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

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

 

What you should know: 2020 Ford Explorer

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

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 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

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

Red Deer city council gave initial approval for more mixed-use developments in Riverside Light Industrial Park. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More industrial landowners in Red Deer are pursuing mixed-use zoning

A third of Riverside Light could become a commercial/industrial district

Central Alberta man facing second-degree murder in connection with December death.
Advocate file photo
Central Alberta man facing second-degree murder in connection with December death

Maskwacis RCMP said female found dead in Ermineskin Cree Nation residence last December

Red Deer College has been working towards obtaining university status for a couple of years. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer College can offer degrees without becoming a university: Alberta government

Red Deer College should be worried that its university dreams could be… Continue reading

The Mountain Cree Traditional Band headquarters in Mirror, Alta. has been the target of theft and vandalism. (Photo submitted)
Vandals strike: Artifacts worth $1M gone from central Alberta museum

AWNTB says not enough been done to deter crime in Mirror, Alta.

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Roman Sadovsky wins the Challenge, his only event of the figure skating season

Roman Sadovsky wins the Challenge, his only event of the figure skating season

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, left, speaks with International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel during their meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (Nikolai Petrov/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)
IIHF pulls hockey worlds from Belarus, seeks new host

IIHF pulls hockey worlds from Belarus, seeks new host

Former Buffalo Bills head coach Marv Levy, left, speaks to current head coach Sean McDermott, right, before an NFL football game between the Bills and the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. He's coached in both Kansas City and Buffalo but Levy will firmly be behind the Bills in the AFC championship game Sunday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Adrian Kraus
Former Buffalo and Montreal coach Marv Levy behind Buffalo Bills during playoff march

Former Buffalo and Montreal coach Marv Levy behind Buffalo Bills during playoff march

Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Jalen Saunders (89) is upended after getting hit by Calgary Stampeders defensive back Ciante Evans (0) during first half CFL football action in Hamilton, Ont., on Friday, October 13, 2017. The Ottawa Redblacks have re-signed linebacker Jerod Fernandez, Saunders and running back Timothy Flanders.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Ottawa Redblacks re-sign LB Fernandez, WR Saunders and RB Flanders

Ottawa Redblacks re-sign LB Fernandez, WR Saunders and RB Flanders

Team Alberta skip Brendan Bottcher visualizes his delivery as he takes on Team Wild Card during the championship round at the Brier in Kingston, Ont., on March 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bottcher and Walker to skip Alberta teams at nationals, Koe gets wild-card spot

Bottcher and Walker to skip Alberta teams at nationals, Koe gets wild-card spot

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy's Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. Public opposition to the Alberta government's plans to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains appears to be growing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File
Alberta cancels coal leases, pauses future sales, as opposition increases

Alberta cancels coal leases, pauses future sales, as opposition increases

People evacuate from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol during a rehearsal the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Inauguration rehearsal evacuated after fire in homeless camp

Inauguration rehearsal evacuated after fire in homeless camp

Honduran migrants show their route on a map of Mexico and Central America to reporters, as they sit near a police roadblock at a highway in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Guatemalan police and soldiers used tear gas and wielded batons and shields against a group of Honduran migrants that tried to push through their roadblock. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)
Guatemala troops, police break up caravan of weary migrants

Guatemala troops, police break up caravan of weary migrants

Most Read