Car Life Nation

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

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

One of the most popular Ford explorers for sale, a white 2023 Ford Explorer ST is shown driving in a forest.

The Ford Explorer Changed the Game; Now the ST Trim Rewrites the Rulebook

Seeing an SUV driving around town or cruising down the highway isn’t uncommon today. After all, it’s become the most popular method of transportation and the ideal choice for both the average and family-oriented consumer. And while it might be impossible to pinpoint the exact moment that launched its upward trajectory in popularity, there’s no denying that the vehicle wouldn’t be where it is today had it not been for the Ford Explorer.

While similar offerings were certainly available at the time of its debut in the early 1990s, the Explorer certainly ushered in the concept of making the SUV accessible to a wider demographic. And, just a few years after its debut, the first signs of the SUV boom had begun to manifest. A game changer if there ever was one, thousands of drivers hit the dealerships in hopes of finding a Ford Explorer for sale each year, and this is certainly a testament to its popularity. And now, the rulebook regarding what an SUV can offer drivers has been rewritten with the introduction of the Ford Explorer ST in recent years. High performance and refined luxury take center stage in the newest chapter of the continuing history of the SUV.

The Premise of Performance

Let’s stop and think about something for a moment. What is it that you most commonly associate with an SUV? What type of person finds it a necessity to own and operate? The first answer might be the average American family who needs storage and effective transportation. Or, maybe someone who enjoys off-roading or needs something capable of towing a decent load behind them. The aspect of practicality is a determining factor for many vehicle purchases. For years, that’s been the prevailing wisdom behind the concept of the SUV. And now, Ford injects high-octane performance into its flagship SUV, setting a new standard for others to follow.

The high performance of the Explorer ST all starts with the engine, so let’s take a look under the hood, shall we? The ST benefits from a 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine. Propelling the vehicle forward with 400 hp and the capacity to generate 415 lb-ft of torque, this engine is paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission for optimum performance. The results certainly speak for themselves, as the ST travels from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 5.2 seconds and runs the quarter mile in just under 14. For an SUV, these specs aren’t just impressive but a testament to Ford’s preference for always getting to the finish line first. But, then again, what more would you expect from the brand that ushered in the golden age of the muscle car?

It’s Time for Refinement

While Ford has always demonstrated an ability to equip their vehicles with sound barrier-breaking performance, it’s only the tip of the iceberg regarding what they’re providing on the ST. We’ve looked underneath the hood, and now it’s time to get behind the wheel and see what it has to offer. The ST is built upon the premise of elevating the SUV to a new existence, and a big part of the new rulebook is focussing less on practicality and more on refinement and sophistication. There are more than enough standard features to put you into the lap of luxury, and as is par for the course with many of Ford’s flagship products, there’s a chance to upgrade the ST to your precise specifications.

A six-speaker stereo system and compatibility with Apple and Android streaming services are standard, and for those who want to immerse themselves in entertainment, a high-end stereo system from Bang & Olufsen with 14 speakers and a subwoofer can drown out the mundane and the petty distractions of the outside world. Leather-trimmed seats and available captain’s chairs can instantly turn the ST into a suave commuter that’s comparable to any high-end European luxury sedan. Voice-activated navigation can also be had to bring your family road trips into the modern age. No matter your preferred level of comfort, it can be easily achieved.

Two people are shown exiting a red 2022 Ford Explorer ST.

School is in Session, Notebooks Are Optional

While there’s certainly no shortage of highly-capable SUVs on the marketplace, and many of the features bear a striking similarity to one another due to the tendency to follow trends, the ST has found a way to completely break away from common perception and do something truly unique. In what they’re referring to as the ST SUV Experience, Ford is opening up a driving school geared towards the owners of the Explorer and Escape ST.

If you’ve got a penchant for performance and want to become a master at the craft, here’s the chance you’ve been waiting for. The course is a complete and immersive experience held at two locations, Ashville, North Carolina, and Park City, Utah. This is much more than just a driving school, as you’ll have catered foods and access to the various sights that each town has to offer. Taking place at the Ford Performance Racing School, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the ST and master the techniques with the help of instructors with years of experience in reaching the finish line first. From cornering, braking, and exerting control, you’ll have a learning experience unlike any other.

Customization That Surpasses Expectations

Not only is Ford offering the chance to give you a first-rate education in performance-oriented driving, but also the chance to completely customize your Explorer ST with a variety of packages that can make it an extension of your individual personality. In this section, we’re reminded of what made the Ford Explorer such a popular vehicle to begin with, and that’s offering drivers the chance to own a vehicle that perfectly suits their needs.

Some of the highlights include the ST High-Performance Package, which comes with 21-inch aluminum wheels and brakes suited for high-end performance. The Equipment Group Package comes standard on the Explorer ST and includes a specially tuned suspension, allowing you to accomplish any task before you. For those looking to enhance their oversight and protection when on the road, Ford Co-Pilot 360+ includes Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering capability and evasive starting assistance, all of which are essential for enhancing reaction time when you’re on the road.

A close-up of the front wheel on a red 2023 Ford Explorer ST is shown.

The Bar Has Been Raised

When the Ford Explorer first debuted, no one could have possibly foreseen the impact the vehicle would make in just a few short years. And because history has a habit of repeating itself, there’s no reason why the ST version of the Ford Explorer can’t replicate the same feat—combining performance and sophistication and retaining the practicality of what makes the SUV such a popular choice among consumers.

The very fact that Ford is opening up their performance school to train a new generation of drivers how to engage a vehicle at high speeds and maintain safe driving habits certainly shows that Ford is taking the SUV to a realm that it’s never traveled to before, and we’re ready for it!. Whether or not the rest of the industry attempts to follow suit remains to be seen, but we’re certainly interested and have our eyes open.

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