Ford Explorer ST, Hybrid

The Explorer ST is Ford's first large performance SUV

The Explorer ST is Ford's first large performance SUV

Ford will offer both ST Street Pack and ST Track Pack upgrades, with 21-inch aluminum wheels and red-painted brake calipers, and differing levels of performance brakes. Like other versions of the 2020 Ford Explorer, all-wheel-drive is available for the hybrid.

The redesigned Explorer will begin arriving in showrooms later this year.

Ford isn't talking performance numbers yet but is quick to say the Explorer ST will be quicker than a Range Rover Sport HSE with the 380-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6.

In its Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid form, which will be different in weight and perhaps output versus consumer versions, the 2020 Hybrid turned 0-60 mph times of 7.3 seconds and 0-100 mph times of 17.7 seconds, with a top speed of 137 mph, as tested by the Michigan State Police.

Explorer ST models feature a Sport mode with remapped throttle and transmission programs, recalibrated electronic power steering, and synthetic engine sounds in the cabin.

Visually, Explorer ST stands apart from the rest of the lineup courtesy of a black mesh grille insert, liftgate applique, lower bodyside details, roof-rack side rails and skid plate elements. The 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and towing package are standard, too. Leather sport bucket seats with micro-perforations, City Silver accent stitching and ST logo complete the sporty feel. Suspension is stiffened up, and the brakes are slightly upgraded.

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.

Ford claims the Explorer Sport has a top speed of 143 miles per hour, is faster than the Range Rover Sport with its supercharged V-6 engine, and is the fastest three-row SUV under $60,000. Ford has previously anticipated that the Explorer Hybrid would return 24 mpg, EPA combined, although its final ratings might land somewhat higher than that. The engine bolts to a quicker-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters that routes power to all four wheels.

The small lithium-ion battery pack is mounted under the rear passenger seat in the second row, which means none of the Explorer's 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space is lost by opting for the most-efficient Explorer.

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