Ford Explorer ST Is A 400-Horsepower Crossover For The Family

Cadillac Takes Aim at Tesla With SUV Priced Below Model X

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid signals the start of a big electrified push

The full 2020 Ford Explorer lineup is complete with the reveal of the Explorer Hybrid and Explorer ST. The automaker told Motor Authority the hybrid's gas tank holds 19.4-gallons, which means the hybrid should get about 26 mpg, which isn't exactly impressive compared to the Toyota Highlander Hybrid's EPA rating of 29/37/28 with standard all-wheel drive.

However, Ford said that the hybrid powertrain won't badly ding the Explorer's towing ability. The Highlander Hybrid is rated at 3,500 pounds. A specially designed liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery is built into the Explorer chassis below the second-row seats to preserve cargo and passenger space, unlike previous hybrid vehicles. In fact, it turned out to be the most powerful Explorer ever made, squeezing 400 horsepower and 415 lb. -ft. of torque from the 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that otherwise develops only 365 horsepower. Special calibrations triggered by the drive-mode controller's Sport setting tighten steering heft, retune the transmission and throttle, and pipe a synthetic engine note into the cabin.

Offered only Limited trim initially, the hybrid model will come standard with Ford's suite of active safety tech, leather upholstery, first- and second-row heated seats, and a 14-speaker B&O audio system.

Explorer ST also comes standard with a Class III Trailer Tow Package with Cargo Management System and Active Park Assist 2.0, Ford's new driver-assist parking system that takes control of the steering wheel, gas pedal, brake pedal and gear shifter during parallel and perpendicular parking maneuvers with a simple touch of a button.

The Explorer Hybrid and Explorer ST are two very different sides of the same coin, but they do share a performance bent. The company says it's estimating a 143-mph top speed.

Optional upgrades include an ST Street Pack and an ST Track Pack, which both have 21-inch aluminum wheels with differing levels of performance brakes, larger vented rotors, red brake calipers with stainless steel pistons, and larger brake pads for better stopping power.

Ford did not announce pricing for either the Explorer hybrid or the Explorer ST.

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