Quick Take: 2020 Ford Explorer


Last week, we managed to get some seat time in the new Ford Explorer ST. Ford’s popular three-row SUV has been completely redesigned for the 2020 model year, now based on a rear-wheel-drive platform and with an updated interior. Even with features standard on the ST such as heated and ventilated front seats, a power-folding third row, navigation, and a 360-degree camera view, our test vehicle had the $995 Premium Technology Package that included front multicontour seats with a massaging feature, a 10-inch portrait-style infotainment screen, and a 14-speaker 980-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system. Buyers should note that the Explorer ST comes only with a black leather interior.

One aspect that really impressed us about the all-wheel-drive-only Explorer ST was its performance. Under the hood sits a 3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that generates 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. In the hills of Carmel Valley where we drove the Explorer ST, the powertrain and chassis, helped by the new and lighter platform, showed no signs of letting up when ascending steep hills or when rounding tight bends. The Explorer we sampled also had the ST Street Pack, bringing performance brakes and 21-inch black aluminum-alloy wheels, which helped handling.

At a total price of $59,520, the Explorer ST’s price tag comes close to luxury crossovers like the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, and Audi Q7, which also offer third-row seats. However, none of those SUVs can touch the Explorer ST’s performance. To enhance the ownership experience, Ford includes free admission to the ST SUV Experience at the Ford Performance Racing School in Utah. In the end, those looking for a fast but reserved family vehicle can find what they’re searching for in the Explorer ST.