2022 Ford Explorer ST gets rear-wheel drive, ST-Line gets looks

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Rumor emerged last week that next year's Ford Explorer ST would get standard rear-wheel drive instead of all-wheel drive. The rumor was true, so now you can have all 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet sent to the back. But if you want, all-wheel-drive is still optional. And Ford has even more news regarding the 2022 Explorer lineup.

Ford has also launched the Explorer ST-Line, an ST in all but power and price. Following in the footsteps of the smaller Edge ST-Line introduced for 2020, the Explorer ST-Line slides in between the XLT and Limited trims. It's ST-aping appearance features include the black grille, black Explorer badge on the hood, blacked-out headlights and taillights, integrated exhaust tips and set of 20-inch machined aluminum wheels. Inside, Ebony Black seats come with black Miko synthetic suede inserts, and there's a sport-style steering wheel plus red contrast stitching throughout the cabin.

The big differentiator is under the hood. While the ST gets the 3.0-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 with 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, the ST-Line sticks with the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 300 hp and 310 lb-ft. Ford hasn't detailed pricing for the 2022 Explorer lineup yet, but says the ST-Line will be $2,575 less dear than the Explorer Enthusiast ST, and $7,570 less expensive than the Explorer ST. That gives us a ballpark, but we're waiting to see by how much — or if — the ST comes down from it's current price of $50,245 by going to rear-wheel drive instead of all-wheel.

If you're looking for ST power with luxury, the King Ranch and Platinum trims now get the same output as the performance Explorer. Those two have used detuned versions of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 making 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. For 2022, they'll both be elevated to 400 ponies. They will also get a standard Technology Package that includes a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen, 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio and multi-contour seats.

The rest of the news is all about seats and colors. The off-road focused Timberline trim that entered the lineup for 2021 adds the option of a second-row bench seat, and all 2022 Explorers will offer the choice of a second-row bench seat or captain's chairs at no cost. The XLT trim optioned with the Sport Appearance Package gains Ebony seat bolsters paired with Light Slate inserts. Finally, Stone Blue and Burgundy Velvet join the color palette.

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