New Platform, New Technologies
The all-new 2020 Ford Explorer has been completely redesigned. Debuted at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, or as it is officially known, the North American International Auto Show, it offers a hybrid version for the first time.
The importance of the 2020 Explorer to Ford should not be lost on anyone. Assuming it is just another version of this large SUV that has been around since 1990 would be a mistake. What’s the big deal? First off, the all-new Explorer will have a hybrid option which falls in line with Ford’s announcement last year that all of its vehicles in the coming years will have some sort of electrification.
The 2020 Explorer will have three engine options: a 2.3-liter EcoBoost I4, a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 and a 3.3-liter hybrid. EcoBoost engines (twin-turbocharged with direct injection) are Ford’s most fuel-efficient gasoline engines and can be found in different variations throughout its line-up of cars, crossovers, SUVs and trucks. Ford has not released fuel economy numbers for any of the engines, but did say the hybrid should have a 500+ mile driving range. With the 19.3-gallon fuel tank in the hybrid, this would be about 26 miles per gallon.
To help with the fuel economy and towing capability, there are up-to seven driver selectable drive modes, including Eco, Normal, Sport, Trail and Tow/Haul. The latter setting helps in towing up-to 5,600 pounds. The drivetrain is rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, both with front axle disconnect, driven through a 10-speed automatic transmission.
People and Stuff
While the exterior of the 2020 Explorer is more of a design evolution from the 2019 model, the interior is a revolution. Available in either six- or seven-seat configurations, all the creature comforts you would expect can be found, including leather trim and wood grain accents. The optional 10.1-inch touchscreen, mounted vertically in the center stack, handles the Sync 3 infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Waze navigation.
The 2020 Explorer comes with the driver-assist technology suite of Co-Pilot360, which features automatic emergency braking, blind spot and active lane control monitoring plus adaptive cruise control. While Clean Fleet Report has come to rely on this technology as it makes highway driving so much easier, we are eager to test the Ford system. Ford says the Explorer will slow automatically when the forward-facing cameras read a speed limit sign that has a slower posted speed. We believe it, just want to experience it.
The Active Park Assist feature allows the driver to press and hold a button, and the Explorer automatically takes control of the steering wheel, accelerator pedal, brakes and gear selector, for either parallel or perpendicular parking.
Price and Timing
Ford has not announced final pricing, but expect it to be within a few hundred dollars, base price, of the outgoing Explorer, which is in the mid-$30,000 range. The all-new Ford Explorer should be in dealers mid-summer 2019.
Clean Fleet Report will do a thorough road test of the 2020 Explorer in the next few months. We will be especially interested in the hybrid version that should offer a fuel-efficient way to transport your family and their gear on those long road trips.
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