The 2022 Ford Explorer ST will get a rear-wheel-drive option, the automaker confirmed Friday in a press release. It's one of a handful of changes to the three-row mid-size SUV for the new model year.
Launched with the rest of the current-generation Explorer lineup for the 2020 model year, the ST was previously all-wheel drive only. Now enthusiasts will be able to take better advantage of the Explorer's platform with the more performance-friendly rear-wheel-drive layout. Rear-wheel drive will now be the default, with all-wheel drive remaining as an option, according to Ford.
2022 Ford Explorer ST
The ST's 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 remains unchanged. It makes the same 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque as before, and is coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The 2022 Explorer also gets a lower-level ST-Line model, with the same styling features as the full-fat Explorer ST, but with a less powerful engine. Instead of the twin-turbo V-6, the Explorer ST-Line uses the 2.3-liter turbo-4 used in the base, XLT, and Limited trim levels. This engine produces 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, and is also teamed with a 10-speed automatic.
Ford said the ST-Line will be positioned between the Explorer XLT and Limited when sales begin later this year. The new model will have a base price $7,570 less than the ST, and $2,575 less than the Enthusiast ST (which has less standard equipment than the regular ST). Full pricing information will be released closer to launch.
2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line
Regardless of trim level, Ford is also making the choice of a second-row bench seat or captain's chairs a no-cost option for 2022. A second-row bench is also now available on the outdoorsy Timberline model, which was introduced for 2021.
The Platinum and King Ranch models also get the 400-hp engine as standard equipment, along with a standard Technology Package that includes a 10.1-inch touchscreen, multi-contour seats, and a 14-speaker B&O audio system.
New seat trim for the XLT Sport Appearance Package and two new colors—Stone Blue and Burgundy Velvet—round out the changes.