Ford Authority was the first to report that the 2022 Ford Explorer ST would be offered with standard rear-wheel drive earlier this week, marking a big change from the high-performance model’s previously standard four-wheel drive configuration. Today, Ford confirmed that change and outlined a number of other intriguing updates for the 2022 Ford Explorer lineup as well.
Ford notes that the newly available rear-wheel drive Explorer ST gives shoppers more options for on-road performance at a lower price. “No two SUV drivers use their vehicles the same way, so our goal is to meet the needs of as many as possible,” said Lee Newcombe, Ford Explorer marketing manager. “Four-wheel-drive capability is great if you need it, but if you don’t, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. These changes to the Explorer lineup were guided by what our customers told us they wanted.”
The rear- and four-wheel drive Explorer ST will also be joined by the new Explorer ST-Line for 2022, which features the looks of regular ST without the added horsepower and torque. Instead of Ford’s 3.0L EcoBoost V6, the ST-Line is powered by the automaker’s 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 that is rated to produce 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. That engine is backed up by Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission, and the model also comes standard with rear-wheel drive, though four-wheel drive is available as an option.
On the outside, the Explorer ST-Line looks virtually identical to the ST, with 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, dual exhaust tips, a blacked-out front grille, gloss black hood badging, and blacked-out headlamps and taillamps. Inside, the ST-Line features unique touches including Ebony Black ActiveX seats with Miko inserts, a heated sport-style steering wheel, red accent stitching, and ST-Line scuff plates. The ST-Line features a starting MSRP that’s $7,570 less than the Explorer ST and $2,575 cheaper than Explorer Enthusiast ST.
Ford is also upgrading the 2022 Explorer King Ranch and Platinum trims by giving both the same 400 horsepower tune as the ST, though the automaker didn’t provide torque figures for either model. The ST’s 3.0L EcoBoost V6 is rated to produce 415 pound-feet of torque. Both numbers represent healthy increases over the current models’ 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque.
Additional changes for the 2022 model year include new Stone Blue and Burgundy Velvet exterior colors, the choice of a second-row bench seat or captain’s chairs at no additional cost, a second-row bench seat option on Timberline models, new seat trim for XLT Sport Appearance Package with Ebony seat bolsters and Light Slate inserts, and a standard Technology Package for King Ranch and Platinum trims that includes multi-contour seats, a 10.1-inch touch screen, and a 14-speaker B&O sound system.
The 2022 Ford Explorer lineup, including the new Explorer ST rear-wheel drive model, ST-Line, and Timberline will launch later this year.