It's a close finish.
On paper, there's no way that a stock Ford Explorer ST should be able to beat a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in a drag race. With some mods, the performance crossover from the Blue Oval can make the fight a lot more even.
As a refresher, the Explorer ST uses a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 making 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) and 415 pound-feet (563 Newton-meters). A 10-speed automatic gearbox sends the power to an all-wheel-drive system. It weighs 4,701 pounds (2,132 kilograms). The run to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) takes around 5.5 seconds.
For comparison, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk uses a version of the Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V8 making 707 hp (527 kW) and 645 lb-ft (875 Nm) of torque. It has an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. At 5,363 pounds (2,433 kilograms), the vehicle is heavier than the Ford, but the Jeep hits 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. The company even claims an official quarter-mile time of 11.6 seconds.
The Jeep in this video does the quarter-mile in 11.65 seconds, which is in line with the factory numbers. The Explorer ST completes the run in 11.58 seconds. It's a close race, but the Ford barely has the edge.
To achieve these impressive numbers, we expect this Explorer ST has some significant performance upgrades. Just an ECU tune probably wouldn't be enough. Elements like upgraded turbos, new downpipes, and a larger intercooler would be a big help for creating a Trackhawk-killing Explorer.
For the 2021 model year, Ford has a tiny update for the Explorer ST. The interior now gets high-gloss interior trim, including for the door panels.