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All-New Explorer Hybrid

by Bill SiuruJuly 8, 2019
Better in so many ways with improved off-road capabilities and greater towing capacity, the ever-popular Explorer presents yet another choice for SUV buyers. Plus, a pair of EcoBoost engines and a new hybrid variant deliver desired performance and efficiency.

Ford has completely redesigned America’s all-time best selling SUV, the Ford Explorer. Redesigned from the ground up, the fourth-generation 2020 Explorer returns to the truck-like roots of its first two generations with a longitudinal-engine, rear-drive architecture. Moving away from the outgoing third-generation Explorer’s more car-like, front drive-based transverse-engine powertrain delivers improved on- and off-road capability and greater towing capacity. The Explorer lineup now includes base, XLT, Limited,  and Platinum models. All include the Explorer ST and Explorer Hybrid choices.

Two EcoBoost engines are available. A 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder standard on base, XLT, and Limited models is rated at 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft torque. The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that powers the Explorer Platinum produces 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft torque. Both are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Explorers equipped with the 2.3-liter engine and Class III Trailer Tow Package can tow up to 5,300 pounds. With the 3.0-liter engine this increases to 5,600 pounds. That represents a 77- and 12-percent increase in towing capacity from previous Explorers, respectively.

The all-new Explorer ST, the newest SUV from Ford Performance, is the most powerful Explorer ever with a specially-tuned 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine projected to make 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft torque. It will reach a targeted top track speed of 143 mph.

Explorer Hybrid features a 3.3-liter, naturally aspirated DOHC V-6, 10 speed modular hybrid transmission, and a liquid cooled lithium-ion battery built into the chassis below the second-row seats, thus preserving cargo and passenger space. Total combined power output is 318 horsepower. Both rear- and four-wheel drive versions are available. An EPA-estimated range of over 500 miles is expected between fill-ups in the rear-wheel-drive model.

The new Explorer’s wheelbase grew six inches even though the new model is only fractionally longer in overall length, resulting in more passenger space in each of its standard three rows of seats. Explorers equipped with the available E-Z entry second-row bench seat can accommodate four foot-wide sheets of plywood or drywall flat on the floor for the first time. Second-row captain's chairs are optional as are PowerFold third-row seats. A power liftgate is offered.

Improved off-road capability is provided with intelligent four-wheel drive, available with both engines. An all-new Terrain Management System features an easy-to-use dial in the center console for selecting normal, trail, slippery, sport, tow/haul, and a new eco modes in rear-drive-drive only models. Explorers equipped with four-wheel drive add a deep snow and sand mode for improved off-road performance

The 2020 Explorer comes with an 8-inch digital touch screen offering SYNC 3 and FordPass Connect with 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices. FordPass Connect provides remote access via a smartphone to lock, unlock, locate, and start the vehicle, as well as monitor key vehicle diagnostics. A wireless charge pad is available for recharging compatible mobile devices. Up to four USB ports are provided, including new type-C variants that allow charging next-generation mobile devices. Also available are up to three 12-volt DC outlets and one 110-volt AC outlet.

Explorers come standard with Ford Co-Pilot360, a suite of driver-assist technologies that includes Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support. Also included are a Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping, and a Rearview camera with built-in lens cleaner and Auto headlamps with auto high-beams. Optional Ford Co-Pilot360 technologies include Evasive Steering Assist that provides steering support to help avoid a collision, plus Post-Impact Braking that provides braking after a collision to lessen injury and damage caused by a secondary crash.

Ford’s all-new Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Speed Sign Recognition is also available. In addition to automatically slowing when traffic ahead slows and helping keep the vehicle centered in its lane, the system uses cameras to read speed signs. It adjusts cruise control settings as necessary when combined with the available navigation system.

The all-new Explorer introduces the automaker’s Active Park Assist 2.0. Standard on Explorer Platinum, this feature allows parking in a parallel or perpendicular spot with the touch of a button without requiring a driver to work the steering wheel, gear shifter, gas pedal, or brake. Available reverse brake assist, also standard on Platinum, uses radar and ultrasonic sensors to detect an object in an Explorer’s path, applying brakes automatically to avoid a collision when backing up at low speeds, such as when exiting a driveway.

An available 10.1-inch, portrait-mounted touch screen allows navigation maps to fill the entire screen for easy viewing or split the space with audio information. The screen uses capacitive glass like that found in smartphones and tablets, providing quicker and more responsive interaction with the updated SYNC 3 system. The more intuitive layout of Explorer’s standard SYCN 3 provides compatibility with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Waze navigation. The touch screen shares information with an available 12.3-inch, all-digital instrument cluster that displays important vehicle information such as speedometer and fuel level.