Ford had been testing the new-generation Explorer a while ago. It looks like the SUV is ready for the roads, and brings back the good old days of the nameplate.
The Ford Explorer established the four-door midsize SUV segment when it replaced the Ford Bronco II in 1990. Derived from the Ranger pickup, the Explorer came with a rear-wheel-drive setup and a longitudinally mounted engine. Through its first two generations, most Explorers sold were four-wheel-driven.
When the world moved eventually to space-saving drivetrain architecture like monocoque construction, front-wheel-drive and transverse engines, Ford had to step in line. The third-generation 2011 Explorer was substantially different with its car-like features.
For 2020, Ford is going back to its history books and rejuvenating the Explorer for a new decade. On offer with the 2020 Ford Explorer are rear-wheel-drive, a longitudinally mounted powertrain, and a new range of engines.
The new-generation Ford Explorer’s wheelbase lengthens by 152mm, unlocking more passenger space in each of its three rows. Ford also claims that with the two rear rows folded away, the Explorer can swallow four-foot-wide building materials flat on the floor without any drama. The reversible load-floor surface has carpet on one side and vinyl on the other. A powered liftgate and power-folding third-row seats are also available.
Ford has given the new Explorer its old 2.3-litre inline-four EcoBoost engine, now with a 300-hp output. Torque output is unchanged at 420Nm. The towing capacity for the Explorer 2.3-litre has gone up massively from 1,360kg to 2,400kg.
Up next is a new engine: a 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 that replaces the old 3.5-litre motor. The new mill is rated at 365hp and 515Nm. The V6 Explorer can tow 2,540kg of payload versus the 2,300kg limit of the outgoing one.
Both the engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford is toying with the idea of introducing a hybrid Explorer, but time will tell when these two will join the Explorer family.
The 2020 Ford Explorer will come in five trim levels: base, XLT, Limited, ST, and Platinum. Standard features across trims include pre-collision warning, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane assist, automatic headlamps, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connections for up to 10 devices, and lastly a FordPass Connect app that allows the driver to lock, unlock, and start the car using a smartphone.
Other available tech gimmickry includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch vertical touchscreen infotainment system compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless charging. The Explorer offers as many as four USB ports including a Type-C outlet, three 12-volt outlets, and a 110-volt outlet.