Days after it announced a Performance Calibration kit for the 2.3-liter-powered Bronco, Ford Performance released a similar upgrade for the Explorer ST. The tune adds about 30 horsepower to SUVs built between the 2020 and 2022 model years without voiding the warranty.
Stock, the hot-rodded variant of the Explorer is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 rated at 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. Ford's tune injects up to 30 horsepower and 35 pound-feet of torque into the driveline, raising the six's output to 430 horses and 467 pound-feet of twist. The Blue Oval also notes that the Performance Calibration kit improves the throttle response throughout the rev range. The tune optimizes the 10-speed automatic transmission's shift schedule as well, though performance specifications aren't available.
There are several catches, however. First, these benefits can only be unlocked by filling the tank with premium gasoline. Second, installing the tune on a 2022 Explorer ST is illegal in California, where regulators began cracking down on software that alters a car's ECU in 2021. It's legal on 2020 and 2021 models in California and on every ST regardless of model year in the rest of the nation.
Ford Performance developed the software in-house and it's covered by a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty plan that starts on the vehicle's in-service date. On sale now, the Ford Explorer ST's Performance Calibration kit costs $825 including a ProCal 4 hand-held tuner.