Ford could have slotted a big V8 engine under the hood of the 2020 Explorer ST but, according to the car manufacturer, it wouldn’t make much sense as there wouldn’t have been much demand for such a model.
During a recent interview discussing the Explorer ST and why the company opted for a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 with Muscle Cars & Trucks, the SUV’s global chief engineer Bill Gubing said Ford wanted to fit its fastest and most powerful ST-badged model with a powertrain providing effortless performance.
“I don’t think anyone (shopping) in this class right now is saying ‘I want a V8.’ We’re to the point of wanting it to be effortless, and fun,” he said. “On the Explorer ST, (customers) wanted it to be where they’re on the on-ramp, step on the gas, and have no doubts that they’re going to beat the guy coming up. It’s effortless, it’s fun, and it’s engaging.”
While the EcoBoost V6 doesn’t produce the same kind of sound a V8 would, it does offer an impressive amount of grunt, pumping out a total of 400 hp and 415 lb-ft (562 Nm) of torque through all-four wheels. With a straight piece of road, the Explorer ST can accelerate to 60 mph (96 km/h) in an impressive 5.5 seconds. The SUV isn’t all about straight-line performance though.
“By taking the weight out and having new platform dynamics, it makes the front end feel much lighter, zippier, and if you spent any time in the previous generation [Explorer Sport], the 2020 Explorer ST will feel like a racecar in comparison,” Gubing added. “But it’s not about the racing, it’s about having confidence and comfort behind the wheel.”
Prices for the Explorer ST start at $55,835, putting it in against the likes of the Dodge Durango R/T.