2020 Ford Explorer ST performance crossover spied

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Ford has been getting pretty lackadaisical about covering up its Ford Explorer prototypes lately. We’ve seen both police and civilian models nearly uncovered, and just recently got a great look at the new crossover’s interior. Only one version was eluding us, though, the rumored Explorer . Well, one of our spy photographers spotted the one above, and it’s surprisingly subtle-looking.

At a glance, you could easily write this ST as a regular one with a black mesh grille. The only real tip-off is the bright red ST badge in the corner. Other visual tweaks include the very large and relatively wide wheels and tires, black-painted roof bars, and smoked headlights and taillights. Otherwise, it looks nearly identical to other Explorers.

What’s unique is under the hood. Rumors have said that the Explorer ST will have 400 horsepower. And now that the Lincoln Aviator, the Explorer’s platform-mate, has been revealed with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 with 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, we think it’s all but guaranteed that engine will appear in the Explorer ST. Further cementing this possibility is the fact that Michigan State Police revealed the Explorer pursuit vehicle it tested had a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. Arguing against it is the fact that may want to keep some powertrains exclusive to Lincoln, but a niche vehicle like this Explorer ST shouldn’t cause an issues.

Like in the Lincoln, it will probably be paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. More of a mystery is which wheels will be driven. The Lincoln Aviator supports both rear-drive and all-wheel-drive. Rear-drive would certainly appeal to Mustang fans, but crossover buyers like the all-weather confidence that comes with all-wheel-drive. We should know more when the is fully revealed – we wouldn’t be surprised if it appears as soon as the Detroit Auto Show in January.

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