Ford’s best-selling mid-size SUV nameplate has been completely rebuilt for the new model year. The 2020 Ford Explorer is based on Ford’s CD6 platform and shares underpinnings with the Lincoln Aviator. However in an indication of the different directions the brands take, all exterior metal, interiors and a lot of the customer facing features are different.
The 2020 Ford Explorer now sits on a larger 3,025mm wheelbase to haul a 5,050mm overall length. The lateral dimensions also improve, with a width of 2,005mm without mirrors and a height of 1,780mm.
The vehicle has also evolved in terms of styling – a brand new fascia with nicely integrated lights and grille has a complex arrangement that take tapering headlight assemblies from inside the typical grille volume and wrap them around the fenders.
The profile uses the longer wheelbase to communicate sleekness, aided by the rising shoulder line and strong strakes that run at the waistline and in-between the wheel bays. The lateral lines also integrate the door handles. Moving over to the rear the tailgate has been changed completely, with a large chrome bar in the centre between the vertically aligned taillights. There is added chrome below the tailgate.
Yet, the continuity in visual identity from the fifth generation is still there.
The 2020 Ford Explorer now gets two EcoBoost engines at launch. The smaller 2.3-litre inline four-cylinder unit has been carried over and upgraded. It now produces 300 horsepower and 420 Nm of torque. The larger 3.0-litre is new to the line up, with a compact 60-degree bank of cylinders and direct injection. This unit has 365 horsepower on offer with 515 Nm of torque. In either case the transmission is Ford’s new 10-speed automatic unit with Selectshift.
The interior redesign takes a twin cockpit approach with the use of wood veneers and a vertical 10.1″ central display. Ford also integrates the Drive modes from the Expedition allowing drivers to shift easily between Normal, Slippery, Trail, Deep Snow/Sand, Sport, Tow/Haul and Eco modes.
Cabin layout allows for easy access to the third row by one-touch flip down second row seats, while the third and second rows fold for a full flat floor. The wider cabin gives better hip room in the second row and the structure redesign and intelligent packaging give better headroom in both second and third rows.
Also new to the Explorer is the integration of Ford’s Co-Pilot360 driver-assist tech. This includes adaptive cruise control with speed sign recognition, intelligent braking and restart, lane-keep, lane warnings and reverse brake assist. And of course you get automated park assist as well.
Finally, the 2020 Ford Explorer will have the largest variant line up with the Explorer, XLT, Limited, Limited Hybrid (when the Hybrid engine debuts), ST and Platinum.