Ford Explorer hybrid and ST revealed

14 January, 2019, 19:14 | Author: Sammy Rose

Ford Performance is the group responsible for ST and RS models, Shelby Mustangs, and with Ford eradicating most cars from its North American lineup, an increasing number of SUVs, including the Edge ST introduced past year.

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. While already more honed than a regular Explorer, an available Sport mode turns up the wick even more, with even quicker transmission responses to automatic or paddle-initiated gearswaps, more aggressive throttle response, sportier steering, and a deeper, throatier sound.

Engineers say the top speed of the monster has also increased to 143 miles per hour (230 kph), with the help of the quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. A specially tuned version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine found in the Platinum model powers the ST delivering 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. While we don't have the full download on either ST Pack yet, we do know that they both include 21-inch aluminum wheels and upgraded brakes with red-painted calipers. A flat-bottomed heated steering wheel embossed with an ST logo, as well as unique floor mats, are subtle ST-exclusive cues.

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As for the hybrid, it's Ford's first new hybrid SUV in six years, and the first-ever hybrid from the company on a platform engineered for gasoline/electric propulsion from the beginning. 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. Official fuel economy figures haven't been announced, but last week Ford said that the all-wheel-drive police version would get at least 24 mpg combined, but the retail version will also be offered in a rear-wheel-drive model that should be more efficient. Ford's previous hybrid SUV, the Escape Hybrid, was only rated to tow 1,000 pounds.

"This new generation of Explorer recognizes that every family - and every driver - is unique", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president of product development and purchasing.

As Ford prepares the first of several fully electric vehicles, for what amounts to a rapidly expanding niche, the automaker is also working on rolling out electrified versions of its existing mainstream lineup.

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