The Ford Explorer, launched in 1991, is likely one of the oldest and most acknowledged SUVs on the street. It helped take the section mainstream, and, whereas automative tech, and elegance, has advanced over three many years, the all-new 2020 Explorer does not radically deviate from those who have come earlier than. The sixth-generation car is a return to the SUV’s rear-wheel drive roots—and it now has a 3rd row of seats. The 2020 Ford Explorer can be up to date with modern in-cabin connectivity and cutting-edge driver-assist security options, whereas the Restricted Hybrid we examined will get wonderful gasoline financial system with out sacrificing efficiency.
Pricing and Design
The 2020 Ford Explorer Restricted Hybrid is available in one trim degree with RWD customary or 4WD as an choice. It’s powered by a 318-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 engine, and like all 2020 Explorers, has a 10-speed computerized transmission.
Commonplace exterior options embrace 20-inch wheels with 255/55 R20 tires, power-folding and heated facet mirrors with built-in LED flip alerts, rain-sensing wipers, roof rack facet rails, a physique colour spoiler, twin chrome exhaust ideas, a capless gasoline filler, computerized LED headlamps, and LED fog lamps, daytime operating lights, and taillamps.
The 2020 Explorer Restricted Hybrid comes with customary beneficiant inside and comfort options, together with leather-based seats with micro-perforation and accent stitching, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, an influence tilt/telescoping steering column, three-zone local weather management with separate second-row controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a hands-free liftgate, ambient lighting, keyless entry and ignition, distant begin, power-folding second-row captain chairs, two second-row USB charging ports, and lively noise cancellation.
Commonplace tech facilities embrace the Ford Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch LCD capacitive contact display screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Ford AppLink, in-cabin Wi-Fi, voice-activated navigation, wi-fi smartphone charging, and a Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker sound system with AM/FM HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite tv for pc radio with two USB ports.
The 2020 Explorer Platinum Hybrid comes customary with the great Ford Co-Pilot360 Help+ suite of driver assists. It contains adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping alert and help, forward-collision warning with computerized emergency braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert, street signal recognition, auto excessive beams, entrance and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view digicam. A brand new characteristic referred to as Evasive Steering Help applies steering help to maneuver round a car forward to assist keep away from a collision.
The bottom worth for our check car was $52,530, not together with a $1,695 panoramic moonroof. With a vacation spot and supply cost of $1,245, the ultimate sticker got here to $55,470.
A bigger grille, longer headlamps, beefed-up wheel arches, and a extra sloping roofline give the 2020 Ford Explorer a sportier exterior than its predecessor. The spacious cabin and panoramic sunroof make it feels much more ethereal and let in a number of pure mild. Legroom and headroom for entrance and second row passengers is substantial, and cargo area is ample even with the third row seating in place.
Interface and Connectivity
The 8-inch contact display screen is customary on the Restricted trim; a ten.1-inch portrait-oriented display screen is elective. It is powered by an upgraded model of Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, one which makes accessing every thing from apps to local weather controls straightforward and intuitive. Our solely grievance is that the on-screen icons can’t be personalized.
Along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Sync 3 is considered one of only some methods that also gives separate apps. Whereas some Sync 3 apps equivalent to Pandora and iHeartRadio are redundant with CarPlay and Android Auto, others aren’t, together with the streaming service Tidal, the novel What3Word navigation app, and even Cisco Webex Conferences for in-car convention calls.
The 2020 Ford Explorer has onboard Wi-Fi that requires a subscription, however Sync 3 may also get over-the-air software program updates when linked to a distant Wi-Fi hotspot. We actually just like the intelligent and handy location of the wi-fi charger slightly below the middle console that safely stows a tool and sends a useful visible alert to the dashboard show whereas charging.
One other neat characteristic is the Explorer’s new Pace Signal Recognition that adjusts the adaptive cruise management velocity based on the posted restrict. It may also be overridden, and allows you to set a tolerance of plus or minus 9mph.
Rear-wheel drive is what units the 2020 Ford Explorer aside from opponents. Despite the fact that the Platinum Hybrid has nearly 50 horsepower lower than the three.6-liter 380-hp twin-turbo V6 customary within the non-hybrid Platinum trim, it nonetheless has loads of oomph.
In heavy site visitors on a two-lane freeway interspersed with passing lanes, the hybrid’s V6 engine robustly propelled us forward of some slowpokes earlier than we ran out of room. It’s additionally a peaceful freeway cruiser that handles curves effectively for a 4,000-pound-plus car. The ten-speed transmission shifted easily on the freeway, however at decrease speeds it hesitated to search out the appropriate gear and made discernible and disconcertingly harsh noises on a number of events.
The Explorer Hybrid will get good gasoline financial system together with its assured efficiency. It’s rated at 27mpg metropolis, 29mpg freeway, and 28mpg mixed, in contrast with the nob-hybrid’s 18mpg metropolis, 24mpg freeway, and 20mpg mixed. We achieved a mixed gasoline financial system of round 23mpg whereas driving 300-plus largely freeway however hilly miles, with out worrying about accelerator strain.
The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid we just lately examined is the Ford Explorer Hybrid’s solely actual competitor within the three-row, full-size SUV section—and it was additionally simply redesigned. We desire the brand new Explorer Hybrid’s RWD efficiency to the Highlander Hybrid’s extra tepid 186-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine. However the Highlander is available in a number of trim ranges and begins at about $38,000, providing you with extra selections. And whereas we desire the sporty appears to be like of the 2020 Explorer, the 2020 Highlander’s boxy exterior belies a powerful inside and plenty of wonderful tech options, making it our choose among the many two.