It is a long road, and Explorer's journey began prosperously only to have its share of agony so early. The Ford Explorer is one of the most popular mid-size SUVs to be ever sold in the US but soon found itself on some shaky grounds. Turn around and there's an Explorer, it is so common to the sight. Fate seems to change rapidly for the Explorer and it somewhere felt that the crossover is no longer a priority for Ford. Since 2011, the first four generations of Ford Explorer were amid speculations regarding truck-based SUV design owing to its body-on-frame architecture, derived from Volvo. The fifth-generation Explorer, ending in 2019 is denounced for a traverse engine setup. The wait is long and my dream of you doesn't end, Ford has a plan.
Refresh the whole story, that's Ford's answer to shut all the chatters speculating Explorer SUV. With the kind of engineering prowess, Ford has, it was all matter of a shift in attention. The 2020 Ford Explorer is completely revamped with nothing identical to its predecessor. From a new chassis with a uni-body construction to a rear-wheel-drive architecture with a longitudinal engine, it is just the nameplate that remains. The 2020 Ford Explorer comes with an impressive level of features and improved safety technology. Despite these perks, the redesigned Explorer has a tough time wrestling with many of its well-rounded rivals that give more capacious third rows and stylish interiors, while costing less.
365 hp @ 5500 rpm, 3 L, V-6, Flex-fuel (unleaded/e85)
10-speed Automatic w/SelectShift
all wheel drive
America always had a fandom for the Ford Explorer, be it crossover's starring role in the movie "Jurrasic Park" where it drove some automotive dinosaurs(station wagons and minivans) to extinction or its crowded city streets. Saying goodbye to the 5th gen after long nine years, the sixth-generation Ford Explorer gets a complete overhaul with piles of new features. Now it is presented in modern styling along with enhanced driving capability and power. The Explorer trims (Base, XLT, Limited, and Platinum) hits a different chord, thanks to multiple powertrains it can be optioned.
Following the refresh, Ford offers the 2020 Explorer in four trims paired with two powerful engine options. The most enticing fact about the 2020 Explorer is that it is the best of both worlds. The lower half of Explorer lineup rivals with the entry-level mid-size crossovers while the upper-half shares the luxury of more plush rivals. The standard rear-wheel-drive delivers the driving dynamics of more premium rivals, hard to find at such low price. However, Ford offers intelligent 4WD across the Explorer lineup, giving an additional advantage in wet or snowy weather. The starting price of the 2020 Ford Explorer is $32,765 for the base, which gets you base spec 2.3 L inline-4, fabric seats, and old school SYNC infotainment. The top of the line Explorer Platinum has a hefty $58,250 price tag and has Lincoln rivaling luxury, thanks to interior draped in real wood and leather. It seems the Explorer has borrowed a lot of premium qualities from the Lincoln Aviator, built under same roof at Ford's factory in Chicago.
Tri-zone electronic temperature control
Includes Base model’s features and adds -
Includes XLT’s features and adds -
Includes Limited's features and adds
Air filtration system
10-way power driver’s seat including power lumbar
Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror
Active Park Assist 2.0
Configurable daytime running lights
LED Signature Lighting
Forward Sensing System
Illuminated front scuff plates
Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start
Steering wheel, Heated, leather-wrapped with paddle shifters
Rearview camera with washer
Second-row captain seats with Power-Assist Fold
Sony Premium Brand Stereo System with 12 speakers
Roof rack side rails, black with black end caps
Universal Garage Door Opener
Heated Steering Wheel
FordPass Connect 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot
B&O Sound system by Bang & Olufsen
Body-color door handles with satin aluminum insert
Cloth seating surfaces
Voice-Activated Navigation System
Satin Chrome lower bodyside cladding insert
LED Headlamps and Taillamps
Leather seating surfaces
Tri-Diamond Perforated Leather Seating Surfaces
Privacy Glass, Second and Third Rows
Dual Chrome Exhaust Tips
Quad Chrome Exhaust Tips
Which do we recommend?
Ford brings Christmas early this year with the all-new bespoke Explorer equipped with an overwhelming list of features and refined powertrains. Based on the value for money, we recommend the Ford Explorer Limited model which gives the most bang for the buck. It has an efficient and powerful 2.3 L EcoBoost engine under the hood while the interiors up the ante with a luxurious and highly-equipped cabin.
2020 Ford Explorer Engine and Performance
Replacing the naturally-aspirated V6, the turbocharged inline-four-cylinder which was optional until last year is now standard with the 2020 Explorer Base, XLT and Limited trim. Derived from the Mustang and Focus RS, the Ecoboost turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine under the Explorer’s hood steps-up the power game, and now packs 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.
That is 10 extra ponies and a mountainous 55 lb-ft more torque. All of the powertrains come mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. Ford offers a more powerful mill under the hood of Explorer Platinum, a twin-turbo 3.0-liter Ecoboost V6 churns out 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. The beefed-up Platinum delivers the extra bit of excitement while being cossetted in luxurious comfort.
Ford's longitudinally-mounted rear-biased engine provides more than enough punch to merge into freeways and keep up at highway speed. The smooth-shifting automatic transmission offers a low first-gear ratio that does a decent job mimicking a traditional 4WD when the off-road mode is engaged or trailer is attached. Gear eight, nine, and ten are all overdrive ratio's and they only come into play after you get on the highway. For all-weather capability, Ford rationally provides an intelligent 4WD is optional.
2.3-L Turbocharged Inline-4
2.4L Turbocharged Subaru Boxer
3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6
3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6
Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer beat the Subaru Ascent at the horsepower game. Toyota Highlander is outclassed by its competition. But when we talk about torque, Subaru takes an obvious lead with its turbocharged boxer engine’s 277 lb.-ft. torque output. The mid-size SUVs hardly have any room for newcomers but it seems the all-new Explorer has the right mix of ingredients to please your platter.
How fast is the Ford Explorer?
Owing to new light-weight construction, the new Ford Explorer is about 200 pounds lighter than its outgoing model Citing the fact, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost is pretty good with solid power delivery. The Ford and GM co-developed 10-speed automatic transmission is well-calibrated to route the power and hits the 60 mph from a standstill in 6.8 seconds. The bigger V6 packs even more punch, substantially equipping you with a neck-snapping acceleration.
What do these numbers translate to? Well, the numbers reflect on the fact that the Explorer is no slouch. You have enough pulling power at all times and you won't be left wanting for more. Moreover, the 4WD driving dynamics further complement the acceleration figures.
2.4L Turbocharged Subaru Boxer
3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6
3.5L Naturally Aspirated V6
The 2020 Explorer base is not the fastest of the lot. The 2020 Honda pilot leads the explorer by 0.6 seconds. The Toyota counterpart is last to cross the 60 mph line. However, if its the speed that you demand, Explorer Platinum has your covered. Still not satisfied, we knew it, Ford expands its ST Performance now to Explorer as well.
How good are the Ford Explorer's ride and handling?
The Ford Explorer has its priorities set right - comfort over everything else. The suspension has been tuned to offer a supple ride quality. Even on longer journeys, your family would be cocooned in comfort. Explorer can soak up the undulations from bad road surfaces without any drama. High-speed ride quality is composed and there is no nervous body movement at such speeds.
Engaging handling and fun to drive characteristics are low on the Ford Explorer`s priority list. Effortless, safe, and family-friendly characteristics are high on the list – a good thing for a family crossover. Owing to its large exterior dimensions, the Ford Explorer can be cumbersome to maneuver in the tight spots while driving in town.
Engaging handling and fun to drive characteristics are down on the explorer`s list of priorities. The SUV can handle the sudden change in direction with aplomb so you can rely on it to save you from hairy situations. However, it’s lacking in one area where it really shouldn’t. Most people are expected to drive it in town and this Ford SUV is cumbersome in tight situations being heaviest and lengthiest among the rivals.
What about the Ford Explorer's braking performance?
The Ford Explorer comes with decent sets of brakes which is backed by impressive stopping power. The pedal has a nice linear action around town, and it's easy to stop smoothly. The wider dimensions of the Explorer shows some nose-dive under heavy braking conditions, but its until you get used to it.
The Ford Explorer will take around 121 foot to stop from 60 mph with the optional summer tires which remarkable for such a heavy SUV. There is a considerable gain in the stopping power, all because of the new chassis and smaller block under the hood of Explorer.
Brake Rotors Front
Brake Rotors Rear
The Ford Explorer manages to score an impressive stopping distance. Honda Pilot’s estimated braking distance is 117 ft, yet again Honda steals the podium. However, the Toyota Highlander with its estimated stopping distance of 126 ft, bites the dust.
How much is the Ford Explorer's towing capacity?
The Ford Explorer tow capacity will depend on the powertrain option that you choose. With the 300-hp Explorer can tow 5,300 while the V6 powered Explorer can tow around 5,600 pounds when equipped with an optional towing package (Trailer Tow Class 3 package).
Thereby, opting for the Platinum model gives more towing capacity than the rest of the lineup. Ford's blind-spot monitoring system sees the blind-spot behind the trailer to further ease the driving.
All SUVs other than the Highlander can tow 5,000lbs. The poor-run of Toyota Highlander continues with below-average performance. The 2020 Explorer beats its outgoing model's maximum towing capacity of 5000 lbs.
Last year most of the customers complained that the Explorer's fuel tank is not big enough and most of the time is wasted refueling at the gas stations. To your respite, the 2020 Ford Explorer can travel in excess of 400 miles and the Hybrid variant extends the range up to 500 miles on a single refill. A rear-wheel-drive Explorer equipped with the 2.3-liter engine is rated by the EPA at 21/28 mpg city/highway. The mpg further drops by one with the 4WD setup. However, the six-cylinder Platinum trims hets EPA ratings of 18/24 mpg. Whatsoever is the trim level, the Explorer can not be considered as frugal.
The new platform of Ford Explorer gives far more benefits underneath, certainly more than one can imagine. The new platform grants a well-proportionate interior to the Ford Explorer. Now, the Explorer's cabin is much more soothing and ergonomic than the predecessor. A seven-seater layout comes standard but you can replace the second-row bench with captain's chair, standard on XLT and above models.
The trade-off is reasonable as the extra comfort takes away seating of one. The base and the XLT trim come with standard cloth upholstery and soft-touch material around. If you want something more premium than the Limited trim comes with leatherette upholstery. One thing that would be appreciated is Explorer’s capacity to filter out road noise. The cabin is a quiet place to be and is well equipped to take on longer journeys. As per Ford, the interior is designed in such a way that the passenger will feel complete comfort and luxury.
First Row (head/shoulder/leg) (in)
Second Row (head/shoulder/leg) (in)
40/ 60.3/ 38.6
Third Row (head/shoulder/leg) (in)
The cabin features three rows of seating enabled with sliding second-row seats controlled at a touch of a button So, accessing the third row won't be an uphill task. The first and second rows of Explorer are spacious enough to stretch but its the cramped third-row is a letdown. The third-row bench lacks proper cushioning and thigh-support.
To further reduce its utility, the seating position at the rear is irking as the knees touch the chest. The Explorer gets a twin-panel moonroof that ensures a good amount of light inside the cabin. The Platinum trim features premium upholstery and patterns.
What comfort features will keep you hooked in the Ford Explorer?
Ford Explorer comes with a decent list of interior features after seeing an upgrade for the 2020 model. Some of these features are listed below:
Tilting and telescopic steering column
Heated steering wheel
Memory driver’s seat
Power driver’s seat
Heated Front Seats
Cooled Front seats
What's there to entertain you in Ford Explorer?
The base and XLT trims are equipped with Ford’s SYNC infotainment system which comes with a standard 6-speaker audio system and a 8.0" touchscreen display. Moving up the trim ladder enhances the touchscreen display to a 10.1" vertically mounted screen. Ford’s SYNC3 system which is a standard feature on the Limited and above trim is available as an option on the XLT trim. SYNC 3 is a user-friendly system and enjoys popularity in the market for its user experience.
This interface is intuitive and offers a decent response time. Without the 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, the infotainment feels incomplete and Ford does not skimp it. The smartphone integration is quick, thanks to standard Apple Carplay, Android Auto and even Amazon Alexa. It comes loaded with the following tech
AM/FM Stereo HD Radio
Speed-Sensitive Volume Control
Auxiliary Audio Input and USB With External Media Control
Satellite Radio Service
6 Total Sony Premium Brand Speakers including a Subwoofer
Smart Device Integration
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Onboard Hands-Free Communication System
How practical is the new Ford Explorer?
The cargo capacity behind the third row is the best in class for the Ford Explorer. But with folded seats, the cargo volume isn’t at par with the competition. With the rear seats folded the Explorer frees up 43.9 cu-ft. of space while with both the rows folded, the cargo area increases to 81.7 cu-ft.
The higher trims come with hands-free liftgate which can be a boon when you are carrying luggage in both your hands. The 2020 Explorer features a 40/20/40 split-folding second-row and a 50/50 split-folding third-row as standard. However, the pricier Explorer features a power-folding third row, that adds to the convenience.
Getting Captain's chair makes the second row far more comfortable while also allowing easy third-row access. In case you opt for the optional trailer package, your Explorer will benefit from the cargo management system that adds extra pockets in the rear cargo area and sub-floor storage option. Overall, the 2020 Ford Explorer offers a reduced cargo space than its 2019 model, owing to a slightly shorter wheelbase of the new model.
Though the Ford Explorer looks very similar to the 2019 iteration, there has been a lot of changes. First of all, the ladder frame is now replaced with a unibody structure that is rear-biased. Explorer went from being a body-on-frame, truck-based SUV for its first four generations to be a genuine crossover for its fifth.
The front and rear overhangs are now shorter and there is a steep increase in departure angles. Slimmer headlights are enclosed between a more geometrical grille, and both the upward sweep of the character lines and tapered roof give the new Explorer an athletic stance.
The front grille on the high-spec trims looks very similar to the police interceptor vehicle, so you scare someone off by getting in their rearview mirror. Ford's change to a base rear-drive format, let designers push the wheels out, improving approach and departure angles. The exhaust is hidden below well and the reflectors are covered in chrome.
Newly updated rivals pose a challenge to the aging Ford Explorer. The all-new Subaru Ascent is surely a prime contender in the three-row crossover segment. It has the best in a class ground clearance of 8.7-inches and sits on a wheelbase of 113.8-inches.
What are the most notable exterior features on the Ford Explorer?
The 2020 Ford Explorer runs atop 18-inch wheels as standard while moving up the trim ladder can get you a bigger 20-inch version. The V6 powered Platinum uses the 20-inch wheels as standard, why not? It has more power under its hood. Moving from the Limited model to the Platinum replaces the dual-tip chrome exhaust with quad-tip counterparts. More standard exterior features with the 2020 Ford Explorer are listed below:
A new life of the Explorer gains heavily from its new platform and so does the safety. Ford further enhanced the standard safety equipment list to keep you and your family safe. The 2020 Explorer comes with state of the art safety equipment that allows it to score well on the safety tests conducted by the agencies.
However, the NHTSA is yet to reveal the safety ratings of the Explorer, we have IIHS crash ratings to quantify it for you. The 2020 Explorer gets a "Good" rating for most of its test except the small front overlap and headlights being acceptable.
What are standard safety features in the 2020 Ford Explorer?
Ford Explorer gets a good safety score from the federal safety rating agencies. Some of these features are mentioned below:
Newly introduced Ascent is powered by a horizontally opposed four-cylinder boxer engine. Transmission duties are taken care of by a CVT automatic transmission. Ascent is one of the better performing three-row SUVs available in the market. Being the costliest Subaru, Ascent brings a plethora of standard features.
Unlike its competitors, it comes equipped with standard AWD and Subaru’s Eyesight safety system. The Subaru offers only one engine choice, a punchy turbocharged 4-cylinder, whereas the Explorer offers two robust engine choices, including a V6 even in the top model. While the Explorer is an excellent highway cruiser, the Ascent maintains Subaru’s tradition of off-road valor and is also surely a sharper handler when the road turns twisty.
Ford Explorer vs Honda Pilot
Honda Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 280 hp and 262 lb-ft. of torque. Pricing for the Honda Pilot starts at $31,450. Honda Pilot has been one of the best vehicles in this segment. The third generation of the Pilot was introduced in 2016.
The pilot is a terrific choice and you can't go wrong decision in the three-row CUV market. With the updates received, the 2020 Honda Pilot comes off as more contemporary in design but Honda has addressed many of the shortcomings. The exterior gets some subtle change along with a reworked 9-speed automatic transmission from ZF to improve efficiency. Both the Pilot and the Explorer use a V6 engine but the Honda engine returns a better fuel economy.
Ford Explorer vs Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander has an upper hand in this fight. The base trim comes with V6 engines and much more standard features. The Explorer, on the other hand, comes with 2.3L turbocharged inline 4 that is tuned to its limits. The engine does have a good amount of oomph but it takes a hit in the fuel economy because of this.
The Ford Explorer is the most popular model sold after the behemoth F series trucks of the brand. Getting close to being in existence for 30 years, the Explorer is one of the most recognizable nameplates in the SUV segment. Shortcomings are now addressed by using a new platform and a slew of powertrains options makes it more appealing to families all around the world.
The Explorer is set in the hearts of many Americans and it can do whatever you ask it to do almost as good as or better than the rivals. The hefty body is the very reason some love the Explorer, but now you have more to enjoy. At times, the Ford Explorer is being plagued by pricing issues as most of its rivals undercut it. All in all, if you like the explorer and are ready to pay more than you will pay for a similarly equipped competitor, get it.
What is the difference between the 2019 and 2020 Explorer?
For Starters, the 2020 model is a new generation. A key difference is that the standard 2020 model is an RWD whereas the 2019 model is FWD and the other difference is that the 2020 model comes with new and improved engine options.
Is the 2020 Ford Explorer a good car?
Yes, the 2020 Ford Explorer is a good car. 2020 redesign includes significant changes, and the result is a much-improved three-row SUV.
Is the 2020 Ford Explorer bigger?
Yes, the 2020 model is bigger than its predecessor. It offers more passenger and cargo space. The 2020 model offers 18.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity, which is the best in its segment.
How much is a fully loaded Ford Explorer?
The base 2020 model Ford Explorer will cost $32,765 which doesn't include destination charges. While the fully loaded Platinum trim will cost you $58,250.
Handling is the best part of the whole driving dynamics. It feels more like a car and less like an SUV. Super easy to maneuver even in congested places.
by Willie E. Bennett
User Overall Rating
A decent SUV
I expected better from Ford. It is unbearable to drive for long durations of time. Ride quality is stiff and I feel every bump road has no matter if it's big or small.
by Alex M. James
User Overall Rating
The BEST SUV ever!
Doesn? get any better than this. It has an amazing throttle response. Just a little press on the accelerator and it gets going. The power is more than enough for all the fun. Love it!
by Mark S. Garner
User Overall Rating
When did plastic get this expensive?!
Having a Ford Explorer is a mixed bag, to be honest. On one hand, I really like the driving dynamics, particularly transmission. And on the other, I absolutely hate the interior!
by Randy B. Phillips
User Overall Rating
Ford in 2020
When talking about driving experience I? say it is pretty decent for most parts. It is not exactly the fastest SUV but it gets the job done. The only bad thing I found and the reason I said ?for most parts?is the gas mileage. It is far lower than what was claimed.