Ford Motor Company does two things exceptionally well. It produces the Ford F series trucks, which have been the nation’s bestseller for 41 continuous years. And it produces the Ford Explorer, the most popular SUV ever sold, with over 8 million Ford Explorers produced. And for 2020, Ford has completely redesigned this perennial favorite.
Part of the reason for the redesign is it is a fact that competition in the SUV market from Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Jeep are sharper than ever, making keeping up with the “Jone’s ” extremely important. The other reason is that Ford is going the way of simplicity and will be eliminating all it’s traditional passenger sedans except for the Ford Mustang and betting the farm on where it’s strength lies, in trucks and SUVs.
For that reason, alone, you can bet your bottom dollar that the redesign of the new 2020 Ford Explorer, was sweeping and awe-inspiring.
What to expect from the 2020 Ford Explorer?
With Ford Engineers throwing their chips all-in on the 2020 Ford Explorer, they listened carefully to what customers wanted in an SUV. So expect a lot of changes/ The six primary elements being:
- 1. An SUV that’s built solid by a truck, but drives as smooth as any passenger car they’ve owned.
- 2. An SUV with plenty of horsepower and get-up and go power, yet is mild on the pocketbook.
- 3. An SUV that you can fill up and drive for ages between fill-ups.
- 4. An SUV that has plenty of cargo room and is easy for adults (not just third-graders) to sit comfortably in the back.
- 5. A top-notch entertainment system
- 6. An SUV that offers upgrades in power for those towing, or simply liking
the control capacity of a bigger engine.
During our 2020 Ford Explore Review, we’ll cover all this, and more, in detail, including sharing all the PROs and the CONs of the vehicle. So strap on your seatbelt, and come along for the ride.
It all begins with the ride
Ford Engineers, noting that customers said the most important thing they want is the durability of a truck but handling and feel of a luxury sedan, set out to completely re-engineer the handling of the 2020 Ford Explorer.
When the Ford Explorer originally came out in 1991, it and many of its subsequent models were built on truck frames and were powered by rear-wheel drive. Then, in 2011, Ford switched to producing front-wheel-drive explorers, on the basis that front-wheel offered more room, and purists and lovers of power shuddered a bot. as another tradition went the way of the dodo bird.
It was true that the front-wheel-drive Explorers did have unibody construction, but as Edmund’s describes it, the ride was more like driving a used-car than people would have liked.
Now, in 2020, the Ford Explorer has returned to rear-wheel-drive, but still retains the strength of unibody construction. Edmunds described the collective feel of the 2020 Ford Explorers handling as a “dramatic improvement.” over the older models, 5th generation and before.
The effect of moving the power-to the real wheels has had other benefits or well. The cabin dimensions, now somewhat smaller, give a more natural sweep to the interior, and you feel less like you are in a “bubble.” In addition, the return to real-wheel-drive added 600 pounds of towing capacity to the engine.
Plenty of horses yet friendly for your budget
The base engine is a four-liter, turbocharged engine that cranks out a steady 300 horsepower, yet gets 27 miles per highway driving and 19 Mpg in the city. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. While the engine is the same powerhouse, the gas tanks have been enlarged on all Ford Explorers to provide a base of 400 miles between fill-ups, and 500 miles for the hybrid model.
Realistic rear seating
Perhaps the biggest knock from some reviewers is that the third row seating is a bit cramped, and though the Ford Explorer claims to hold 7 adults, really, six is the maximum adult capacity. This reviewer found that logic a bit spurious, as it seems to me, Ford Engineers are simply being realistic about seating, and that if you want to haul seven or more adults routinely in an SUV, then go ahead and by a full-size luxury SUV.
As for cubic feet of interior space, I believe the vast majority of Ford’s customers will find the storage space more than adequate for their needs. There might be SUVs out there with larger storage space, but what do they give away in the process?
An Supreme Entertainment System
Every 2020 Ford Explorer comes with an 8-inch infotainment screen and a 10-inch screen is optional. Besides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can keep track of things behind you, when backing up, with the display from the built-in rear camera.
Besides syncing to music, particularly if you choose a luxury model with a fantastic, Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, you will be altered to important features such as emergency braking, cross-traffic and blindspot monitoring, lane drifting alerts. and intelligent cruise control which keeps space between you and the car ahead of you at a safe distance. The Ford Explorer has simply one of the most superior Entertainment Systems on the market.
Unlike some SUV’s that offer only one basic choice in an engine, the 2020 Ford Explorer, in addition to the 2.3, turbocharged 4-cylinder, which offers one of the highest horsepower engines standard at 300 horsepower, also offers, according to trim level or options, includes a 313 horsepower, turbocharged V6 and a 365 power, turbocharged V6. So if power is your thing, the 2020 Ford Explorer has the options.
What others have said in their 2020 Ford Explorer Review
Car and Driver pretty much summed up their review by the title of the article:
The 2020 Ford Explorer Is a Huge Improvement Over the Old One
They stated that the new, rear-wheel drive platform mimics luxury SUVs.
Car and Driver also lauded Ford engineers for improving the weight balance, and transforming the Ford Explorer from one of the worst driving experiences in its class to one of the best.
Edmunds Ford Explorer Review also lauded the return to rear-wheel drive, and noted that combined with the 10-speed automatic transmission, not only is the drive great but the interior room has been enhanced.
Edmunds didn’t exactly rate the Explorer a slam dunk, however, noting that the interior trim is a little too plastic for their price, and with all the available options, a Ford Explorer can get pricey quick.
Kelly Blue Book, in their review of the 2020 Ford Explorer gave the vehicle Five out of Five, noting engine robustness, fuel efficiency and tons of built-in safety feature as a prime reason to buy, but noting strong competition from the Kia telluride, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Chevy Travers and the Toyota Highlander.
Finally, JD Powers in their 2020 Ford Explorer Review concluded that Fords newly designed SUV faces a tremendous amount of competition the midsized SUV category. bit felt the newly designed Ford Explorer was up to the task. Like some of the other reviews, they noted that going beyond the XLT and Explorer ST versions of the vehicle get pretty pricey as those that select platinum trims may not decide a mid-sized SUV is worth $60,000 to get an explorer in platinum configurations.
2020 Explorer Review Specs
Let’s start with the trim levels. The 2020 Ford Explorer comes in five trim levels, the base Explorer XLT model, the Limited, the ST, and the Platinum models. Included in the Limited Model is a Hybrid, which is fairly pricey and according to many reviewers, there are indeed better hybrids out there, notably Toyotas Hybrid, which has more room, and rides smoother.
2020 Ford Explorer Engine Options
The base engine for Ford Explorers is a 2.3 liter, Ecoboost, turbocharged V4, which offers 300 horsepower, second in its class only to the Chevy Traverse, and has plenty of torque. Car and Driver reported that their reviewers found the engine noise a bit tinny as if the engine was working hard, but none of the other reviews I’ve read made note of this. The 2.3 liter Ecoboost has been a tried and true engine for Ford for quite some time, and, so I wouldn’t let that persuade you, but would recommend you test-drive it for yourself.
Next is the 3.0 Liter, Turbo Charged V6, which produces an amazing 400 horsepower and 415 pounds per feet of torque. This V6 stands at the height of its class in the SUV market, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find another SUV with more horsepower without stepping up to a full-size luxury vehicle that offers a V8.
Finally, in the premium platinum edition, you get a 3.5 liter, twin turbocharged 365 horsepower V6 with 350 pounds of torque per square foot. And this twin turbo packs a punch.
Then there is the limited edition Hybrid, which has, in addition to the turbo engine, an electric motor paired with a lithium battery, all in an attempt to boost gas mileage while retaining torque and horsepower. The new gas mileage figures aren’t exactly official, but estimates are the new hybrid will expand gas mileage by as much as 3 miles per gallon.
2020 Ford Explorer Safety Options
If a lane-keeping system which not only alters you when the car is drifting but exhorts pressure on the steering wheel to gently guide you back, post-collision braking, which applies the brakes automatically in the event of an accident to avoid a secondary collision, a cruise control system that keeps you from getting too close to another car and a superior and lively infotainment system that appraises you of most safety conditions, including what’s up from behind with a standard. built-in rear camera system, the 2020 Ford Explorer is for you.
JD powers mentions that the previous generation Ford had some problems with crash tests and they hoped the new generation of Explorer does better, but I found contrary evidence that crash tests with a platinum model were rated superior, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in what JD powers said.
Overall, all SUVs in the marketplace are the safest, best-built vehicles the industry, has seen.
2020 Ford Explorer Gas Mileage
The EPA estimates for the Ford Explorer for 2020 with the standard 2.4 Liter V4 engine are 28 in the highway and 21 in the city. Expect to get 24 in the highway and 18 in the city with the 3.0 Liter V6, and the same for the platinum 3.0 Liter V6. There are no official estimates on the hybrid yet, but most auto experts expect around 27 miles per gallon overall.
The Interior of the 2020 Ford Explorer
The shift to rear-wheel drive has made remarkable changes to the 2020 Ford Explorers interior.
First, the steering wheel is better situated, and whether you are a shorter driver or a teller one, sitting in the 2020 Explorer as a driver gives you a great and sweeping vision of the road ahead, and if you are taller, there is plenty of driver legroom.
econd-row capacity and headroom are great and made even more comfortable if you elect to go with cabin seats.
As I’ve said earlier, the knock on the Explorer compared to competitors’ models is that have more third-row room. I differ in that I figure if you are going to buy an SUV and expect to carry 7 adults comfortably, buy a larger (and more costly) SUV.
The 2020 Ford Explorer packs 18.2 feet of cargo space behind the third-row seat, expands to 47.9 feet if the third row is folded down, and if both the second and third-row seats are laid flat, expands to a 87.8 cubic feet.
Larger SUVs such as the GMC Yukon have up to 120 feet of cargo capacity. But by comparison, the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot have around 4 cubic space less carrying capacity.
Thanks to the rare, rear-wheel-drive feature, the interior space of the new Explorer feels more car-like, which is what drivers want, and gives you less of that station-wagon feel other SUVs seem to have.
The other knock, by some reviewers, is that the interior feels “cheap.” I’ll give them that, noting that it seems to be the Ford Way, as the same knock is on its number one light-duty truck, which has been the best selling truck for many years. It seems that
Ford Engineers prefer to spend most of their efforts under the hood, which is to build a solid, build tough, truck-like SUV that rides like a dream.
Vehicles similar to the 2020 Ford Explorer
Competition is tough in the midsize SUV market. Motortrend, comparing the 2020 Ford Explorer with the 2020 Hyundai Palisades gave the nod to the Hyundai Palisades, noting luxury rarely seen in SUVs of this class while giving a heads-up to power to the Explorer. Ford also won by a couple of miles per gallon in the economy factor.
Overall though, the nod went to the Hyundai.
In another review, Top Speed compared the 2020 Explorer to the Honda Pilot, and gave the explorer a positive note for almost everything except possibly the price.
The felt that in both the styling, optional engines (Honda only offers one), and higher horsepower, Ford outclassed the Pilot in many ways.
Finally, Motortrend, in comparing the 2020 Ford Explorer with Toyotas 2020 Highlander, gave the not to the Toyota because of that familiar, plastic, feel of the Ford. If you are moving kids day in and day out due to school or soccer practice, the Highlander is your better bet, but with only one engine available, the Explorer maybe your better option if you frequently tow a boat to the lake.
2020 Ford Explorer Price
A base model Explorer will run you around $34,000 dollars, while an XLT is around $38,000 dollars, a limited edition ST will run you around $50,000, an Explorer Hybrid will run around $52,000, and a platinum version will run about $58,000.
We give the 2020 Ford Explorer a 4.2 out of 5. With this SUV you are getting most of what you want in an SUV with a comfortable ride and a “built tough.” reputation.
We gave the Ford Explorer Hybrid a 4 out of 5, noting its tendency for roughness when converting from gasoline to electricity and back again. If you want a hybrid, we recommend a hybrid.
But don’t just go by a reviewer’s opinion, mine or anyone else’s. Go to the dealership and test-drive three midsize SUVs you really like. Then decide. Also don’t miss our 2021 Ford Explorer preview.