This is our first chance to see Ford developing the refreshed Explorer ST. This one is on the road in Dearborn, Michigan.
The engineers cover this Explorer with quite a bit of camouflage, which makes seeing the changes a challenge. From how the covering adheres to the body, it looks like the inlets in the outer corners might be larger. The inlet in the lower fascia appears to be narrower vertically but wider horizontally. Our spies report that the headlights seem to have a new shape, but this is hard to see in the photographs.
Gallery: Ford Explorer ST Spy Shots
At the back, the Explorer might have new taillights. Otherwise, there aren't visible changes. The ST continues to have a pair of exhaust pipes on each side of the tail.
While this Explorer has its windows down, we can't get a good look at the dashboard to see if there are any changes. In China, Ford gives the market-specific version of the SUV a massive 27-inch horizontal screen that dominates the dashboard. We don't yet know whether the Blue Oval would make such a significant change to the updated model in the US.
The current Explorer ST comes with a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 making 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) and 415 pound-feet (565 Newton-meters) of torque. The power runs through a 10-speed automatic, and buyers can select rear- or all-wheel drive. There's no indication yet whether the refreshed model would include any tweaks to this setup.
It's not clear when Ford would introduce the refreshed Explorer ST. It just received updates for the 2022 model year.
Last year, a Ford memo to suppliers indicated the automaker was pushing back the start of production of the EV versions of the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator until December 2024, rather than the original plan to begin building them in mid-2023. Part of the reason for the change was allegedly to boost the assembly of the Mustang Mach-E at the Cuautitlan factory in Mexico.