The Ford Explorer ST – a sporty, performance-oriented version of the full-size Blue Oval crossover that’s expected to launch for 2020 or later – has been spied for the first time wearing a full suit of camouflage. The Explorer is anticipated to be the second Ford crossover to borrow the “Sport Technologies” badge from hot hatches like the Focus ST and the Fiesta ST, with the first being the new-for-2019 Ford Edge ST.
What gives the spied crossover away as a possible Ford Explorer ST? The grille pattern. Visible through the camouflage in some of the recent spy shots is a hexagonal mesh like the one used on the new Edge ST, as well as the earlier Focus ST and Fiesta ST. The same pattern is used on both the upper and lower front grilles, the latter of which looks significantly larger than the one on the current Ford Explorer Sport.
Outside of that, there isn’t very much we can glean, unfortunately. Nor do we know what will drive the sporty new crossover. There’s an expectation that with its migration to Ford’s flexible new CD6 platform, the 2020 Ford Explorer could switch from a transverse (FWD-based) to a longitudinal (RWD-based) layout. That would almost certainly mean that the CUV would get Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission, although in the ST, we figure AWD will come standard. And while common sense might say that the engine-of-choice for the new Ford Explorer ST would be the same 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that’s found in the current Sport model, one report maintains it could be powered by the twin-turbo 3.0L from the Lincoln MKZ.
We’ll surely know more about the anticipated Ford Explorer ST as it inches closer to launch. In the meantime, be sure to stop by AutoGuide for the recent spy shots.