Ford has been offering an all-show-without-the-extra-go ST-Line trim level in Europe for a number of years, but it wasn't until last year when the Edge received this version as the first US-bound ST-Line. For the 2022 model year, the larger Explorer is getting an assortment of ST-like visual upgrades without the added oomph of the full-fat ST.
The Explorer ST-Line is powered by the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine with 300 horsepower (223 kilowatts) delivered to the road through a familiar 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford says the Explorer ST-Line's exterior "mirrors a fully equipped Explorer ST," complete with a blacked-out front grille, dual exhaust tips, 20-inch machined alloy wheels, and dark-tinted headlights and taillights. Rounding off the changes on the outside is the glossy black model name's lettering on the hood.
Stepping inside the cabin, the new Explorer ST-Line gets a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system and a heated steering wheel, while on the tech side there's a 360-degree camera and a wireless charging pad. To sweeten the deal, the Blue Oval throws in an auto-dimming rearview mirror and heated front seats, along with red accents, scuff plates with ST-Line badging, and fancy floor mats.
The newcomer also bundles the Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ suite of driver and safety systems, which includes adaptive cruise control (with stop & go) and evasive steer assist, among others. Positioned between the XLT and Limited, the ST-Line it undercuts the fully fledged Explorer ST by $7,570. At the same time, it's also $2,575 cheaper than the Explorer Enthusiast ST introduced earlier this year as a more attainable version that takes out some of the features to lower the starting price.
Confirming a rumor from earlier this week, Ford will be offering the Explorer ST with a standard rear-wheel-drive layout, with optional AWD available. You get the same 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine rated at 400 hp and 415 lb-ft (563 Nm), sent to the rear axle via a 10-speed auto. Pricing details have not been disclosed, but it goes without saying the tail-happy SUV will be cheaper than its all-paw equivalent.
Gallery: 2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line
Beyond the ST-Line and ST models, the 2022 Explorer gets a 400-hp engine as standard for the King Ranch and Platinum flavors. These two high-end trim levels now include the Technology Package as standard, which features a 10.1-inch touchscreen, a 14-speaker B&O sound system, and multi-contour seats.
The 2022 Explorer gets a no-cost choice between a second-row bench seat or captain's chairs, along with fresh Burgundy Velvet and Stone Blue body colors. XLT Sport Appearance Package now has new seat trim and the Timberline boasts a second-row bench seat option.
Ford will have the updated midsize SUV at dealers later in 2021.