2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV

#14
in Midsize Suvs
2020 MODEL
$54,740
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2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 11, 2020
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Pranav Gupta

Content Writer

The very first Ford Explorer that was launched as a 1991 model developed a niche for it in the four-door sport-utility vehicle segment, as it hardly existed at that time. The Ford has expanded its SUV ST performance range with a surprise launch of the sporty Edge ST. The automaker claims the all-new Explorer ST is "the most powerful and fun-to-drive Ford SUV ever.” The 2020 Ford Explorer ST is priced at $54,740.

See detailed review »

Pros

Composed Ride and Handling

Detailed and sporty Cabin 

Quiet and spacious interior for family

Plenty of Driver Assist Technology

Cons

Cramped room in the third row

Low Seat Cushion placement and difficult third-row access.

What's New?

Fresh exterior design

Re-crafted interiors

Addition of latest technology and driver aid


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$54740

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

6

top speed

143 mph

drivetrain

4WD

engine type

displacement

183 cu.in.

horsepower

400 hp @ 5500 rpm

torque

415 lbs.-ft. @ 3500 rpm

transmission

10-speed shiftable automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

12.2/12.2

dimensions

wheelbase

119.1 in.

length

66.9 in.

width

78.9 in.

height

70.2 in.

curb weight

4701 lbs.

ground clearance

8.3 in.

capacity

passenger volume

152.7 cu ft.

cargo volume

87.8 cu ft.

towing capacity

5600 lbs.

payload capacity

1805 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.6 sec.

standing ¼-mile

13.9 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

16/23/18 mpg

highway range

409.2 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr. /unlimited

roadside assistance

5 yr. / 60000 mi.


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Review video
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Review video

Styles

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV in Magnetic Gray Metallic color 2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV in Agate Black Metallic color 2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV in Blue Diamond Metallic color 2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV in Atlas Blue Metallic color
Magnetic Gray Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.0

Engine And Performance

7.5

Fuel Economy

4.0

Interior

7.6

Exterior

7.0

Safety

8.0

Competition

9.1

7.6

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV ST

ST

power
400 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
Flex-fuel (unleaded/E85)
mpg
18 combined

$54,740


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr SUV 4WD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $54,740 MSRP (16/18/23) 400 hp @ 5500 rpm, 3 L, V-6, flex-fuel (unleaded/E85)
10-speed shiftable automatic four wheel drive 6

Expert Review

7.6

Overall Rating


The sixth-gen Explorer takes an evolutionary step forward in terms of design with a sloped roofline, some more pronounced body sculpting and a six-inch longer wheelbase. The Body retains unibody construction but has equipped itself with new technology and features. The foundation is lighter, leaner and stronger. The Explorer is the broadest model lineup ever with a more powerful and efficient EcoBoost engine pumping 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque.

The addition of smart new technology helps in tackling all of life’s adventures. The sporty new Ford Explorer ST has already hit the dealerships and surely accomplishes Ford’s key ingredients - capability, comfort, and design. Also, the Explorer competes with the likes of Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander but for ST which is performance-oriented, the likes of Audi SQ5 and BMQ X3 M40i fall in the range and competencies

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Front View
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Rear View

7.0/10
Features

 

7.5/10
Engine and Performance

 

4.0/10
Fuel Economy

 

7.6/10
Interior

 

7.0/10
Exterior

 

8.0/10
Safety

 

9.1/10
Competition

 
 

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Features

7.0/10

The Explorer ST comes standard with all-wheel drive, but it uses a rearward bias, with power only sent to the front wheels under hard throttle or when needed for traction. The 2020 Ford Explorer ST has a starting price of $54,740. With just about every available option, it can hit $63,000. 

Trims Explorer ST
MSRP (AWD) $54,740
Key Features Twin-Turbocharged 3.0-liter V6.
   Flat-bottom, Heated steering wheel
  Leather Seats
  12.3-inch cluster display
  10.1-inch intuitive display
  20-inch wheels
  Terrain Management System

Which trim to buy?

Sadly, the 2020 Explorer ST is available in just a single trim. However, owing to the performance on tap, Ford has loaded the Explorer ST, with a ton load of equipment on board. Hence, you won't need to think twice when buying the same.

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Engine and Performance

7.5/10

The Ford has managed to deliver its most capable Explorer in the form of 2020 Explorer ST. The ST is fitted with mighty 3.0L EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 engine pumping 400 hp and 415 lb-ft torque (35 horses and 65 lb-ft more than the old Explorer Sport). The roaring engine is set to reach a top speed of 143 mph though on a straight track. The 10-speed automatic transmission is quick to respond both while upshift or downshift. The engine is responsive and one can feel a smooth flow of power in every driving condition i.e. from a stop, overtaking or to charge upon the slope. 

2020 Ford Explorer ST 3.0L EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 engine

For an engine this powerful, Ford has used a massive 650-watt cooling fan instead of the stock 500-watt unit to avoid any overheating at all. The Ford has equipped the Explorer ST with similar driver-selectable modes as on the other Explorer models. The All-new available Terrain Management System includes seven drive modes i.e. normal, trail, deep snow and sand, slippery, sport, tow/haul, and a new eco mode. These modes can help tackle any adventure through an easy-to-use Knob in the center console. 

Models

Ford Explorer ST

Jaguar F-Pace S

BMW X3 M40i

Audi SQ5

MSRP

$54,740

$62,100

$55,900

$58,200

Engine

3.0L Twin Turbo Premium Unleaded V-6

3.0L Premium V6

3.0L Premium Inline-6

3.0L Premium V6

Drivetrain AWD AWD AWD AWD

Transmission

10-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

400@5,500

380@6,500

382@5,800

349@5,400

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

415@3,500

332@4,500

365@1,520

369@1,370

The Explorer is a performance version not exactly meant for off-roading. The Sports mode impacts the performance almost instantaneously by adding a bit of weight to the electric-assisted steering’s action along with speeding up the already quick transmission which also holds a gear longer for better acceleration. For drivers who enjoy the musical notes of the engine, the Sport mode amplifies the engine noise which resonates inside the cabin as well.

How fast is the 2020 Explorer ST?

The Explorer ST has a staggering pedal response. The ST charges forward graciously as you tip the accelerator pedal in. It takes 5.2 sec for it to reach 0-60 mph. The 10-speed automatic transmission is quite impressive as it reacts quickly by even skipping multiple gears to reach the desired speed in any condition. What irks is that one can feel every bit of 4,700 pounds of weight while cornering and at times, to reach a meaningful deceleration one might have to grab three or four downshifts.

2020 Ford Explorer ST sprints 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 sec

The credit for charming predictability of the ST is also due to its four-wheel-drive system which is standard and is reverse biased. The 4WD flushes all four wheels with ample power on launches. 

Models

Ford Explorer ST

Jaguar F-Pace S

BMW X3 M40i

Audi SQ5

0-60 MPH (sec)

5.6

3.5

4.8

5.1

Quarter Mile (sec)

13.9

12

13.4

13.7

Top Speed (MPH) 143 155 155 155

Engine

3.0L Twin Turbo Premium Unleaded V-6

3.0L Premium V6

3.0L Premium Inline-6

3.0L Premium V6

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/yr)

0.96 lb/mile

N/A

N/A

N/A

Though the RWD system gives a better reaction as compared to the 4WD, here the 4WD adds stability to the acceleration is welcome. Also, the selectable traction control is quite helpful for drivers to fulfill the desires of adrenaline rush within the city or highways.

How do the brakes fare?

The hefty 4700 pounds Explorer ST stops without much drama which is quite impressive. Though the drama continues as the standard brakes feel grabby at times and take more efforts on consistent stops which can be felt. 

2020 Ford Explorer ST has 21 in. aluminum wheels

The larger brake pads are available as an option but they can’t be modulated for slower speeds.

Model

Ford Explorer ST

Jaguar F-Pace S

BMW X3 M40i

Audi SQ5

Brake Rotors Front (in)

N/A

12.8

13.7

13.3

Brake Rotors Rear (in)

N/A

12.8

13.5

13

Curb Weight (lbs)

4345

3913

4277

4057

60-0 MPH (ft)

114

116

112

104

The available optional upgrades include an ST Street Pack and an ST Track Pack. Both offering 21-inch aluminum wheels with differing levels of performance brakes and feature larger vented rotors, red-painted brake calipers with stainless steel pistons, and larger brake pads for even better stopping power.

How is the ride and handling of Ford Explorer ST?

The Ford Explorer ST is an entertainer and not a sports car. The Explorer ST is running on something special under the hood and makes its presence felt while on the road. With the right amount of thrust and ample stopping power, it feels powerful and easy-to-drive. The four-wheel-drive is biased towards the rear wheels. In city limits, the ST exhibits remarkably good cornering ability. 

The Ford has roped in stiffer suspension (10 percent front and 8 percent rear) for the Explorer ST which together with adjustments to anti-roll bars and shock absorbers adds to the composure and stability in the ride. The suspension isn’t tuned at all for different drive modes, so the car handles the same no matter what you do. 

2020 Ford Explorer ST Driving Dynamics

The front and rear stabilizer bars have been thickened for better body control and lack of body roll while cornering hard are quite impressive considering the hefty weight. Further, in sports mode, the transmission provides timely downshifts during hard cornering. Steering is sometimes a weak spot in ST. The 21-inch Michelin tires ($2500 option) add to the grip as well.

How much can you tow?

The mighty 400 hp engine in the Explorer ST can tow a maximum of 5600 pounds which is the best for any Explorer. A Class III Trailer Tow Package comes standard in Ford Explorer ST.

2020 Ford Explorer ST can tow up to 5600 lbs

The Tow package along with Cargo Management System and Active Park Assist 2.0 takes the control of the gas & brake pedal, steering wheels and gear shifter during parallel and perpendicular parking maneuvers.

Model

Ford Explorer ST

Jaguar F-Pace S

BMW X3 M40i

Audi SQ5

Capacity (lbs)

5600

5291

4400

4400

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Fuel Economy

4.0/10

The fuel efficiency will definitely take a dive for the performance-oriented Explorer ST. The added capability and dynamics trade-off with the amount of gas it consumes. Still, It shouldn’t be a matter of concern for someone looking for a roller coaster rather than a slider. Anyways, neither EPA nor Ford has released the official MPG figures for the Explorer ST.

Model

Ford Explorer ST

Jaguar F-Pace S

BMW X3 M40i

Audi SQ5

MPG (City)

18

18

21

19

MPG (Highway)

24

23

27

24

MPG (Combined)

20

20

23

21

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

21.8

21.7

17.7

N/A

Range (City/Hwy/Combined) (mi)

392/523/436

391/499/434

372/478/407

N/A

Though the EPA has rated the Explorer Platinum at 18 mpg City/24 mg Highway/20 mpg Combined. The Platinum carries a 365 hp version of ST’s engine, so we expect the ST to perform similarly or slightly trailing in terms of fuel economy.

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Interior

7.6/10

The 2020 Explorer ST is redesigned to be longer than its predecessor which contributes to the spacious cabin. The recrafted cabin is quiet and is equipped with more technology. The Explorer can seat six in its three rows with center row placed with a standard captain’s chair. The chair is easy to slide but doesn’t flip which hampers the third-row access. Also, the third row isn’t configured with adequate legroom to accommodate average adults with ease.

2020 Ford Explorer ST 3rd row Seats

The interior gives a sporty feel with a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster and flat-bottomed, heated steering wheel embossed with an ST logo. Leather sport bucket seats with micro-perforation, City Silver accent stitching, and ST logo complements the athletic vibe.

Model

Ford Explorer ST

Jaguar F-Pace S

BMW X3 M40i

Audi SQ5

Seating Capacity

6

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

(in)

40.7/61.8/43

37.8/N/A/N/A

40.0/57.6/40.3

40.2/57.7/41.0

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

(in)

40.5/61.9/39.0

37.5/N/A/N/A

38.5/36.4/56.0

37.7/56.5/37.8

The Explorer ST is equipped with ample of technologies for comfort and convenience. If one opts for the Premium Technology package, the interior houses a 10.1-inch portrait-mounted touch screen with full-screen maps, traffic-sensing Ford Co-Pilot 360 driver-assist innovations, and features. The Ford Co-Pilot 360 includes blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist. The Ford Explorer ST additionally makes use of the Assist Plus package which provides adaptive cruise control and steering assist.

How good is the infotainment system of the Explorer ST?

The Ford Explorer ST flaunts an iPad like a 10.1-inch touch display with a vertical layout. The vertical layout is now getting into the trend with the likes of Volvo, Tesla, RAM 1500 and even Subaru equipping their cars with it. The Explorer ST infotainments run on the SYNC3 platform. The system is intuitive and capacitive. Also, the FordPass Connect suffices the 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. The sound system from Bang & Olufsen resonates with the Explorer ST.

2020 Ford Explorer ST Infotainment System

The Key infotainment features include:

  • FordPass Connect
  • Android Auto and Apple Carplay
  • Dual second-row smart-charging USB ports
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio 
  • Voice-Activated Navigation System

How much Cargo can you carry?

The Ford has redesigned the Explorer to house more cargo space. The Explorer ST has adequate cargo capacity but surely is not the best in the class. Explorer St for added convenience provides hands-free and foot-activated liftgate.

2020 Ford Explorer ST has 18.2 ft.3 boot space

Also, the ST has a false load floor that can be raised to reveal a compartment that provides extra space.

Model

Ford Explorer ST

Jaguar F-Pace S

BMW X3 M40i

Audi SQ5

Cargo Capacity (ft3)

18.2

33.5

28.7

25.1

 Cargo Capacity (With 3nd row folded) (ft3)

47.9

N/A

62.7

N/A

Cargo Capacity (With All Seats folded) (ft3)

87.8

N/A

N/A

N/A

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Rear Seats
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Dashboard
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Front Seats
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Front Seats
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV interior
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Exterior

7.0/10

The Ford Explorer ST benefits from an altogether new platform that magically grew only one-inch longer While the wheelbase expands by more than six inches. The longer wheelbase adds the capability for off-roading as well. Also, the ground clearance of more than eight inches and a decent approach angle of 21 degrees adds to the utility.

2020 Ford Explorer ST Side Profile Design

It is impressive that the fully equipped 2020 Explorer’s curb weight is 127 pounds lighter than its predecessor of 2017. The redesigned Explorer does not seem to be very different on the outside but there’s a lot under similar skin. On the outside, ST can be differentiated from the other Explorers courtesy of a black mesh grille, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside details, roof-rack side rails with “EXPLORER” badging stretching across the front edge of the hood.

Model

Ford Explorer ST

Jaguar F-Pace S

BMW X3 M40i

Audi SQ5

Curb Weight (lbs)

4345

4090

4317

4052

Length (in)

199.3

186.3

186.1

183.9

Width (in)

78.9

81.5

74.7

74.7

Height (in)

70.2

65

66

65.3

Ground Clearance (in)

8.3

8.4

8

8.2

Wheelbase (in)

119.1

113.1

112.8

111.2

When it comes to the overall weight distribution compared to last year’s Explorer the ST carries only 51.3 percent of heft on its front axle better by 3.6 percent. This is in part because of the longitudinally mounted engine instead of the traverse.

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV 3rd Quarter view
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Side view
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Exterior
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Rear view
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Fast
2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Safety

8.0/10

The U.S. safety agencies are still to rate the 2020 Ford Explorer. Also, Ford has completely replaced the platform of the Explorer series so we will have to wait for the official ratings. 

Camera fixed on 2020 Ford Explorer ST Rear as Safety aid 

All the Explorers come standard with the active safety features as a part of Ford Co-Pilot 360 which includes blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts, hill start assist and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection

Key Safety features are as below:

  • Front, Rear, and Third Row Head Airbags
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • Post-Collision Safety System
  • Traction Control
  • Stability Control
  • Front and Rear Ventilated Disc Brakes
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Competition

9.1/10

Ford Explorer ST vs BMW X3 M40i

The Ford Explorer seats six whereas BMW X3 accommodates five. The Explorer ST pumps more power which is not translated into higher speed in comparison to BMW. The higher curb weight of Explorer is to be thanked. The BMW X3 M40i is economical as well and much more luxurious. For people looking for SUV utility and higher towing ability, Ford Explorer is the first choice.

2020 BMW X3 M40i

Ford Explorer ST vs Jaguar F-Pace S

There is a lot of similarity in the two when it comes to fuel efficiency, range and towing. The Jaguar takes the lead with better acceleration and performance braking. The Ford Explorer beats the Jaguar F-Pace for more cargo and passenger volume.

2020 Jaguar F-pace S

Ford Explorer ST vs Audi SQ5

The Audi SQ5 is less powerful with lesser weight in comparison to Ford Explorer ST even when placed with a similar configuration powertrain. The Audi offers a similar interior volume but seats five passengers only. The Audi offers upscale interiors and a comfortable ride. The Audi SQ5 runs on a premium unleaded gas which might be a costlier option.

2020 Audi SQ5

 

2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV Final Verdict

The all-new Ford Explorer ST is the sixth-generation Explorer which is sportier than ever with an amalgamation of unique construction fitted with smart new technology and performance-oriented engine under the hood. The 400 hp 3.0L EcoBoost engine is mightier and efficient. The Explorer ST suffices the need for sufficient thrill within the city or on a long highway trip but shouldn’t be considered a true sports car. It is a solid option, but not exactly an outright performance monster. It surely hits the right note for the audience in the American market.

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2020 Ford Explorer Overall Reviews


David J. Kaminski

David J. Kaminski 2020 Ford Explorer ST SUV 4dr SUV 4WD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 10A)

10

User Overall Rating

Posted On: July 6, 2020

Nothing stands a chance when you're in Explorer

Overall Review -

10

Overview Rating

I'm an avid Ford user and can't help it because of everything there cars have to offer. My new Explorer's ST badging at the front and twinturbo under the hood, there is not much one needs when you have both. Takes scant 5.6 seconds on papers to cross 60mph mark on the cluster which is stunning for such a size. Towing or offroading feels like a piece of cake in Explorer and it just doesn't seem to stop. Handling is not very precise because of the gross weight and optional 21'' tires. Nonetheless it still happens to grab more eye balls than my old Edge.

10/10

Features

10/10

Interior

10/10

Design

10/10

Safety

10/10

Reliability

10/10

Deal Value

10/10

Dealer Review

Top User Reviews


10

User Overall Rating

"Nothing stands a chance when you're in Explorer"

I'm an avid Ford user and can't help it because of everything there cars have to offer. My new Explorer's ST badging at the front and twinturbo under the hood, there is not much one needs when you have both. Takes scant 5.6 seconds on papers to cross 60mph mark on the cluster which is stunning for such a size. Towing or offroading feels like a piece of cake in Explorer and it just doesn't seem to ...
by David J. Kaminski