The Ford ‘ST’ brand has been around since the early 2000s, first appearing on lukewarm versions of the Euro-spec Ford Focus, before arriving stateside on the previous-generation Ford Focus and Fiesta. While the Focus ST and Fiesta ST were lauded by the American automotive press and enthusiasts alike for their spritely handling and torquey turbocharged engines. But with Ford axing the Focus and Fiesta in North America, the only ST models we have are crossover SUVs; the midsize Ford Edge ST and the three-row 2020 Ford Explorer ST.
It’s not all bad news, though. While the Edge ST and Explorer ST don’t really follow the ST ethos, Ford’s new found focus on crossovers and SUVs have left us with two of the quickest ST vehicles of all time. In fact, we can confirm the Explorer ST is the quickest ST-badged product ever made, with a 0-60 time of just 5.5 seconds. For comparison’s sake, the late-model Ford Focus ST could sprint from 0-60 mph in around 6.3 seconds in the hands of the right driver.
The 2020 Ford Explorer ST achieves this thanks to a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which is rated at 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, and sends that power to all four wheels, via a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. The top speed of this 143 mph. Fantastic for something that weighs in at a burly 4,701 lbs.
That curb weight is 800 lbs lighter than the Dodge Durango SRT, which can be considered one of its few rivals. Yet the 475 hp, 470 lb-ft, 392 Hemi V8-powered Durango SRT does send it to 60 in a just 4.6 seconds. But that .9 second difference costs an additional $9,000 over the Ford.
The two vehicles are the only two vehicles that aren’t boring in its segment, which is otherwise made up of ho-hum fwd-based people movers that could only dream about having a performance variant.
Does this soothe the sting of Ford excluding the North American market from the lithe Fiesta ST and Focus ST being sold in Europe? Not really. But at least Ford is bringing some energy into segments that are otherwise mundane. For this, we are thankful.