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The Ford Explorer returns for 2020 with its most extensive changes in nearly a decade. Replacing the outgoing 3.5L V6 is a new more powerful and capable 3.0L Ecoboost V6 making 365 horsepower all based on a newly optional rear-wheel-drive platform. Coupled together with a new 10-speed automatic transmission that allows for better gas mileage and towing capacity, the new Explorer platform is set to impress. A new ST model takes this added powerplant to greater levels producing a whopping 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque through a unique sport tuned ST chassis. The Explorer's newly minted silhouette features an athletic stance with sculpted angular lines, and a revamped front grille. Inside a comfortable and spacious interior with improved cargo capacity plays host to a plethora of smart technologies and smart design to make every drive more enjoyable.
The Explorer is offered in base, XLT, Limited, ST and Platinum models, but no matter the model, it comes with three well-designed rows of seating and room for up to seven (the second row comes with two bucket seats for adults). While the third row is kid-sized, it's easier to fold than those on just about any other model, thanks to the simple, single-button power-folding system. Parents will also note that LATCH fasteners for child seats are included in the second-row outboard positions. Both the second and third rows flip forward, giving a cavernous amount of cargo space.
The base 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine makes a healthy 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, with fuel economy at a class leading 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway and a 5000-lb tow capacity this engine is real workhorse. A beefier 3.0L Ecoboost V6 is available on Platinum trimmed vehicles producing 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, with tow ratings all the way up to a 5600-lb maximum when properly equipped and an even more powerful ST model making 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque.
The available Intelligent 4-wheel-drive system in the Explorer is available with all engines, and it is designed with the urban driving done by most Explorer owners in mind. The system includes a Terrain Management system that recalibrates itself for snow, sand or mud when needed. With 4-wheel drive, there's also Hill Descent Control, to help maintain composure on steep, slippery slopes.
Standard equipment on the Explorer is more extensive than what's found in most mainstream-brand vehicles. Cruise control, a media hub system, four 12-volt power points, cap less fuel-filling and the MyKey control/monitoring feature are all standard on the base model, while optional or standard goodies on the upper XLT or Limited trims include dual-zone climate control; remote start; power-folding, heated side-view mirrors; reverse sensing; ambient lighting, adjustable pedals, a 360 degree camera system, push-button start and a 110-volt AC outlet.
The top-of-the-line Platinum trim includes 21-inch premium aluminum wheels, quilted leather seating, optional Multi-contour Seats with Active Motion, a 10.1-inch LCD Capacitive portrait touchscreen and a 980- watt B&O sound system with 14 speakers.
MyFord Touch combines a host of vehicle, information and entertainment functions in an interface that appears a bit like that of iPads or other tablet computers. The system works together with Ford's Sync interface to interact seamlessly -- and with voice commands -- with media players, smartphones and music on USB sticks.
All Explorers include both Roll Stability Control and Curve Control sophisticated stability control systems. Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags also cover all three rows and an SOS Post-Crash System helps alert authorities if the airbags deploy. Safety-related tech features on the Explorer include available Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist, adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system that includes brake support as well as a Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert.