Early this summer we tested the all-new Ford Explorer and gave a detailed review of Ford’s midsize SUV.
You can read this review at https://www.autoandroad.com/2020/07/2020-ford-explorer-titanium-boldt-and-better/
A few weeks later, we had the opportunity to test-drive the sportier and more powerful ST. On this occasion, we took a trip to Paris, Ontario.
2020 Ford Explorer ST 4WD: Engine and powertrain
The range-topping Platinum trim we tested earlier has the 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine that delivers 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. For the ST version, Ford Performance Division upgraded this engine to 400 horses and 415 lb-ft of torque. A difference that you cannot feel at every mile of your trip. It is not because of the underpowered ST, but the Platinum that already has a powerful engine. And few people would expect a big SUV to be a sports car (unless we talk something crazy like a Durango Hellcat)
The ST engine is mated to a 10-speed transmission and comes with all-wheel drive.
2020 Ford Explorer ST 4WD: Driving impressions
The new generation Explorer has now better driving characteristics. The all-wheel system primarily powers the back axle, (instead of FWD earlier), and automatically sending torque to the front as needed for the driving conditions.
This improved the steering response with better weight distribution and sporty feeling. As it became standard for new Ford vehicles, a dial button is used for automatic shifting and paddle shifters for the sequential manual mode complement the sporty character of the ST.
Another dial selector is used for drive modes, including for off-road and slippery surfaces. The Sport setting tightens the steering, quickens the throttle response, and adjusts the shift patterns. All these features move the ST one step closer to a sports vehicle. The body roll is better and more car-like compared to Titanium. But Sports is relative and the driving characteristics cannot hide the fact that the ST is a midsize SUV.
Personal tastes may vary. For me, the Titanium would be the preferred model.
About Paris, Ontario
Paris, a small town of 12 thousand inhabitants is a perfect weekend getaway or even a day trip from Toronto. It is located in Southern Ontario’s Brant County and is like a suburb of Bradford. Only a half-hour drive west of Hamilton. If you cannot afford a trip to Paris, France, this is not a bad alternative.
Leaving from East York, Toronto, in the late morning, we took Gardiner Expressway and 403 and easily reached the city without much traffic comfortably in less than one hour and a half.
Paris is a beautiful yet relatively quiet place at the Grand River with a compact and walkable historic downtown. Readers of Harrowsmith Magazine chose Paris as “the Prettiest Little Town in Canada”.
Hiram Capron, a former resident of Vermont founded the city in 1829. He bought the land at the Forks of the Grand for a mere $10,000 and created small town lots thus laying the foundation of the city. Capron also built a grist mill on the present townsite and took the initiative to open an iron foundry for the mining of gypsum. In fact, the name of the city originates from the nearby deposits of gypsum, which is used to make plaster of Paris. Paris a building material used for the protective or decorative coating of walls and ceilings and for moulding and casting decorative elements. This material was discovered in 1793 in the area.
Paris is worth a visit to see wonderful examples of cobblestone architecture if not anything else. In fact, Paris is also known as the Cobblestone Capital of Canada. During our walking tour in downtown, we had to chance to see some of around a dozen buildings and two churches which were built in the mid 19th century and well preserved. The famous New York architect Levi Boughton is “responsible” for this beautiful masonry with the rounded, lake washed, cobblestones.
The historic Penman Dam is a landmark place that you cannot afford not to see when you are in Paris. Serdar, our photographer, the man usually behind the camera was caught off-guard this time.
Before entering the old downtown via the William Street Bridge the historic Penman’s Dam is on your right and about 200 meters upriver. The Penman clothing company built this dam to provide waterpower to run their mills 100 years ago. Now, this place is a perfect spot to rest and relax with a picnic. The faux waterfall is said to offer an impressive view at night, illuminated by spectacular colours. Known as “Lighting of the Paris Falls”. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to stay so long. However, we parked our car, walked back to the bridge and enjoyed the view without any hassle. The perfect weather with a nice breeze helped greatly.
Many people know that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. But fewer people do know that this happened in Brant County. On August 10, 1876, Robert White Shoe Store in Paris, Ontario. received Bell’s first long-distance phone call. The term “long-distance” is a relative term because this call originated from Brantford, Ontario, only around 10 kilometres. But it was a turning point in the history of communication and made history!
If you are more interested in Bell and this historic call, you can visit the Bell Homestead National Historic Site, a 20-minute drive from Paris.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit this place.
We finished the day with a visit to Penmarvian Retirement Home. Hiram Capron, the founder of Paris built this residence, which was named Riverview Hall by then, in 1845. At this time it was a modest two-story building overlooking the Grand River. In 1887 local industrialist, John Penman purchased the home and turned the building into today’s form with its glorious and extensive arrays of turrets, towers and arches. Penman died in 1931 willed the home along with an operating budget to the local Presbyterian Church for use as a retirement residence for church clergy. And after the years of turbulence and financial hardships, Penmarvian Retirement home maintains its status as a unique place to retire and a wonderful architectural heritage of Paris, ON.
For more on Penmarvian Retirement Home, you can visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/onasill/29094888497
2020 Ford Explorer ST 4WD: Pricing
For the pricing and specifications of our tester, please see the window sticker below:
2020 Ford Explorer ST 4WD: Conclusion
The ST version is more fun to drive than its Titanium cousin with very similar performance features. But the ST is not a sports car and nothing like, for instance, a Durango Hellcat. The extra power over the regular model we tested earlier is negligible unless you give credit the bolder, sportier look and pay attention to the prestige of the ST badge.
It is up to the personal preferences of each driver. No matter which model you choose, the Explorer is a strong contender among the midsize SUVs.
For the most up-to-date and detailed information, please visit http://www.ford.ca
Article by Varol McKars
Photos by Serdar Yilgoren