- Explorer ST highlights include a powerful engine and a refined interior.
- Buyers may not need what the Explorer ST brings to the table.
The 2020 Ford Explorer ST has the potential to become very popular (think cult-like following). It also could fade into a vast nothingness next to the Lincoln Blackwood and Chevrolet SSR.
It’s will either become the car young currency traders and rookie NHL players get with their first big check, or the only person rocking an Explorer ST will be the dealership’s sales manager.
After a week behind the wheel of Ford‘s fastest three-row SUV, I’m thinking it will actually be somewhere in between.
It won’t ever be that cool, but it won’t be laughed at either. The 2020 Ford Explorer ST deserves respect.
It starts at $59,099 in Canada which isn’t cheap, but it punches above its weight in terms of performance. It’s the fastest Explorer you can buy by far and the only one that actually feels sporty. It’s powered by a 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 that delivers 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque.
Non-ST, EcoBoost V6-powered Explorers get 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Base models get a 2.3-litre turbocharged inline-4 with 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.
Towing is rated at 2,540 kg and there’s 516 litres of total cargo space behind the third row. Lower that, and you get 1,357 litres of cargo space.
Specific interior features come with the ST. The seats get special perforated leather with silver stitching, and various ST logos here and there including on the heated steering wheel which also has paddle shifters. Other features of the ST include ventilated seats, a wireless charging pad, tri-zone climate controls, remote start, active park assist 2.0, a range of active safety technologies (lane keeping, automatic braking) and a dual-panel moonroof.
The 2020 Explorer ST is also the first Explorer trim in the lineup that features the fully-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. The graphics and visuals change based on the driving mode you are in. The Explorer ST comes standard with dual heated captain seats in the second row, but you can add a rear three-seat bench.
So that’s for the specs. Now, should you buy a 2020 Ford Explorer ST?
Why You Should Buy a 2020 Ford Explorer ST
- Power is impressive. The Explorer ST isn’t just faster than an Explorer, it’s plain fast. It’s even faster in Sport mode with quicker reactions from the powertrain when you floor the right pedal.
- It handles great as well. The Explorer ST isn’t far from offering similar cornering and steering to the BMW X7. It felt more planted than a Mercedes-Benz GLS.
- Interior versatility won’t let you down. There’s space everywhere.
- Commanding driving position. If you want to feel high off the ground, the Explorer is the right model to do that. It actually feels bigger than it is inside.
- The technology is intuitive and everything makes sense in the interior layout.
- Two hours on the highway and the Explorer ST was as comfortable when we arrived as it was when we left.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Ford Explorer ST
- You don’t need to pay ST money to get the Explorer’s comfort and versatility. The Limited model will give you a lot of what we liked about the ST for a lot less money.
- The Explorer ST depreciate heavily based on popularity. We won’t know this until a few years have gone by. Probably better to lease.
- The rearview camera is tiny. You’d think you’d get better visibility out of the Explorer’s large centre touchscreen, but the vertical design hinders rear camera display.
- The massive 21-inch wheels will make you feel every pothole. The Explorer ST is comfy when the road is nice.
- There’s a bit of grittiness at low speeds. The Explorer ST isn’t smooth off the line. It kind of lurches and you can tell it wants you to floor it which you can’t do in an urban setting.
- Yes it’s fast, but it’s not crazy fast like a Durango SRT is. It’s just fast. You may be disappointed if you see this as an alternative to a Q7 or an X7 or a GLS.
I think the new 2020 Ford Explorer is great in every possible way. I recently recommended one to a friend who will be having triplets. I’m just not sure the ST is needed. If you do buy one, know that you will feel the difference between this and other Explorer models and you will have decent performance under your right foot. The only thing is that I’d lease it to be sure.