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Ford’s 2020 Explorer ST Spied Testing With Minimal Camouflage

We’ve already shared with you all kinds of info on the upcoming, all-new 2020 Ford Explorer, including spy shots of the exterior and interior. What we haven’t seen before is the 2020 Explorer ST – the more potent variant of the full-size crossover SUV. But our eagle-eyed spy photographer managed to catch up to a minimally-camouflaged prototype of the model as it was undergoing testing in Colorado, allowing us this early look.

The 2020 Explorer ST will replace the Explorer Sport in Ford’s lineup, much like the Edge ST replaced the Edge Sport. Power is expected to come from one of two engines: a high-output variant of the Ford 2.7L EcoBoost V6 making at least 335 horsepower, or the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 making 375 horsepower. Both gearboxes are expected to be mated to the new Ford 10-speed automatic transmission driving all for wheels via an all-wheel-drive system.

Besides the more potent powertrain, we also expect the 2020 Explorer ST to feature a more athletic suspension and more aggressive styling elements. Though we can’t tell what’s going on in the suspension department, the spy pictures show a black grille treatment, black wheels, a black insert on the lower edge of the doors, body-color door handles, and a quad exhaust treatment. These elements will be finished in a bright material on other, non-ST 2020 Explorer models.

And if there is any doubt that we’re looking at the 2020 Explorer ST, then a look at the grille and liftgate reveals a set of red ST badges.

The Ford Explorer will be completely new for the 2020 model year. It will ride on the new CD6 platform that is flexible to supportĀ front- and rear-wheel drive configurations, along with their respective all-wheel-drive derivatives.

Expect the Blue Oval to reveal the 2020 Ford Explorer in the coming months, potentially at the Detroit Auto Show this coming January.

Ford Authority founder with a passion for global automotive business strategy.

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  1. vbondjr

    Thought the new Explorer was going to have the 3.0L 400hp/400tq or better.

  2. vbondjr

    to me, this is another half @$$ attempt by Ford. There is no reason the 5.0L Coyote Gen-3 V8/10-speed auto combination wouldn’t have worked in a high performance explorer SUV. It might not beat the SRT Durango in torque but 480hp and 420lb-ft of torque would have been a very nice addition to the explorer lineup. Seeing that the Lincoln Navigator has parts from the Mustang suspension already, what would have stopped Ford from adding a Magnetic ride suspension similar to that of the PP-2 mustang GT, Brembo brakes, active exhaust, 20×12″ wheels, lowered ride height, a torque vectoring AWD system like what the Taurus SHO or Focus RS had, a Performance oriented interior with a 2 row/5-seat option, Alcantara trim steering wheel & upholstery, performance seats, B&O stereo, 12″ LCD instrument cluster, 12″ infotainment system w/ navigation and latest SYNC system, heads up display, etc? aggressive body work (not boy racer) a more aggressive rear spoiler, blacked out lights with HID/LED, heat extractor style hood, something! Honestly I think a model like this should sit above the ST as the Explorer GT.
    I would also say that the next mustang on the CD6 platform needs to be a better, not-as-retro Mustang but still hold true to some of it’s Mustang features. The SN95 Mustang broke the mold on what a Mustang could be and honestly I think the SN95 Mustang should be where alot of the new Mustang cues come from. Think about it for a second. After the 65-73 Mustangs, the Mustang-II came around and it was a terrible creation, shortly after that was the Fox Body, which wasn’t much better than a Mustang II but it brought back the 5.0 and it was a big step in the right direction. Then Along came the SN-95 (94-98 Mustang GT/Cobra) which was a much better car. The Car rode better, handled better and was the better riding/handling pony car between it and the Camaro (Camaro was faster). Me personally, I’d benchmark the BMW M850i for what the 2021 Mustang should aspire to. A car like that with a 480hp 5.0L V8 would be an awesome machine. Honestly, If i were setting up the next mustang, I would take a 5.2L naturally aspirated V8, put the current Gen-3 Coyote top end on it with the factory GT350 intake duct and throttle body, a set of GT350 style exhaust manifolds tuned for the cross-plane crank firing order, redesign the car with the mufflers in the middle (where they belong and still keep the active mode exhaust setup like how Mopar does along with rear resonators with quad tips), 10-speed auto//7-speed manual, magnetic ride, brembo brakes, a similar suspension setup and things like that and give it about 485hp w/ 460lb-ft torque. I’d redesign the front headlights (similar shape, different DRL design), aggressive mustang hood & rear spoiler option with performance pack and performance pack-2, a modern red & black housing LED tail lamp assembly styled after the ’67 GT500, an interior similar to the current mustang but with a center stack that angles towards the driver in a smoother fashion with a 12″ infotainment display (similar to the Jaguar XJR center stack but with the Mustangs double arch signature design. The car would have more rear leg room, a bigger trunk and a few other amenities such as a heads up display, the night vision & pedestrian detection system, ambient lighting, different seating options, heated and cooled seats/ steering wheel, Classic meets modern design, etc. I also feel that the Hybrid mustang should slot under this with a 400hp/420tq variant of the 2.3L Ecoboost with AWD and then of course the Shelby GT500 would be the top dog still. Granted this looses some of that Retro edge but it’s still enough to keep it 100% mustang. give the car the rear quarter scoops like the ’69 Mustang and you have a new design that truly works and yet still allows you to have a car with classic cues that looks modern and ready for the new age.
    There also needs to be a supercharged 5.2L F150 Lightning crew cab pickup with 675hp, lowered, magnaride, quad tipped dual side exit exhaust in front of the rear wheels, AWD, big brembo brakes aggressive exterior, performance interior, comfortable, blacked out lights, blacked out grilles & badass. Lastly, a CD6 RWD based AWD 5.2L Ford Falcon sedan with the same specs as the Mustang is also needed. (think BMW 8-series Gran coupe but with a 5.2L Coyote V8 and a 10-speed auto, etc. The car should only have AWD and be powered by the 10-speed auto or 7-speed optional manual. yes the base 400hp 2.3L Hybrid should be available as well.
    Only other things I could see in the Ford lineup would be the Ranger Wildtrak, a Bronco, replace the Edge with the Everest, get rid of the escape, get rid of the ecosport, get rid of the Fusion, get rid of the Fiesta, get rid of the Taurus, get rid of the Fusion, keep the Focus & put it on the CD6 platform as a hatchback only, bring on the Baby Bronco, bring on this Mustang inspired electric crossover (Ford Maverick), keep the C-Max (update it better than tesla), give us a better raptor (with a supercharged 5.0L V8 option even if you keep the 450hp 3.5L as a base option), a 460hp 5.2L option in the other F150 trims, Super Duty is fine and honestly the Bronco should at least get the 2.7L Ecoboost V6 as should the Ranger Wild Trak. They should both also get the 3.0L Power stroke V6. Just saying. The Expedition it a pretty awesome SUV right now but it needs a V8 as an option on the luxury trim. The Luxury trim Expedition with a 5.2L V8 (460hp) should have a lowered magnetic ride suspension, 22×12″ wheels wrapped in 315-series tires, huge brembo brakes with silver calipers, a muted but authoritative exhaust system, 10-speed auto, AWD, a super comfortable interior, etc.
    Oh and as far as lincoln goes, the Lincoln lineup should get a mark X coupe, a better CD6 platform Continental with the 450hp/600tq hybrid option on both cars as well as the 400hp/400tq base 3.0L Twin turbo V6, The Navigator should get something similar for the 3.5L Ecoboost setup as a hybrid option would send it to roughly 485hp and 650lb-ft of torque which would by far make it the most powerful full size Luxury SUV on the market.


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