2020 Ford Explorer Gets Full Redesign, Latest Safety Tech

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - January 10, 2019

It's been a couple of months since Ford decided to kill all of its passenger vehicles besides the Mustang, and the first of many SUVs to get an overhaul is the all-new 2020 Explorer. With roughly 8 million Explorers sold throughout the model's lifespan, the SUV is one of the more popular options on the road, which Ford is looking to keep going with a complete redesign.

Underneath the more sculpted exterior sits a rear-wheel-drive platform that's been plucked from the Lincoln Aviator. That's a large departure from the front-wheel-drive underpinning that's currently found in the Explorer. Rear-wheel drive will be the standard layout, while all-wheel drive will also be offered. Besides providing the new Explorer with a livelier character, the rear-wheel-drive layout also helps the SUV tow more cargo, but more on that later.

Power now comes from a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The engine is the same unit found in the Mustang and Lincoln MKC. The range-topping Platinum features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that pumps out 365 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed transmission is standard. Getting back to towing, when properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 5,600 pounds, which Ford claims is a 12 percent increase from the current model.

Moving to the new rear-wheel-drive platform has also allowed Ford to open the Explorer's interior up. The wheelbase measures in at 6.3 inches longer than before, which equates to what Ford claims is best-in-class hip room for the first two rows, as well as headroom for the second and third row. Cargo capacity is also impressive, as the SUV offers up to 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space. If you're interested in some home repair, Ford points out that the Explorer's rear end is now wide enough to house 4-foot building materials.

2020 Ford Explorer

Technology is another major point for the 2020 Explorer. The SUV features the brand's Co-Pilot360 as standard, which adds pre-collision assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and a rearview camera. Active Park Assist 2.0 is now available, and parks the vehicle without any help from the driver with just the touch of a button. Adaptive cruise control with speed sign recognition, rear brake assist, and evasive steering assist are also available.

When it comes to interior tech, Sync 3 has been updated and now features an 8-inch touchscreen. The SUV's Wi-Fi hot spot system can handle up to 10 devices, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Optional goodies include a 10.1-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a 14-speaker B&O audio system, and a wireless charging pad.

The 2020 Explorer will go on sale this summer with a starting price tag that's $400 more than the current model. If the destination fee remains the same that means a starting price of $33,860. The new Explorer lineup will include a hybrid variant and a sporty ST trim, too.

With rear-wheel drive as standard, the Explorer is a bit of an oddball in the segment. The other more notable mid-size SUV that's rear-wheel drive from the get-go is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Other competitors are mostly front-wheel drive, which should be an upside for Ford's new SUV. A lot of other SUVs, like the Toyota Highlander, Subaru Ascent, Mazda CX-9, Honda Pilot, and Kia Sorento, mostly have 5,000-lb towing capacities – another point for the new Explorer. The Grand Cherokee, being the heavy hitter that it is, can tow up to 7,200 pounds.

2020 Ford Explorer

Engine power is also another upside for the Explorer. The SUV's base turbocharged four-cylinder engine is one of the more powerful options on the market, while the available turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 blows a lot of stuff out of the water – besides Jeep's hilariously overpowered motors, of course. The Highlander's available 3.5-liter V6 is the closest when it comes to power, offering up 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque.

The new Explorer is also impressive when it comes to its cargo space. With 87.8 cubic feet of available cargo space, the Explorer leads the way against the aforementioned competitors. The Ascent, though, gets close with a cargo capacity of 86.5 cubic feet.

Lastly, having Ford's extensive Co-Pilot360 system as standard is a smart decision, as Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, and Honda all offer extensive safety features as standard on their mid-size SUVs.

With all of the changes, it looks like Ford has gone above and beyond fixing all of the current Explorer's issues, and has created what appears to be a class-leading SUV.

Learn more about the current Explorer

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter | Website