Ford Explorer ST: A Handful of Go for Tons of Dough

Is the world ready for a $60,000 Ford Explorer? Maybe, if it’s the Ford Explorer ST.

Let’s examine the 400-horsepower Ford SUV and see what it’s all about. This could be another case of ST-itis like we experienced with the Edge ST, or it might be the baby Range Rover Sport you seek. Click play and find out…

The price is certainly bananas. Here’s the weird thing though, I expected to see one or two of these on the road per month. But I see multiple examples per week. That means the price to entry here is not too high for some. Also, I imagine there’s plenty of cash on the hood to be had right now.

And at the end of the day, this is a good truck. The 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 is a wonderful engine and it’s paired with a well-designed chassis. Do I wish this truck was $10,000 less expensive? Yes, absolutely. Do I think it’s a pretty sweet machine regardless? Yes I do.

[Disclaimer: Ford tossed us the keys to its Explorer ST and included a tank of fuel.]

9 Comments

  1. “ST” conventionally stands for ‘Sport Touring’. So is this a Sport Touring Sport Utility Vehicle?

    Every generation gets more and more inbred. People wanted SUVs, so everything got jacked up a few inches and had light truck tires. Now the same people who were complaining that sedans weren’t truck-ish enough are complaining that the trucks aren’t sporty enough so down goes the suspension again and on go the rubber band tires.

    And so we have this chinless jug-eared pinhead of a vehicle ready to transport Oliver St John-Mollusc to the Upper Class Twit of the Year Show.

    1. Don’t forget the need to make ever-larger and heavier vehicles perform like sports cars, for the few occasions you are not stuck in traffic.

    2. “chinless jug-eared pinhead”

      HOW DARE YOU, SIR…

      “of a vehicle”

      Oh …ok. Yeah that’s fine.

  2. Yeah, it seems like a lot of money, until you start comparison shopping with other RWD-platform three-rows. Up against it’s American competition:

    Durango R/T AWD__360 hp___$47k
    Explorer ST________400 hp___$54k
    Durango SRT______ 475 hp___$63k

    The Explorer fits nicely between the two Durango trims in both performance and price.

    Bring in the Germans, and the Ford starts looking like a good deal:

    Mercedes GLE 350__255 hp___$57k
    Mercedes GLE 450__362 hp___$62k
    Mercedes GLE 580__483 hp___$78k

    BMW X5 xDrive40i___255 hp___$61k
    BMW X5 xDrive50i___456 hp___$76k

    Granted, the MB and BMW are more nicely appointed inside, but if three-row performance is your itch, the Ford provides sufficient scratch.

    Personally, I’d be tempted into the Durango R/T. It’s less money for admittedly weaker performance, but it comes with naturally-aspirated V8 sound. Ford’s blown V6s sound awful. Plus, while I like the overall styling of the Ford, I really hate the headlight/grille design. It looks unfinished to me. The Durango looks less modern, but I love the front end design, and overall it looks much more muscular.

    1. When everything is too expensive, then they are ALL too expensive. The ‘Overton Window’ phenomenon can’t get people whose wages have stagnated for decades to follow the price increases we have seen in automotive products over the last 5-7 years. No one can afford it.

      1. Personally, I don’t entirely disagree with you. I wouldn’t spend $55k on a new Explorer, but someone is buying these “expensive” cars, or else they wouldn’t even be offered for sale.

        Twenty years ago, the average new-car transaction was about 50% of median household income (U.S.). Last year, it was almost 59%. So, people are spending about 18% more on a vehicle now than they did in 2000. Is it that because cars are truly getting more expensive, or are people simply willing to spend more on them? It’s not as if there aren’t cars available for less than the $37k average that’s now spent on one. There’s no shortage of cheap cars. I can buy a brand new Honda Fit for less $17k, and that’s not even the cheapest car out there. That’s $20k in my pocket, and I’m still getting around town just as easily as someone driving an “average” car. Hell, I could even splurge on a new Mustang and have $10k left over.

        So, is it that cars are too expensive? Or are they priced exactly at the level people are willing to pay? The supply curve is fine. It’s the demand curve that’s pushing up the prices. Blame your neighbors, not the automakers.

        1. You make some good points, but I think what’s happening, is that because interest rates are so low, people are using credit too much. As a result, average American household debt is out the roof. When car dealers are selling, just like they have always done, on monthly payment, but jacking the length of the loan, then the immediate pain is put off for half a decade. The corollary, is that the unexpected economic downturn that happens 5 years later throws consumers into bankruptcy.

          I am certain that the cost of the vehicles is too high, based simply upon the percentage of the average American’s income which these new vehicles represent. So, if you’ll pardon me, I blame whomever is pricing them. The public is buying more than they need, true. But again, it’s the auto company marketers that drive that demand. And the consumer responds by taking on too much debt, because that’s what the Fed wants them to do.

          It’s a recipe for a recession or a depression to keep going like this when the Ponzi scheme finally crashes. So, neither the average consumer, nor even the rest of us, who buy more responsibly, can really afford this price/affordability divergence.

          1. People aren’t mindless cattle that can be herded into a car lot and forced to buy expensive cars. If people are willing to spend beyond their means, then that’s their right, but it’s also their own damned fault. Budgeting isn’t rocket science.

            There are over 120 models available in the U.S. that cost between $14k and $30k. As long as that choice exists, then it’s not automakers that are driving up prices, it’s the buyers. It’s that simple supply and demand curve from Econ 101. Automakers control supply, and could force an increase in price if they limited affordable options, but they’re not doing that. Buyers demonstrate demand by paying more for premium cars. If there are more affordable options available (which there are) and people are still electing to spend more than that (which they are), then the cost will go up. Prices will go down when buyers demonstrate they don’t feel the price is worth it. If no one bought a car over $50k this year, you’d see a drastic shift in the market in 2021, with a focus on cheaper cars.

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