An even more extreme version of its newest SUV

Ford started ST-ing its high rider range with the Edge ST it revealed last year and this year at the Detroit auto show it showed an ST version of its new Explorer. The manufacturer’s intention couldn’t be clearer - it intends to inject some youthfulness and fun into vehicles not usually known for their sporty credentials.

2020 Ford Explorer ST has 400 HP, wants to be taken seriously as a performance SUV
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But why should Ford stop there?

Since it’s now adopted the ST moniker for its SUVs, maybe it could also start doing even more extreme RS versions of those SUVs too.

There’s a lot of appeal to that formula, I think, especially when it comes to the new Explorer with its rear-wheel drive chassis and newfound sporty appeal.

The Explorer ST is certainly impressive, with its 400 horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine, but Ford has more powerful V6s at its disposal. Take the 3.5-liter unit that powers the current Ford GT supercar, an application where it makes over 600 horsepower - now imagine that kind of power in the Explorer.

If it had it had 0ver 500 horsepower, it could rival the likes of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo or the BMW X5M. Compared to these hypothetical rivals, it would have to be cheaper to buy, though, but with its extra seating maybe it would find its own buyers, those not so much interested in the badge their vehicle carries, but its sheer capability.

2020 Ford Explorer ST has 400 HP, wants to be taken seriously as a performance SUV
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This Explorer RS would also be visually distinctive, and it would make the Explorer ST look like an ST Line with its swollen wheel arches and aggressive bumpers and skirts.

Lightweight wheels, finished in black powdercoat would complete the visual impact, set against a dramatic green or bright blue paint job.

Back in October, 2018, MotorTrend asked Ed Krenz, the boss of Ford Performance whether the company was looking into making an RS version of the Edge (the first ST high rider from Ford, launched a few months prior). He said “that it would clearly be a bit of a white space vehicle” meaning it wouldn’t have any direct rivals from other manufacturers and added “the RS would have to bring more power. The RS would have to bring additional vehicle dynamics. That could be done through even more aggressive tires, more aggressive suspension setup, active dampers, torque vectoring.”

And the same could be applied to the Explorer and the result would be a deeply intriguing and definitely very capable missile to blast down all sorts of roads. But all we can do is wait, really, and see if even a hint that they are first making the Edge RS; only after that would an Explorer RS realistically be in the cards.

Further reading

2020 Ford Explorer ST has 400 HP, wants to be taken seriously as a performance SUV
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2020 Ford Explorer ST has 400 HP, wants to be taken seriously as a performance SUV

2020 Ford Explorer
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Read our full review on the 2020 Ford Explorer.

2016 Ford Explorer High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Ford Explorer.

Six Generations of the Ford Explorer
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Six Generations of the Ford Explorer

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