The Hybrid combines a twin-turbocharged V-6 with an electric motor (net output is 318 horsepower), but it’s only available with the Limited trim. Photo: Ford

What you should know: 2020 Ford Explorer

Ford switches to a rear-wheel-drive platform and piles on the technology

Don’t let the familiar shape fool you. The sixth-generation Ford Explorer is about as new as the first Explorer that rolled off the line for the 1991 model year.

The numbers of utility vehicles with three rows of seats for seven or more passengers are definitely on the upswing. The group now includes the recently launched Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride, and on the luxury spectrum, the BMW X7 with three rows of seats is also brand new, as is the Lincoln Aviator.

The Aviator and the Explorer share the same newly developed rear-wheel-drive platform. The engine is now positioned with the crankshaft in line with the vehicle instead of 90 degrees, as was the previous front-wheel-drive layout.

Compared with its predecessor, the new Explorer is longer by about two centimetres and is equal in width. The distance between the front and rear wheels grows by about 15 centimetres, which Ford says benefits occupants in all three rows.

Along with some familiar design cues, including the wrap-around side windows that appear to blend with the liftgate glass, the sweeping side creases accentuate the Explorer’s length, while the grille is more intricately designed.

The dashboard is a mixture of classy and perhaps confusing. The optional 12.3-inch digital gauge display is certainly up to date, as is the 6.5-inch touch screen in the centre stack. The optional 10.1-inch screen appears as though someone left their iPad perched between the air vents, which is visually jarring.

On the plus side, a rotary dial, which replaces the traditional shifter, allows for unfettered access to the audio and climate controls, and an available wireless charging pad.

The new Explorer has three engine options. The base model comes with a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder that puts out 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. That’s a gain of 20 and 10 over the 2019 version.

Optional is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V-6 that’s rated at 365/380. Those numbers climb to 400/415 with the ST trim.

Those seeking performance and fuel efficiency should consider the Explorer Hybrid. It’s a non-plug-in version that combines a turbocharged 3.3-litre V-6 and an electric motor for 318 horsepower and 322 pound-feet.

The Hybrid’s battery pack is located beneath the passenger-side front seat and the second-row foot well. As with similar gasoline-electric systems, it helps reduce fuel consumption while providing only brief periods of electric-only power, which can be useful in stop-and-go and urban situations.

Every model gets a 10-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the six-speed. Fuel-consumption numbers for the Hybrid haven’t been released, but Explorers with the turbo four-cylinder are rated at 11.6 l/100 km in the city, 8.7 on the highway, and 10.3 combined.

Ford’s so-called Intelligent four-wheel-drive is standard with all models. For towing, the V-6 can handle up to 2,545 kilograms, but the turbo four-cylinder is also no slouch in that department at 2,410.

Pricing starts at $47,150 (XLT), including destination charges. That sum gets you a fairly well equipped vehicle, including the company’s Co-Pilot 360 suite of dynamic-safety technologies (with features such as emergency braking, active cruise control and lane-keeping assist).

The Limited includes such features as leather upholstery, 12-speaker Bang and Olfusen-brand sound system and a surround-view camera.

The ST gets the 400-horsepower V-6, a sport-tuned suspension and blacked-out trim, while the Platinum comes with the 365-horse V-6, premium-leather seats and a twin-panel moonroof as part of its healthy dose of standard gear.

Note that the Hybrid comes in one trim — Limited — at $59,150, which is about $5,000 more than the non-hybrid Limited.

A clear departure from the norm — particularly when it comes to the rear-wheel-drive layout and the powertrain choices — is what sets the Explorer on a new family-hauling path. The extra size and new technology make it that much more versatile.

What you should know: 2020 Ford Explorer

Type: Four-door, all-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle

Engines (h.p.): 2.3-litre DOHC I-4, turbocharged (300) 3.0-litre DOHC V-6, twin-turbocharged (365/400, ST) 3.3-litre DOHC V-6, turbocharged, with electric motor (318)

Transmission: Ten-speed automatic

Market position; The Explorer is now the only non-luxury utility vehicle built on a rear-wheel-drive platform (four-wheel-drive is standard). Ford claims a roomier cabin and improved driveability.

Points: Easily identifiable despite receiving significant structural and visual changes. • Choice of three powertrains; standard 10-speed automatic transmission. • Optional 10.1-inch touch screen is easily viewed, but its position spoils an otherwise stylish dashboard. • More legroom for all three rows of seats. • Hybrid powertrain limited to the Limited.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (std.); emergency braking (std.); pedestrian detection (std.)

BY COMPARISON

Chevrolet Traverse AWD

Base price: $40,900

Well-priced wagon is similar in size to the Explorer. A 310-h.p. V-6 is standard.

Toyota Highlander AWD

Base price: $41,700

Popular eight-passenger model is available as a 306-horsepower hybrid.

Kia Telluride AWD

Base price: $47,000

New for 2020 model comes with a 291-horsepower V-6 plus loads of cabin space.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The optional 10.1-inch display appears to be leaning against the dash rather than being integrated with it. Photo: Ford

The new rear-wheel-drive platform adds 15 centimetres between the front and rear wheels, which means more legroom for all three rows, according to Ford. Photo: Ford

The interior layout has a new gear-selector dial that replaces the traditional shift lever, which frees up some room and declutters the look. Shown is the optional 12.3-inch instrument display that has a Mindful Mode, which leaves visible the fuel remaining and the speedometer. Photo: Ford

Just Posted

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

Mara Lake is one of the significant water resources across the Okanagan-Shuswap region that will fall under increasing sustainability pressure as the anticipated population growth for the region continues in this century. (File photo)
Okanagan Valley water supply sustainability reaching a critical point: Global expert

Global expert says Okanagan Basin Water Board offers sustainable path forward

Four staff members at the Okanagan Men’s Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 23, 2020. (Adult and Teen Challenge OMC photo)
Four positive COVID-19 cases at Okanagan Men’s Centre

Those affected are staff and have been in isolation since Oct. 23

Vince Schnabl looks at the view this October from the Gorge, west of Revelstoke. (Photo by Jon Wichett)
There’s 3 times more snow near Revelstoke than usual

According to 54 years of data from Parks Canada for Glacier National Park

Mail in ballot, provincial election 2020. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Mail-in-ballots coming in from Columbia River Revelstoke

In a progress report Elections BC said around 45 per cent of those issued have been returned

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

Hiawatha RV Park will be demolished starting in February, to make room for a new condo development. Residents have four months to leave. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘I don’t know what to do’; Kelowna RV park resident pleas for eviction extension

Hiawatha RV Park residents have four months to leave the neighbourhood

Titled “Dutch Underground - Laren 1944,” Mineke Spencer’s parents Johanna and Albert Jan Koeslag (centre) sit with their 13 children, who ranged in age from seven (Minike) to 28. Mineke is the little girl with the big white bow in the front, left, beside sister Marie, also with a white bow. (Contributed)
Fearless allies: Shuswap woman reflects on childhood in Dutch Resistance

Mineke Spencer was three-years-old when Germany invaded her home in the Netherlands

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Several police vehicles were seen at the Sagmoen farm on Salmon River Road in Silver Creek on Thursday night, Oct. 29, 2020. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
UPDATE: One person arrested, released following police presence at Sagmoen farm

RCMP were at Silver Creek property where remains of Vernon woman were found in 2017

Vernon Council voted in favour of implementing a 500-metre buffer between all new cannabis stores in the city at its meeting Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Black Press files)
New cannabis shops in Vernon will need to stay 500m apart

The distancing rule won’t apply to existing stores, including the six currently in downtown core

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Little Seedlings Daycare in Armstrong, located beside Highland Park Elementary School (pictured above). Interior Health confirmed the positive case was present at the daycare on Oct. 22 and 23, 2020. (Google image)
COVID-19 case reported at Armstrong daycare

IH letter says positive case was present at Little Seedlings Daycare Oct. 22 and 23

Most Read