The Detroit-based car manufacturer Ford is quite successful with its fifth-generation Explorer crossover in the United States with a total of 227,732 units sold out in 2018. This five-door SUV received many major improvements in the past few years. That’s not surprising because Explorer is one of the most popular crossovers in the U.S. And at the 2019 New York Auto Show earlier this year, Ford has officially introduced its sixth-generation 2020 Explorer crossover with many significant changes compared to its predecessor and the availability of a new hybrid version.
Ford first launched the four-door Explorer SUV in 1990 to replace Bronco II, who became his successor at that time. It shares the same architecture platform with all-wheel drive Ranger pickup truck and uses all-wheel drive as standard. And then in 2011, the third-generation Explorer came to the market with standard front-wheel drive, a transverse-engine layout, and it’s entirely based on the unibody structure. Now Ford is again using rear-wheel drive with a longitudinal-engine layout for the 2020 Explorer crossover, although the front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive setup is still very popular in the U.S. to date.
What needs to be underlined is that the redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer shares the same architecture platform with the 2020 Lincoln Aviator mid-size luxury SUV that has just been released to the U.S. market. The Dearborn factory has confirmed that the latest Explorer now offers more passenger space in each of its three rows seats and has a slightly longer overall dimension than its predecessor. In addition, it’s also equipped with a stretched wheelbase, roughly about 6-inches longer than the current model.
Tech Specs and Engine Options
Ford provides several different powertrain and trim options for the upcoming Explorer. Under the hood, the base 2020 Ford Explorer is powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox rated at 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Ford seems to have done some performance tweaks on their EcoBoost 2.3L turbo unit. Evidently there was an increase in horsepower output by as much as 20 HP, which means it increased from 280 HP to 300 HP. Thanks to this powertrain upgrade, the new Explorer base trim also gets an increase in towing capacity of 3,000 pounds from the previous model. So the base model is currently able to offer 5,300 pounds maximum towing capacity. Apart from that, customers can choose the desired drive wheel configurations, both all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive.
For buyers who want more power, they can drop the choice on a turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission capable of cranks out up to 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. The new EcoBoost 3.0L turbo engine is able to offer a 5,600 pounds maximum towing capacity. However, customers must upgrade from the base trim to Platinum trim to get this powertrain. What should be noted is that Ford no longer offers a 350-HP 3.5-liter turbo V6 engine on the new Explorer crossover. The most powerful variant of the 2020 Ford Explorer with a ST badge is also rumored to be coming in the near future. It’s rumored to be powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine (possibly with a turbocharged EcoBoost) capable of delivering up to 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque.
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Besides the conventional gasoline powertrain, the Dearborn factory also offers the 2020 Ford Explorer hybrid with a naturally-aspirated 3.3-liter V6 engine and an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery installed under the second row seats. Of course, improving fuel economy is everything for hybrid powertrain. And it’s claimed to provide a combined output of up to 318 horsepower with EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings at 24 mpg combined. In order to transfer power to all four wheels, this hybrid powertrain is paired to a 10-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive configurations.
Speaking of its interior features, the upcoming Explorer five-door SUV is offered with several technology features on its interior, including a 10.1-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, FordPass Connect app, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, wireless device charging, USB ports type-C, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices. While the standard safety equipment carried by this new crossover includes a blind-spot monitoring system, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection system, and automatic headlamps.
Pricing and Release Date
Release date and pricing details have been confirmed at this moment. The 2020 Ford Explorer is scheduled to arrive at U.S. dealerships this summer with a starting price of $33,860 for the base trim. This means there’s a price increase of $400 from the outgoing model. There are several trim levels that buyers can choose from, including standard, XLT, Limited, ST, and Platinum.
Image Credit: Ford