"This new generation of Explorer recognizes that every family - and every driver - is unique", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president of product development and purchasing. Ford has a few months to answer those and roll out more info, as the 2020 Explorer lineup reaches dealerships this summer. The powertrain pairs a 3.3-liter V-6 with a 1.5-kwh lithium-ion battery pack, a 10-speed modular transmission, and an electric motor. As Ford's SUV sales leader, Explorer will set the pace for the rest of Ford's utility lineup, which continues growing this year with an all-new Escape - and more.
The newest additions to the all-new Explorer family - built at Ford Chicago Assembly Plant - will join base, XLT, Limited and Platinum models in showrooms. 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. The 10-speed automatic transmission, also used in the regular Explorer, is similar to the unit already in use in Ford's Mustang and F-150, so it should have no problem shuffling the output to the ST's standard all-wheel drive. The company says it's estimating a 143-mph top speed. Meanwhile, it also has an EPA-estimated range of more than 500 miles (804 km), although that highly impressive number is strictly for the rear-wheel drive model, as actual range will vary.
To get the most out of the hot rod Explorer, a Sport mode can be engaged for more aggressive throttle mapping, an altered gearbox shift schedule that will hold onto gears longer, a weightier steering feel and louder engine note.
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Despite the name, the two boxes are in fact bright orange, with reflective stripes to make them easier for search teams to spot. Introduced in the late 1950s, black boxes help explain almost 90% of all crashes, according to aviation experts.
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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.
The automaker calls the new Explorer ST a "genuine Ford Performance vehicle", and it replaces the outgoing Explorer's Sport trim.
Ford boldly calls the Explorer ST "the fastest three-row SUV under $60,000", and it packs upgraded brakes, springs, and dampers. In today's announcement, Ford added that the Explorer Hybrid's lithium-ion battery pack will be liquid-cooled and fitted below the second-row seats in a way that preserves passenger and cargo space.