Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Ford Explorer Goes Hybrid With 318 HP And Over 500 Mile Range

Ford Explorer Goes Hybrid With 318 HP And Over 500 Mile Range

Explorer ST delivers an engaging driving experience with a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive with selectable traction control.

"We designed it to be an ST from the beginning", said Ed Krenz, Ford Performance chief functional engineer.

It's been less than a week since the 2020 Ford Explorer made its formal debut, and the Blue Oval's already expanding the crossover SUV's lineup.

Since just tweaking the engine was not enough, this special Explorer will be offered with either the ST Street Pack or the ST Track Pack.

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The ST replaces the Explorer Sport in the new sixth-generation lineup gaining a punchier engine, tighter chassis tuning and exclusive styling. Rated at 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, it's essentially the engine that appears in a handful of Lincoln vehicles; the only way to get it in an Explorer is to order the ST. The company says it's estimating a 143-mph top speed. "There's no mistaking its ST DNA". Instantly familiar but more rakish and attractive than the outgoing model, the 2020 Explorer hits all the marks needed to remain relevant: It's approximately 200 pounds lighter, can tow up to 5600 pounds, features updated infotainment and connectivity anchored by an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and is built on an entirely new longitudinal-engine platform featuring rear- or all-wheel drive. Suspension is stiffened up, and the brakes are slightly upgraded. Visually, this sporty version of the Explorer stands apart from the rest of the lineup thanks to a black mesh grille and liftgate applique, some aggressive bodyside details and skid plate elements while riding on humungous 21-inch wheels. On the inside, drivers are greeted by a flat-bottom steering wheel and leather bucket seats.

An all-new 10-speed modular hybrid transmission provides SUV capability. In today's announcement, Ford added that the Explorer Hybrid's lithium-ion battery pack will be liquid-cooled and fitted below the second-row seats in a way that preserves passenger and cargo space.

"Lost cargo space in hybrids is a thing of the past for Ford customers", said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer.

The ST includes some other nice standard features. Ford has previously anticipated that the Explorer Hybrid would return 24 mpg, EPA combined, although its final ratings might land somewhat higher than that.

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