Its appearance newly freshened, the wildly successful Ford Explorer is growing its selection of models for 2021 by a round number of three, led by a new Enthusiast ST, which Ford flatly bills as the most powerful Explorer since the all-conquering SUV first arrived in 1990. Ford already markets a performance version of the Explorer, the ST, which has been so popular that it now accounts for about a fifth of total Explorer sales. Buying an ST means you get the 3.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V-6 that makes an even 400 horsepower, the same six on steroids that goes into Police Interceptor versions of the Explorer and Taurus. It’s mated to a 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. Of course, performance underpinning star in this show, as well.
The Enthusiast ST takes all those mechanicals and makes them the new Standard Equipment Group for the ST range, a realignment that Ford says has created a lower-priced performance Explorer, albeit with an MSRP that’s still north of 48 large. Ford advertises a top track speed for the Enthusiast ST of 143 MPH, combined with a standard towing capacity of up to 5,600 pounds. Leather seating with Miko perforated inserts, the Ford Co-Pilot360 technology suite, heated steering wheel and a 12.3 digital cluster. Interestingly, Ford is also rolling out a rear-drive-only Explorer Platinum, and even bigger, a Platinum Hybrid.