The Ford Explorer has been going strong for about 29 years, and this is the 6th generation model to continue that story. Except the previous generation model, the Explorer was always built on a rear-wheel drive architecture.
The 2020 model goes back to that architecture, a new one this time, which is also shared with the 2020 Lincoln Aviator. The new rear-wheel-drive architecture according to Ford, enables a sportier, more athletic design, improved on- and off-road capability and 600 pounds more in maximum towing capacity when properly equipped.
All six generations of Ford Explorer
As for the design, the Explorer’s blacked-out A-pillars and D-pillars and body-colored C-pillars – are retained. Changes to the overall profile include a more sloping roofline and shorter front overhang, giving the vehicle a sportier appearance.
The SUV comes standard with 18-inch painted aluminium wheels, while the buyers can opt for one of seven wheel designs, including 21-inch premium aluminium wheels available on Platinum models. Other Platinum differentiators include door handles with satin aluminium insert, liftgate appliqué, lower body side cladding, roof-rack side rails and a unique grille with satin aluminium finish. Platinum models also feature a standard twin-panel moonroof.
On the inside, an iPad-like 10.1-inch portrait-mounted SYNC 3 system is optional. The touchscreen shares information with the optional 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster. More options include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Waze navigation, 980-watt 14-speaker B&O premium audio system, wireless charging pad, retractable sunshades for second row, and PowerFold third-row seats.
Standard features include 8-inch SYNC 3 system, FordPass Connect that serves 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 mobile devices, leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dashboard, door and front console armrests.
Safety and driver assistance
The 2020 Ford Explorer comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360 – a suite of driver-assist technologies which includes Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping System, Rearview camera with built-in lens cleaner, and Auto headlamps with auto high-beams.
Other optional Co-Pilot360 technologies include Evasive Steering Assist, which provides steering support to help avoid a collision; and Post-Impact Braking to lessen injury and damage caused by a secondary crash event.
Engine lineup for the 2020 Explorer features a pair of EcoBoost entries – a 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine that comes standard on base, XLT and Limited models, and a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that powers the Explorer Platinum.
The reworked 2.3L engine is projected to produce 300 hp and 310 lb.-ft. (420 Nm) of torque, with improved performance over the outgoing Explorer equipped with the same engine. The 3.0L V6 develops 365 hp and 380 lb.-ft. (515 Nm) of torque with 93-octane gas. Transmission is a 10-speed automatic.
Models equipped with 3.0 EcoBoost can tow up to 5,600 pounds, a 12 percent increase over outgoing models with 3.5L EcoBoost, apparently. New models with 2.3L EcoBoost and Class III Trailer Tow Package can tow up to 5,300 pounds, versus the 3,000 pounds today’s similarly equipped Explorer is capable of, Ford said.
The optional Terrain Management System comes with up to 7 selectable drive modes – normal, trail, deep snow and sand, slippery, sport, tow/haul and a new eco mode, each come with special 3D animated graphics in the aforementioned 12.3-inch digital cluster. Rear-wheel-only Explorer drive modes include normal, sport, trail, slippery, tow/haul and eco.