2020 Ford Explorer Is Competent, Modern And “Green” – And It’ll Do Off-Road, Too

For the 2020MY, the Ford Explorer has went down hybrid lane. The large SUV now packs an electrified 3.3-liter, naturally aspirated V6 that puts out 318 hp and 322 lb-ft (437 Nm) of torque.

With ITS 35 kWh lithium-ion battery fully charged, it has a driving range of over 500 miles (805 km) between fill ups in the base rear-wheel version (all-wheel drive is an option).

The 10-speed automatic transmission that connects the assembly to the running gear clearly impressed RoadShow’s reviewer, who found shifting between very smooth and almost unnoticeable, while it can also skip gears when needed. There is a downside to that, though, as downshifting isn’t as refined – but hey, you can’t have them all, right?

Also Read: How Does The 2020 Ford Explorer Compare Against Its Predecessor?

The positioning of the battery underneath the second-row seats hasn’t impacted the interior space or cargo capacity. Thus, the hybrid SUV has the same interior dimensions and boot space as the non-hybridized Explorers. Towing capacity has gone down a bit, from the 2.3-liter EcoBoost’s 5,300 lbs (2,404 kg) and 3.0-liter V6’s 5,600 lbs (2,540 kg), to 5,000 lbs (2,268 kg).

Now, like practically all modern SUVs, this one is meant to spend all its life in good old tarmac, facing the occasional rain and slew, but not veer off the beaten track, right? As it turns out, you can. Don’t get us wrong, you won’t be able to explore (pun intended) very steep slopes and cross deep rivers; this is no Defender, but it’s more than capable to get you to that cabin in the woods, or, in case of the reviewer, across an off-road course in Oregon.

There’s one sticking point, though: the price. At $48,130 MSRP (without AWD), it gets too close for comfort to the 2019 Expedition, which can be had from $52,130. But that’s comparing apples to oranges, and it’s down to each prospective buyer to decide what their priorities are.


  • Rocket

    Other than some complaints about the Hybrid being a little rough at times when the gas engine engages, the reviews of this new Explorer have been overwhelmingly positive. A little pricey for mainstream perhaps, but then it has more to offer than its mainstream competition. If Ford can have a relatively uneventful launch, we’ll be seeing these everywhere in short order.

  • Paul

    It looks like they’ve done their homework with this.

  • Stigasawuswrecks

    It’s a shame it’s ugly both inside and out though.

  • john1168

    A couple years ago, I was belly aching how Ford should make a really sporty Explorer to be an affordable version of Rang Rover, Porsche, BMW, etc… Not that Ford listened to ME but I’m glad to see they finally went this route. I believe it exploits a niche that no one else has really pursued. Alex on autos compared the ST to the previous version of the X5 which I found appropriate.

    I still don’t like the way the front grille meets up with the headlights but I do think that this new Explorer is a very good package. It is growing on me and I may consider purchasing or leasing one in the near future.

    • john1168

      Edit: Sorry, Jeep has been doing the sporty suv for a while with the Grand Cherokee SRT. It’s good that Ford is getting closer to that level. The ST may not have the speed of the SRT but it will handle better and maybe be a bit better on gas.

      • brn

        Jeep also has that Trackhawk thing.

        • john1168

          Yes sir! Put the Ford GT engine in the new Explorer (RS?) and let’s see how it does in a race:)

  • cbATL

    This looks like a proper SUV unlike its Minivan competitors.

  • Bash

    Well, I can’t but to up-vote this. its a good SUV, I just wish they did a limited numbers of RWD/V8 version of it.

    • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

      I wish they would have stuck the 3.5 EB out of the Raptor in it. 450HP would make this thing go like stink!

      • Bash

        Yes, That would be amazing.

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