Beauty, it seems, is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, and while having a performance-focused car is the dream of every enthusiast, sometimes the full package can be out of reach for buyers. Ford has thought of this with the ST-Line package, which brings the performance looks without the increased price of the associated hardware. This trim has been a staple in Europe, but it has had a decidedly subtler run in the U.S., with the axed Fiesta ST-Line and the recently launched Edge variant being the lone entries. But Explorer buyers will soon get in on the act with the all-new Explorer ST-Line.
ST Looks Makes Explorer ST-Line The Ultimate Chameleon
Ford claims that the ST-Line model “fully mirrors a traditional ST model,” with much of the look being transplanted over from those models. That includes the blacked-out front grille, dual exhaust tips, 20-inch blacked-out wheels, as well as the smoked front and rear lighting. The interior also plays the part too with a leather-wrapped heated sport steering wheel joining the sport seats and the slick contrasting red stitching. The only clue to its identity is fender-mounted ST-Line badges, and ST-Line adorned scuff plates and floor mats.
Technology also plays a big role in the ST-Line’s mission. Ford throws in a standard wireless charging pad, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, and a 360-degree backup camera. Safety is also paramount here, with Ford’s Co-Pilot360Assist+ system coming along for the ride. Notable goodies here include adaptive cruise control and evasive steer assist.
ST-Line Brings Four-Cylinder Power To Budget Minded Consumers
While the ST-Line does a good job mirroring a normal Explorer ST, its cover is blown once you open the hood. The 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged V6 is not to be found and you instead get the familiar 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that also sees duty in other Explorer models. Like before, it makes 300 hp with the engine being mounted to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The smaller engine plays two roles here and helps enhance fuel economy and allows the ST-Line to come in noticeably cheaper than a V6 powered ST model. This variant is positioned between the XLT and the Limited, and this slot allows the ST-Line to undercut a traditional ST by $7,570. This model even manages to undercut the base ST Enthusiast package by $2,575. In other ST news, Ford also revealed that it will now be offering the ST in both all-wheel and rear-wheel drive versions, with the move being aimed at greatly expanding the model’s ability to draw in customers.
Ford did not reveal pricing information for the ST-Line Explorer but did confirm that the 2022 lineup will be making its way to dealerships later this year. The Explorer is also receiving broader updates for the new model year, including a new King Ranch model and the expanded availability of the 3.0 liter to that model and the range-topping Platinum.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.