their own individual brake upgrades.

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Visually, the ST sets itself apart from the regular SUV with a black mesh grille insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside details, roof-rack side rails, and unique skid plate elements. A flat-bottomed heated steering wheel embossed with an ST logo, as well as unique floor mats, are subtle ST-exclusive cues.

Ford is reinventing the standard for what a hybrid can be, and this year is introducing an entirely new generation of hybrids that bring out the best in hybrid vehicles with great performance and the freedom to go further.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the new Explorer Hybrid pairs a 3.3-liter engine with a 1o-speed modular hybrid transmission. To the latter point, the liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is located below the second row of seats and doesn't impinge on interior space. Like other versions of the 2020 Ford Explorer, all-wheel-drive is available for the hybrid. Ford has previously anticipated that the Explorer Hybrid would return 24 mpg, EPA combined, although its final ratings might land somewhat higher than that.

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