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rmc523

Got to drive a 2020 Explorer ST

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Got to go on a quick test drive of the 2020 Explorer ST on Saturday.  It was my first time seeing a new Explorer out in the real world (not at an auction/show type thing), and first time being able to sit inside (and obviously drive) one.   I meant to take a picture of it sitting next to the outgoing model, but forgot to before the guy moved it.

Design wise, while the overall look isn't drastically changed from the outgoing model (especially the back), it definitely has a more athletic stance and "toned"/sleek design, whereas the old one is more "frumpy" and bloated looking. 

  • The front still isn't my favorite, but it looks good - the ST's black grille looks far better than the regular grilles on one I saw elsewhere on the lot.
  • In the rear, I still find it an annoying and cheap that they stuck with incandescent bulbs for the reverse and turn lights, especially when every single other light on the vehicle is LED standard on all trims.  A more minor complaint is that there is no longer a cover for the trailer hitch when not in use.
  • Moving to the interior, I like it more in person than in pictures.  It's a nice update for Explorer, and obviously drastically different from the outgoing model.  One big change that's immediately evident (to me) is how....."flat"/vertical the dash is, while the old one pushed out toward you more.  This results in a seemingly larger space.  They had some nice stitching on the door panels, but I was somewhat disappointed to see the dash top did not have any stitching on it at the edges.  Platinum models add the stitching.  I think STs should get it too, but not a big deal.  The buttons/controls were well laid out and straightforward/easy to use.
  • I only briefly got to explore the digital gauge cluster.  I know it's configurable but I didn't get to play with it long enough to fully see its options.  It was a high quality/resolution display, though, and the animations were great.
  • The model I drove had the regular center stack screen.  It worked as expected, and had the newest version of SYNC.  I like the setup better than what I have - it seemed as though the control tabs on the bottom of the screen (audio, nav, climate, etc) remained on the screen at all times, rather than sliding down and disappearing like they do on SYNC 3 (requiring a touch of the "controls" button to make them reappear, which drives me nuts).  The model inside, though, had the tech package with the larger screen.  It was not as imposing as it appears in photos.  It obviously does stick up from the dash, but it doesn't block your view, and isn't an obnoxiously large bump above the dash like it may appear in pictures.  I didn't get to use it, though, to see the difference of how the taller screen works.
  • STs come with buckets and a low floor console in the second row, which can slide forward and aft allowing for more second row room or more third row room depending on what you need.  The second row seats were comfortable, however I didn't like the inner chair-mounted arm rests.  They sit a good inch or two higher than the door panel arm rest, which results in an odd feeling uneven arm height/position.
  • The third row is where some complaints may arise.  Access to it is great - you can either step over the low console in the center, or push the button on the second row seats to make them tilt and slide forward.  The plastic step (instead of carpet) between the 2nd row seat and door opening was a great addition, as it won't get dirty or ruined from going in and out of the third row.  Headroom was fine, no complaints there.  Legroom was acceptable.  I'm 6'0 and with the 2nd row all the way back, my knees were toughing the 2nd row, but should you slide the 2nd row forward, you'd have good leg room.  Here's where the big problem lies - the previous model had the rear well where the seat would flip backward into to go flat.  Conversely, they sat up higher and had a recessed foot well.  This new generation basically plants the seat bottom on the floor, and the backs fold forward over the seat back to fold flat.  This results in your knees being very high and not the most comfortable.

The one I test drove was a base ST model without much in the way of options.  The interior pictured below was of an ST inside the showroom which had the tech package with the larger screen.  So onto the drive/performance....

Visibility was good in all directions.  The surround view camera was nice.   One of the first things I noticed was how little pedal travel there was on the gas pedal.  You'd barely push it, and you'd be at the end of its' range, flooring it (let's be honest, I was trying to floor it, but it was still a very short travel distance).  I put it in sport mode which wakes it up.  Acceleration was quite good (I've been spoiled by the Mustang).  Cornering seems much improved from the last model, which would roll/tip a lot more.  The new one is a lot more planted and Flex-like handling wise, which is definitely a good thing.  The seats were comfortable.  I wasn't able to figure out if it had adjustable pedals - there wasn't a button in the usual locations, but perhaps it's embedded in the center display now.  I think they'll sell a ton of them, and people will like the new model.

Here are a few pics.  I should've taken more.

 

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Instead of regular puddle lamps, STs get the red ST badge displaying on the ground from the mirrors.

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Neat Explorer silhouette in the rear cargo floor panel behind the 3rd row:

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My local dealer just got a black ST in so I stopped by to see it in person while I wait for mine to be built.

 

It is definitely a good improvement over our 11 lol.  It had the tech package and I agree, the screen doesnt look bad.  It looks built into he dash more in person than how the pics show it.  Definitely doesnt bother me sitting inside and looking at it.

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Is that the Atlas Blue?

I think my buttons only disappear when in map mode, otherwise they're there all the time.  But I keep mine on the stereo screen when it's not on Nav so not sure about the others.

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15 minutes ago, akirby said:

Is that the Atlas Blue?

I think my buttons only disappear when in map mode, otherwise they're there all the time.  But I keep mine on the stereo screen when it's not on Nav so not sure about the others.

That is "Blue", not Atlas Blue.  Havent seen it on the ST but it looks really good in these pics.

 

Atlas Blue is this one.

 

 

2020-ford-explorer-st.jpg

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Yeah I see now Blue is the same as Aviator Blue Diamond (paint code FT).   I prefer that over the Atlas Blue.   Very sharp!

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Nice to see that you can do more than just red, blue, white, black or silver. Pretty much any color available for the ST then?

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26 minutes ago, akirby said:

Yeah I see now Blue is the same as Aviator Blue Diamond (paint code FT).   I prefer that over the Atlas Blue.   Very sharp!

 

I like the Atlas Blue too.  Here is one at CAP in natural light.  It's darker than what the auto shows show with all the darn lights blasting down on it.  I agree, I just showed my wife it and she loves the "Blue".  Too bad we already have a Magnetic on order to replace the Atlas that she changed her mind on lol.  

 

A local dealer is getting the Atlas within the next week so we are going to drive down and see it in person.  

 

 

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Edited by blwnsmoke

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I love that blue, great color Ford

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26 minutes ago, Chromey said:

Nice to see that you can do more than just red, blue, white, black or silver. Pretty much any color available for the ST then?

Yep

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1 hour ago, akirby said:

Yeah I see now Blue is the same as Aviator Blue Diamond (paint code FT).   I prefer that over the Atlas Blue.   Very sharp!

My Fusion is that color. We love it. 

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Too bad the Build Your Own tool doesn’t do a better job of representing the colors.  Better than the old way of having a paint chip printed in a brochure for sure. I thought there would be a limitation to which colors could have the Performance Package but apparently not.  You can only get a black interior though on an ST.  I imagine most STs will be primary colors though. Did see a Star White Platinum on the lot close to where I live. Color reminds me of the Triple Platinum White on my MKz. Pretty sharp looking at night. 

556BB425-B748-4FEA-9CCD-4301D6D6E855.jpeg

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3 hours ago, blwnsmoke said:

 

I like the Atlas Blue too.  Here is one at CAP in natural light.  It's darker than what the auto shows show with all the darn lights blasting down on it.  I agree, I just showed my wife it and she loves the "Blue".  Too bad we already have a Magnetic on order to replace the Atlas that she changed her mind on lol.  

 

A local dealer is getting the Atlas within the next week so we are going to drive down and see it in person.  

 

 

39849.jpeg

The Atlas Blue looks just like Velocity Blue or Lightning Blue. I was disappointed when we got ours as I was hoping it would have a richer tone. 

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1 hour ago, Chromey said:

Too bad the Build Your Own tool doesn’t do a better job of representing the colors.  Better than the old way of having a paint chip printed in a brochure for sure. 

Ford still produces the color guides with paint chips but Dealers have to buy them. 

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I'm liking that Atlas blue.  That'd win any day over the regular blue.

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29 minutes ago, rmc523 said:

I'm liking that regular blue.  That'd win any day over the Atlas blue.

Fixed that typo for you.  :lol2:

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26 minutes ago, akirby said:

Fixed that typo for you.  :lol2:

Guess you could say I'm biased 😛

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My wife and I looked at a new red Explorer Limited (Rapid Red/Sandstone) and we both liked it.  Didn't get to drive it . . .then I showed her new Aviator on local lot . . . Aviator won!  Hah!

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