The 2020 Ford Explorer ST shown here can reach 100 km / h in just 5.2 seconds, which is only a tenth of a second faster than a 1991 GMC Typhoon. How many of us thought at the beginning of the grunge decade that the very outrageous GMC would be a harbinger of the future? We would guess zero. At that time, the typhoon and its pickup brother, the Syclone, were bizarre, unusual anomalies. But look around now: The market is packed with powerful, huddled SUVs. Like the Typhoon, the Explorer ST is powered by a turbocharged V-6. Both are four-wheel drive. And both refrain from chrome and brightness, to look at least a bit threatening. A reference to Ford's communications staff who are undoubtedly excited to equate their new edge with a nearly 30-year-old GM product: Do not worry; This part will be over soon.
The Explorer ST is not really like the GMC Typhoon. First, the Ford is not named after a storm that can lead to widespread misfortune and death. It does not even get its own name, just its own suffix: ST. And before we deal with applying this suffix to this three-row SUV as an independent music store, we should remember that the total sum of ST's history in the US before Ford started beating on SUVs was just two cars: the Focus ST, an admirable achievement, and the Fiesta ST, which lives up to its name, a party on wheels, a splash of waves, as precious as drunkenness on Tuesday afternoon.
Compared to the Typhoon, too The Explorer ST has twice as many doors, two more seats, two drum brakes less, six forward gears more, one live axle less and wheels five inches larger in diameter. As measured, each gallon of fuel consumed will travel another seven miles. And the cheeky Explorer ST offers you a massage on the butt (only for front passenger).
This silver ST is the first new Explorer that we had the chance to go on the test track. But all 2020 Explorers benefit from a completely new platform that does the trick of being just an inch longer while riding on a wheelbase that extends more than six inches. Equally impressive is that the curb weight of our well-equipped ST was 127 pounds lighter than that of an Explorer Platinum 2017. It's still a hefty 4853 pounds, but we're trying to encourage that. And this weight is better distributed on front and rear axle than that of the last Explorer. The new has only 51.3 percent of its weight at the front, compared with 54.9 percent in the last generation. This is partly because in this Explorer, the engine is not transverse, but longitudinally installed. The basic model is now rear-wheel drive instead of front-wheel drive. All STs are equipped with four-wheel drive.
The short overhangs, tight muscles and sloping roofline of the new explorer give it a look that's both sportier and more elegant than the outgoing model's. Black 21-inch wheels add to the look of our ST. They are part of the $ 995 ST Street package, which also includes red painted front and rear calipers. larger brake discs; and high temperature seals in the brake system. Instead opt for the $ 1595 high-performance package and get the same upgrades and more aggressive brake pads. And to really underline the sportiness, Ford has added a set of summer tires worth $ 2,500 to Michelin Latitude Sport 3. All other explorers come with all seasons.
Compared to the Platinum, the ST drives on stiffer springs (10 percent more front and eight percent rear), newly tuned dampers and thicker stabilizers. Ford has also tweaked the electric power steering to get a heavier ride. And the two-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 is virtually the same engine used in certain Lincoln models, delivering 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. The Platinum uses a 365 hp version of this engine, while the XLT Explorers manage with a 300-hp 2.3-liter turbocharged turbocharger. Limited models use either the four-cylinder or a 318-hp hybrid based on a 3.3-liter V-6.
The ST engine may be half a liter smaller than the optional 3.5-liter twin-turbo on the old Explorer. 6, but it makes 35 hp more and 65 lb-ft of torque. The new vehicle is then predictably faster. And more importantly, it feels much faster on the road. Once the 10-speed automatic has opted for the optimum gear, this rig leaves with surprising authority. This transmission, the only one available in a new explorer, occasionally fluctuates and shifts several times if a single change were sufficient. We find that switching the driving mode to sport helps mitigate the gearbox indecision and sharpen the throttle response to just that side. Our only other issue in the powertrain is that the engine note is less a mechanical symphony than a groan. And the sports mode amplifies this noise only.
The stiffer suspension and summer tires deliver on the test track. The ST stops at a speed of 100 km / h in 160 feet. Most three-row SUVs need at least another 10 feet to accomplish this. And the ST circled our 300-foot skidpad with 0.86 g side grip. This, of course, is more than a non-sporty, all year round tire-wearing three-row SUV can provide – they tend to deliver values between 0 and 80 – but we've expected more from a vehicle with big tires on a relatively stiff suspension.
On the road, driving the ST is not objectionable, but it is undeniable that the sporty intentions and the large wheels of the vehicle give it a lumbering feeling. Despite the grip of the tires, the strength in the suspension and a structure that feels rock hard, the Explorer ST is not as coordinated as we had hoped. The brakes on our test car were handy, and we had to work harder to get smooth, steady stops than it should have taken. The steering movement is heavy due to the thickly edged wheel, but it feels artificially so. There is no accumulation of forces telegraphing the status of the grip to the driver in the best sports machines. Combine this with a transmission that allows the engine to rest at every opportunity and requires multiple downshifts and turbocharging to get in the thrust. The Explorer ST is not a natural powered vehicle. It is more of a normal vehicle with extra grip and a lot of horsepower.
There is still much to like about the overall editorial of this normal vehicle. The interior of the previous explorer was a grim affair. Due to the high waistline we had the feeling to sit in a huge tub of cheap black plastic plates. The new interior, which in this example is still a completely black composition, invites you to linger. The obvious quality of the materials is at least as good as that of Explorer's main competitors. There are few questionable refinements, such as the plate on the center stack surrounding the climate control buttons. It's hard, hollow and unpolished, so it feels cheap and looks. Such a piece would not deter in an XLT that starts at less than $ 40,000. It's a bit harder to swallow with our test vehicle, which had a list price of $ 62,020.
At least the ST is well-equipped for its base price of $ 55,835. These include subtleties such as automatic parking, a wireless charger and navigation system, automatic high beam lights, rain sensor wipers, steering wheel and front and second row seats, front seat ventilation, remote start, Wi-Fi hotspot and leather upholstery. A front-seat massage, a 10.1-inch center screen and a 14-speaker audio system added $ 995. This portrait-oriented infotainment screen is useful, though it stands proudly on the dashboard and strikingly resembles the mysterious black monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey. For another $ 1695, our test vehicle was delivered with a double-glass sunroof. This is nice to brighten up the interior, but for passengers from the second row it is more than five inches of valuable headroom, making it almost unbearable for adults to sit there. In the sunroof, the headroom in the third row is slightly better than in the second, which is great, except that this was partially achieved by knocking the floor cushion to the floor and placing the passengers in a preferred knee position will annoy. The cargo space is sufficient, approximately halfway between the capacity of a Mazda CX-9 at the small end and that of a Chevrolet traverse at the large end.
Perhaps the Platinum model with most of the ST's performance and none of its obvious sports intentions, would be more to our liking. Perhaps we have become quieter in the three decades since Typhoon's launch, but we value the basic Explorer package more than integrating its performance improvements.
I'm glad about every opportunity to shake my fist In the SUV acquisition, the Explorer ST – as impressive as it is – an easy target. The extra weight and the extra size associated with such a package are the enemies of performance, supposedly the main task of the ST. So, if Ford's engineers managed to make that big, nearly 5000-pound family bus corner so good and accelerate it quickly, then imagine what they could have done with that platform and driveline if they had a lower one , lighter limousine body would have put on it and called it the bull SHO. Sure, the Chevy SS was a flop, but the Dodge Charger could use a good rival up close. It is an alternative universe in which I would have loved to live. – Joey Capparella, HR Editor
All the expensive Fords – including Lincoln's – have the same problem: they just cost too much. The price is as if it were all around higher quality products. Just look in this thing. The hard, strangely grained plastic lining most of the lower half of the interior not only looks like it's been pulled straight out of the old Explorer, it's also similar to a popcorn topper and about as appealing as asbestos. And I know what you're going to say, "But it's based on a rear-drive platform!" Sure, but the steering is a bit doughy, and the front and rear wheels roll at different speeds. And why does the frontend look like someone hit it flat? Durango SRT, please. – Alexander Stoklosa, HR Editor