The Ford Explorer returns to its roots. Well, sort of. After almost a decade of sitting on front-wheel-drive underpinnings, the 2020 Explorer once again mounts its engine longitudinally and sends its power toward the rear wheels. It’s still a unibody chassis, but that’s not stopping Ford from adding to the Explorer’s inherent capability.
Featuring a standard turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder that Ford projects will produce more than 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, the standard Explorer is able to tow up to 5,300 pounds when equipped with the Tow package.
Those in search of more grunt and capability can once again equip the Explorer with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine. The new 3.0-liter engine is expected to make 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, the latter of which betters the prior EcoBoost V6 engine by 30 lb-ft. The extra oomph helps V6-equipped Explorers tow up to 5,600 pounds. Regardless of engine, every Explorer comes standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive remains an available extra.
The 2020 Explorer is as much a family vehicle as it is a workhorse, and Ford blesses its three-row crossover with a new sliding second-row seat that eases entry to the rearmost row.
As in the current Explorer, the new crossover is offered in base, XLT, Limited, and Platinum trims, the latter of which is available exclusively with the EcoBoost V6 engine. No matter the engine or trim, all 2020 Explorers boast standard comfort and convenience features such as a power-operated rear hatch, a 4G LTE WiFi hot spot that can host up to 10 devices, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. A larger 10.1-inch setup is also available, as is a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.
On the safety front, every Explorer now includes Co-Pilot360, the Blue Oval’s suite of passive and active safety features that consists of a blind-spot monitor with a cross-traffic alert system, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and a forward collision system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection. Additionally, the Explorer is available with an adaptive cruise control system with lane-centering technology, an automatic rear braking system, and Ford’s latest parking assistant, dubbed Active Park Assist 2.0, which is able to parallel or perpendicularly park the Explorer without the driver needing to touch the steering wheel or pedals.