Driven: 2020 Ford Explorer ST is All About the Horsepower
The ST's 400-hp V-6 is what sets it apart.
Ford Performance chief engineer Carl Widmann brought a Shelby Mustang GT350 to John McElroy’s “Autoline After Hours” studio a few weeks ago when I was a guest on the show, but exciting as that was, I couldn’t help but ask him about the 2020 Ford Explorer ST that I was about to drive for the first time. What could his team possibly do for a big, three-row SUV? “It’s about driver connectedness, a more emotional driving experience than maybe a base vehicle in that model lineup would be,” he responded.
The appearance part of that equation is easy. Black out the grille, badging, and trim for the windows, liftgate, and lower body; install black perforated leather seats with white stitching; and fit optional black-painted 21-inch wheels wearing 275/45 Michelin Latitude Sport tires. But what about the chassis? Surely the steering couldn’t be too quick on such a tall vehicle with a relatively high center of gravity, and you don’t want a harsh ride. No, he told me, but the steering could be linear and progressive in nature, so it’s not as quick as, say, that GT350’s on Cup 2 tires, but it could match the emotion, the attitude. Helping in that mission is a 400-hp, twin-turbo V-6 mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.