We officially live in the age of displacement replacement. The old hot rodding adage that has been used so many millions of times just doesn’t really have the same teeth as it once did. Why? Because this 4,700 SUV with a little turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine will hustle the quarter mile in the 13.90s right off the showroom floor and it’ll do it with the everyone in comfort, leather seats, and an exhaust note that is gutsy but not annoying or over the top. The engine makes its 400hp the modern way.
The Ford Explorer ST starts at $54,750 and the model we had didn’t come with a price on the supplied window sticker but we can assume that with optional equipment like the Rapid Red metallic paint, the twin panel moonroof, the premium technology package (huge touchscreen, 14-speaker stereo, etc), the ST Street Pack with performance brakes and a few other tid bits, the asking price on this guy would be verging on the $60,000 range.
We liked the size of the Explorer. Not because it was massive but because it really does seem to meet all the needs of a “full size” family while not feeling or driving like a battle ship. The acceleration is awesome and the short gearing in the transmission gets this thing out of the hole in shockingly quick fashion. While the 13.9 quarter mile elapsed time is fun but not overly wild, the 5.3-second 0-60 time will get your attention and create plenty of smiles leaving stoplights. It hauls down low.
The styling is cool. The angular lines of the body are offset by the curvaceous nature of the front and rear fascias. The stance and wheels also make this Explorer ST stand out in a crowd. Note the dual exhaust tips on either side. As mentioned previously, the ST makes some good growl and the noise (for a V6) is pretty pleasing. When in sport mode the active exhaust barks and sounds like any enthusiast would want. No, it does not have the base of a V8 but it also doesn’t sound like a bread truck or an Italian exotic. The engineers who did the exhaust tuning on this ST did the job right.
The interior is comfortable and spacious. Rear captain’s style chairs made the passenger experience more pleasant for those riding in the back and up front the seats were nice and deep with some good side support. The funny part is that while the acceleration of the ST is blistering, this is not a vehicle that you are going to need a lot of lateral g-force support for. Yes, it handles pretty good for a nearly 5,000lb SUV, but you are not going to be on the skid-pad with this rig and lament the fact that if you had only been better supported that you’d have turned better numbers.
Quality of materials is nice, not as nice as the top trim levels of the Explorer but this is the performance version not the total luxury program. Road tripping this from home to infinity would be no problem and as you can tell, storage area with the third row seats down is cavernous. Passenger space in the third row is OK, not great but OK.
The massive touchscreen is the centerpiece of the interior and one of the options that was added to the sheet on this Explorer ST. It works great and while it is kind of jarring for its size at first, it really is nice to use. Ford’s interface is easy to use and the same can be said with the rest of the controls in the driver’s area. That screen is a pretty wild piece and it’s only real competitor is the massive one that can be found in certain Ram trucks. The mounting is a bit conspicuous and stays to us that when product planners were drawing this one up years ago, the age of the “iPad dash” had not been foreseen.
Shopping for an SUV that requires size but also some horsepower to be fun to drive? Test out the 2020 Ford Explorer ST and see what you think. 400hp, twin turbocharged V6 and enough guts to really put a smile on your face while not losing any practicality or function. This one’s BangShift approved.
Hit the images below to see the photos of the 2020 Explorer ST in full size – Large and fast