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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A red 2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line is shown driving over a bridge.

The 2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line Adds Even More Diversity to the Explorer Lineup

It’s crazy how many trim options there are for each new vehicle. Seriously, there are so many! Once you’ve narrowed your vehicle selection down to a model, you now have to choose from a handful of options, each with its own set of unique features. Some people probably don’t care too much one way or the other and will choose whatever fits best with their budget, but for some people, this can be a difficult decision. Sometimes there is one specific feature that drivers lock onto which, if they’re not careful in their research, they may miss entirely.

This is why you have to be very careful when finalizing your trim. Making assumptions on which features are standard may end up costing you the one you had your eye on. For example, if a heated steering wheel is what you’re looking for, you can’t assume that the car will have that on all levels; usually, a feature like that is reserved for the higher-end trims. This can be especially hard to navigate when so many of the trims look and sound so similar. For example, those looking for a reliable SUV should consider the Ford Explorer. For this year’s lineup, Ford has introduced the 2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line, a new trim for the model year that sounds dangerously close to the 2022 Ford Explorer ST. The ST-Line marks the model’s eighth trim option. But why so many? What makes this new edition different from the others? Let’s take a closer look and see what makes it stand out among the extensive Explorer lineup.

A white 2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line is shown parked in front of a store.

The Addition of the St-Line Adds More Choices for Drivers

Different drivers have different priorities. Some value style, some value performance, while others value innovative technology. Some may just want a balanced combination of all three. Manufacturers recognize this diversity and provide trims that accommodate these different preferences. As such, some trims may appear similar and may even have similar names due to their close relation but are, in fact, not exact matches.

The ST-Line trim offers the sporty looks and design of the ST without the upgrade in performance with the ST’s 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, perfect for those concerned more with style than capability. People aren’t usually going to say no to extra power, even if they couldn’t explain what horsepower is, but probably wouldn’t pay extra for it. It’s not because they don’t want it; it’s because it is not a priority. They will, however, pay extra to have a unique sporty design guaranteed to turn heads, so Ford has recognized the need to provide a vehicle with a similar design to the ST trim, but this time narrowing its focus to on-road driving.

This was a very smart move on Ford’s part. Performance vehicles tend to have higher-level luxury features to match the energy of the performance specs. As such, there are two components to the ST trim: the sporty design and the exciting performance. Many consumers are more focused on the vehicle’s atmosphere than on performance. Why? Because the majority of Explorer drivers will probably be using it for family life and commuting, whether it’s the suburbs, the highway, and so on. Its standard rear-wheel platform and 2.3-liter engine are focused on exceptional on-road driving. It’s likely not going to see a lot of action off the pavement requiring higher performance specs. However, the demographic it reaches will probably be willing to pay a little bit extra to gain some sportier features. So, by having a trim that offers the same exciting design while still focusing on the road, Ford can tap into a more specific market.

Though the Explorer is mainly geared towards families, they usually include a working professional who may end up using the Explorer for business outings; such sporty features help cultivate the professional aesthetic that such individuals are likely seeking. As each new trim level finds success, manufacturers find a smaller part of the market which wants certain aspects of that trim but doesn’t need all of it; hence new trims are born.

Two for One

Of course, there are trims like the ST-Line, which make subtle changes between other trims. There are also trims that make bold changes to the vehicle. Take the Explorer Timberline, for example. While the Explorer is, in essence, a mid-size family SUV, the Timberline Edition makes it an off-road-ready mid-size family SUV fit for camping trips and outdoor adventures. It’s like having the fun parts of a Bronco while still having a family SUV. It should be noted, though, that the Explorer is not a Bronco, and anybody reading this should not make the mistake of thinking that your Explorer is ready to take the kind of abuse that a Bronco is designed to take.

Still, it’s an off-road-capable Explorer. Drivers don’t want a one-trick pony. They want a vehicle that is fit for multiple occasions. Sometimes it seems like we’re looking for two cars in one, which is part of the reason why manufacturers continue to add trim levels to their models’ lineups. A family might need an SUV and want a Bronco. Many families are not going to pay for two different vehicles to satiate both of these desires, so chances are they will go the practical route and get what they need. But, they might take a slight upcharge to have a vehicle that gives them what they need and some of what they want.

The same goes for the ST-Line. The family knows they need the space of a mid-size SUV, but they want the nice features of a high-end vehicle. Well, here comes the 2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line to provide both. It may seem like a slight difference from the ST trim, which is true if you compare the two side-by-side, but if you are comparing the Explorer ST-Line with the standard Explorer, you see how drastic of a difference the ST-Line makes with crafting a sophisticated interior environment. So, if the difference is simply 100 hp, many drivers won’t think much of it. But if the difference is mid-level style vs. luxury style, it will grab a lot more drivers’ attention.

A blue 2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line is shown from the front.

The Explorer ST-Line Continues Ford’s Automotive Evolution

In some ways, the automotive industry is still young, being less than 150 years old. Needless to say, large amounts of progress have been made in that 150 years. But progress never stops, and vehicle manufacturers are focusing heavily on meeting the needs of drivers who find themselves living lives that are not as one-dimensional as they may have been at one point.

The product of this is creative and exciting cars. The ways manufacturers have spread out their luxury features among larger vehicle models like Ford with the Explorer ST-Line is a very impressive accomplishment. These kinds of feats lead to ideas, and those ideas lead to innovations, which lead to new and exciting vehicles that we couldn’t even imagine. Progress is not made overnight; it is born of small accomplishments and progression over time. Remember, we didn’t go straight from the Model T to the Mach E.

There may be a day when the Explorer ST-Line will be looked at like the Model T because of the array of new innovations that will come along. So, as Ford responds to the desires of drivers who recognize specific priorities over others, they are making progress that will lead them into the future of automation. The 2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line is a great example of this progression and is perfect for those looking for an SUV that features a sharp, innovative design and is less concerned with pure strength.

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