Probably half of you already know what I’m talking about just from the headline. For the other half: Buckle up, pals. Because if you’ve never looked closely at the exhaust tips on the Ford Explorer ST, you’re about to enter a liminal space between truth and fakeness, a zone occupied fully and exclusively by the four rings of chrome-plated deception installed on the back of every Explorer ST that Ford has built since the high-performance variant launched in 2020.
I was inspired to write this after a visit to my local Lowe’s yesterday afternoon, when I spotted a 2020-ish Explorer ST in the parking lot. Somehow, this must have been the first time in my life that I got close enough to an ST to grasp what’s going on with these exhaust tips — and again, I know I’m late to this topic, and the Explorer superfans have all had their laugh and moved on. But this blew my mind, and now I’m sharing it with you.
Take a close look at what’s going on here. The tips are polished dress-up bits connected to a downturned exhaust. Here’s another angle to give you a better understanding of what’s going on.
And another angle:
Fraud! Deception! A lying affront to all things exhaust! And yet, somehow ... not.
We can’t call these “fake exhaust tips,” like what we see on certain Lamborghini Miuras and most modern VW Group products. Unlike those examples, exhaust actually flows through the tips installed on the Ford Explorer ST! Just in the most deranged, unexpected way possible.
I’m struggling to come up with an analogy here. It’s like having a trash can where the lid is permanently glued shut and everything goes in and out through a trap door at the bottom. Or a house where the key to the front door opened a secret portal in a blank wall a few feet away.
I dunno. My brain is fully broken by the Explorer ST’s exhaust tips.
So they’re not “fake,” but they certainly don’t work the way their image makes you think they would. They’re not “functional,” either — the car would operate exactly the same if you removed them. But then again, that’s true of any decorative ring of polished metal that an automaker could attach to the end of the actual exhaust pipes. Definitionally, then, this is a real, working exhaust tip. One that just happens to engage in delightful, totally unexpected subterfuge.
I thought I’d hate it, but I love it. God bless you, sneaky exhaust tips.