Ford is expanding its Explorer ST family in 2022 with two new models. A new Explorer ST rear-wheel drive model caters to drivers looking for more on-road performance, while the new Explorer ST-Line is aimed at those looking for more style. Both new options expand a trim that's been popular for the 6th-generation SUV. The automaker says the current ST model accounts for nearly one in five 2021 Explorer sales.
“We’ve taken Explorer, already the all-time best-selling SUV, and given our customers the chance to put the emphasis on the things they value most,” said Jeff Marentic, Ford marketing manager. “For on-road performance and styling, our new rear-wheel-drive Explorer ST and new Explorer ST-Line are specifically designed to appeal to new customer groups with different adventure needs.”
New Rear-Wheel Drive Explorer ST
The rear-wheel drive 2022 Explorer ST comes standard with RWD with available four-wheel drive. It's powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that produces 400-horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque and the engine is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
“No two SUV drivers use their vehicles the same way, so our goal is to meet the needs of as many as possible,” said Lee Newcombe, Ford Explorer marketing manager. “Four-wheel-drive capability is great if you need it, but if you don’t, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. These changes to the Explorer lineup were guided by what our customers told us they wanted.”
The Explorer ST-line is rooted in the Edge ST-Line that joined the lineup in 2020. It's about looks more than the ST's full performance and capability. It slots between the XLT and Limited and comes with various appearance and technology upgrades. It's built on a rear-wheel-drive platform with four-wheel-drive capability and is powered by Ford's most popular Explorer powertrain, a 300-horsepower 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Ford says the Explorer ST-Line comes with a starting MSRP that is $7,570 less than Explorer ST and $2,575 less than Explorer Enthusiast ST.
“The ST brand has been very well received by Explorer customers since it arrived two years ago,” Newcombe said. “With the addition of Explorer ST-Line, Explorer will offer the broadest performance-inspired lineup in the segment.”
From the outside, Explorer ST-Line mirrors a fully equipped Explorer ST. It rides on 20-inch machined aluminum wheels and wears ST-inspired features such as a blacked-out grille, fascia-integrated dual exhaust tips, gloss-black “EXPLORER” hood badging, and unique black-out treatment for headlamps and taillamps.
The cabin features Ebony Black ActiveX-trimmed seats with Miko inserts, heated first-row seats, heated sport-style steering wheel and red accent stitching throughout. Available premium technology features include 12-speaker B&O sound system, wireless charging pad, auto-dimming rearview mirror and 360-degree camera. There is also Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology including Evasive Steering Assist, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, and voice-activated navigation. Additional touches include ST-Line scuff plates and premium floor mats.
2022 Explorer Lineup Upgrades
The 2022 Explorer lineup gets some customer-driven upgrades as well. They include:
- New standard 400-horsepower powertrain for Explorer King Ranch® and Explorer Platinum
- Pick your second-row seat: Customers have a choice of a second-row bench seat or captain’s chairs at no additional charge
- Standard Technology Package on King Ranch and Platinum models includes 10.1-inch touch screen, multicontour seats and 14-speaker B&O sound system
- Second-row bench seat option on Timberline models
- New seat trim on XLT Sport Appearance Package features Ebony seat bolsters with Light Slate inserts
- Two new exterior colors are Stone Blue and Burgundy Velvet
2022 Explorer models, including Explorer ST, Explorer ST-Line and Explorer Timberline, are due in showrooms later this year.
Check out CarProUSA Show Host Jerry's Reynolds' 2020 Explorer ST review below:
Photos Credit: Ford