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Detroit show: Ford uncovers Explorer ST and Hybrid

Hi-po ST and fuel-sipping Hybrid to bulk out Ford’s sixth-gen US Explorer range

15 Jan 2019

FORD’S freshly uncovered US-market sixth-generation Explorer SUV will be bookended by a performance-honed ST variant and frugal Hybrid in addition to the four-pot and V6 EcoBoost engines already revealed.

Under the bonnet of the Explorer ST flagship sits a 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6, but instead of the 272kW/515Nm tune available in the standard SUV line-up, the Ford Performance-fettled version is “projected” to output 298kW/562Nm.

Though a zero-to-100km/h time for the hi-po crossover has yet to be revealed, drive is sent to all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission and top speed is pegged at 230km/h.

To differentiate itself from its siblings, the Explorer ST is fitted with a black-mesh grille insert, lower bodyside detailing, variant-specific front bonnet and tailgate badging, and 21-inch wheel options.

Inside, the 12.3-inch all-digital instrumentation carries over, however, the performance variant is equipped with a flat-bottom steering wheel that features heating functionality and an embossed ST logo.

Leather sports bucket seats are also fitted, while City Silver accents feature throughout the cabin.

As standard, the Explorer ST also comes with a Class III Trailer Tow Package with Cargo Management System and Active Park Assist 2.0, the latter of which features semi-autonomous parking capabilities.

The Explorer ST also gains a Sport driving mode that increases steering weight and throttle response, holds gears for longer, and pipes in more engine noise.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Explorer Hybrid is propelled by petrol-electric powertrain outputting a combined 237kW paired to a bespoke 10-speed hybrid transmission for an expected driving range of 805km in rear-drive form.

According to Ford, “a specially designed liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is built into the Explorer chassis below the second-row seats to preserve cargo and passenger space”.

The electrified Explorer will come equipped with active noise cancellation, Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technologies, leathers seats, heated pews all around, a 14-speaker B&O sound system, wireless phone charging and 10-way power-adjustable front seats.

Ford executive vice-president of product development and purchasing Hau Thai-Tang said the new Explorer range now has an even broader appeal.

“This new generation of Explorer recognises that every family – and every drive – is unique,” he said. “With an all-new ST and an all-new hybrid, there is truly and Explorer for every adventure.”

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