Explorer ST and the Future of Ford SUVs

April 3rd, 2018 by

Explorer ST

The latest version of the Ford Explorer was unveiled for 2018. However, it’s technically just a refresh of the model unveiled all the way back in 2011. But a completely redesigned Explorer is on the way. If that’s not exciting enough, Ford has also just confirmed it will be releasing an Explorer ST, a high-performance model with a ton of track-worthy tech.

Explorer ST

Earlier this year, Ford announced that the 2019 Edge would be its first SUV to join the ST lineup of performance vehicles. Previously, only the Fiesta and Focus have worn the ST badge. But now, before Ford enthusiasts have even had a chance to properly learn about the Edge ST, the Blue Oval has confirmed that the Explorer will also join the ST team. Although it released no photos, the confirmation from Ford strengthens the belief that recent spy photographs indeed reveal the new Explorer ST.

Considering that Ford is completely redesigning the Explorer for next year, it’s the perfect time to integrate genuine racing dynamics for the ST model. You can bet that the new ST will feature some giant brakes, a unique sport suspension, and aggressive wheels. It will also probably feature a retooled interior with bolstered seats, race pedals, and unique steering wheel. However, most enthusiasts will be dying to know what’s under the hood.

The most logical guess is Ford’s EcoBoost 3.0L EcoBoost V6 previously on show in the Lincoln Continental. That engine should fit well and deliver the right amount of power. How much power? If we were to speculate, it’s safe to say the biturbo EcoBoost could eclipse the 400 mark for both horsepower and lb/ft of torque. Rumours also suggest that rear-wheel drive is a possibility, which could be a lot of fun.

Off Road

Ford also gave some scant details about a forthcoming small off-roader. All we really have is the image above. As you can see, it looks like a sort of smaller Toyota FJ Cruiser. Interestingly, it has the block “FORD” logo on the front, a design that we’ve so far only seen on the Ford Raptor. It’s possible that will be the default badge for all Ford off-road vehicles. That opens the possibility of seeing FORD on the front of the new Bronco.

Speaking of the Bronco, Ford also released a little teaser image of the returning off-roaders. It was obscured by a mud-splattered sheet, but you can clearly see its profile. The Bronco looks huge and squarish, a relief to those who had been worried it would just be a rebadged Ford Everest. We also learned a little from Jim Farley, Ford’s executive VP, who outlined the Bronco’s raison d’être:

“For Jeep, it’s all about rock crawling in Moab, but out premise is completely different. We want to give people true off-road vehicles that are comfortable at higher speeds, on two-track trails and do well in deep sand on the beach. And they don’t want their SUVs to look like doomsday vehicles, or have spartan, government-issued interiors.”

Oh, and if all of that isn’t enough for you, Ford also announced that the next generation of the Escape is on its way, too. What a time to be alive!