2020 Ford Explorer ST debuts with 400 horses at Detroit Auto Show

A turbo V6 engine and handling upgrades make the Explorer ST a big performer.

Jon Wong Former editor for CNET Cars
Jon Wong was a reviews editor for CNET Cars. He test drove and wrote about new cars and oversaw coverage of automotive accessories and garage gear. In his spare time, he enjoys track days, caring for his fleet of old Japanese cars and searching for the next one to add to his garage.
Jon Wong
2 min read

A year ago Ford revealed the Edge ST, which was the first Blue Oval SUV to receive the ST performance badge. And now a year later it's being joined by the 2020 ST that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show .

Watch this: 2020 Ford Explorer ST is a fast 400-horsepower people mover

The ST replaces the in the new sixth-generation lineup gaining a punchier engine, tighter chassis tuning and exclusive styling. A specially tuned version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine found in the Platinum model powers the ST delivering 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. That's up from the 365 horses and 380 pound-feet in the Platinum. The engine bolts to a quicker-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters that routes power to all four wheels.

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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The Explorer ST will hit 60 mph in 6.7 seconds.


With a 0-60 mph time of 6.7 seconds, the Explorer ST is quicker than the equipped with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that does it in 6.8 seconds. Top speed is estimated at 143 mph making it the fastest three-row SUV under $60,000, according to Ford.

For improved handling, the 4,701-pound ST receives unique shocks, springs and 21-inch wheels wrapped with Pirelli tires. And to up braking muscle, a big-brake package is available with unique booster calibration and larger brake pads.

Visually setting the ST apart from the rest of the Explorer range is a unique front grille with mesh insert, gloss black accents, dual quad exhaust tips and red-painted brake calipers. Inside, there's a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, flat-bottom steering wheel with ST logo, silver accent stitching and Ford Performance scuff plates.

2020 Ford Explorer ST: A 400-horsepower people mover

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As with all Explorer models, the ST will come standard with a healthy list of safety technology that includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and auto headlights with auto high beams. 

The 2020 Ford Explorer ST will hit showrooms this summer along with the rest of the new lineup that also features a hybrid model. Pricing isn't available yet, but an increase over the 2019 Explorer Sport's $46,625 starting price tag wouldn't be shocking given the ST's healthy performance gains.