2020 Ford Explorer: Hot or Not?

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The 2020 Ford Explorer made its official debut in Detroit this week, providing a much needed replacing for the aging fifth-generation model.

The 2020 Explorer rides on a new rear-wheel drive based platform from Ford called CD6, which debuted in the 2020 Lincoln Aviator last fall. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the SUV, but all-wheel drive is available as an option. You’ll want to opt for the rear-wheel drive model if you plan on doing lots of towing, though, as the rear-wheel drive model is the version that boasts the full 5,300 lb towing capacity.

A number of different engines are available, all of which are paired with Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission. The standard mill is a 300 hp 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, while a 365 hp twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 is available as an option. The Explorer Hybrid utilizes a 3.3-liter V6 and an electric motor integrated into the 10-speed transmission for a total output of 313 hp, while the performance-focused Explorer ST features a 400 hp version of the 3.0-liter.

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As far as looks are concerned, the 2020 Ford Explorer looks a lot like the outgoing model, featuring the same narrow greenhous and black-painted “invisible” d-pillar. The new model is quite a bit more athletic and chiseled looking, though, with its sporty front and rear fascias and wide-set stance. It looks particularly menacing in ST trim, which gets black exterior accents, quad-tip exhaust and some other sporty add-ons.


The interior looks other new Ford products, such as the new Focus and Fiesta that will be sold abroad. Much of the focus has been on the SUV’s awkward, portrait-mounted infotainment screen, but there’s some good aspects as well, such as the 12.3-inch digital dash display.

So with all that considered, Ford fans, do you think the 2020 Ford Explorer is hot or not? Have your say and vote below, and feel free to share your opinion on this new SUV in the comments.

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Written by Sam McEachern

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20 Comments

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    • I was this close to getting a fully loaded 2020 Platinum Explorer, then realized that that hideous , huge display wasn’t a joke, that someone hadn’t taped a large laptop on the dash, and that is was tragically permanent, and unable to retract into the dash and slink away like a embarrassed cat after caught licking your milk. What were you thinking, Ford, and WHY!? I’m now looking at a 2019, but am very disappointed, and embarrassed for Ford. I really wouldn’t want to be one of the engineers who designed this abysmal thing when the comments and sales figures come in, or the managers who allowed it :/.

  1. I’m VERY disappointed with the rear liftgate and lights! I’m a long-time Explorer owner and currently have a 2013 Sport which we absolutely love. We’re in the market for a new one (probably the ST), but I just can’t get over the Toyota 4-Runner looking rear end. WHAT IS FORD THINKING??? They’ve moved away from a very contemporary corporate design theme and taken cues from a dowdy Toyota – arg!!! My wife is very upset. My only repose is that I think they did a pretty good job with the rest of the car. Definitely evolutionary (not revolutionary), but worth consideration for sure. The ST engine should be a beast – yes! I’m hoping the Ford designers read the blogs and consumer feedback – fix the rear in a year or two, PLEASE!!!

  2. only 35 more horse than the next lower model??? C’mon Ford, I was hoping you would compete with the durango srt!! I was already getting in line…but now…I don’t know.

    • It is very competitive with the SRT when you look at the weight. The SRT is nearly 800 lbs heavier than the ST…so the ST doesn’t need as much power under the hood to yield the same performance. Plus – from the standpoint of handling…I suspect the ST will be better there too…again because of the significantly lower weight. Finally – the ST should yield similar performance while at the same time providing much better fuel economy. And it should be cheaper to purchase.

  3. The exterior improvements along with the CoPilot 360 Safety Package are all very positive. People will like the exterior styling when they see it in person for the first time. The interior is another issue, it has been argued online now for a few days that the interior is a 2017 Honda Accord interior. The vertical iPad drop in looks poorly engineered and last minute. If you’re going to force an oversized screen inside a vehicle you do what others have engineered and have it sit below the dash line or make it a power pop up style. Bad idea, customers will be getting their car broken into just to steal the iPad.

  4. While I’m sure it performs nice and maybe better in person, pictures look “average SUV” that fails to excite (too safe design) … the protruding “iPad” look is just poor. Besides being a target for dumb thieves who think someone left an IPad on the dash, do designers think we are gonna be wowed by this (and whatever Sync interface fail they have come up with this time) yes, we all know what an iPad is and I know you’ve been waiting for 10 years to figure out how to incorporate your version of one, but could you have integrated it a bit more elegantly?

    • yes, yes, a thousand times yes! It needs to be retractable! but it’s probably not. 🙁

      that’s the first thing I thought of, a target for stupid thieves. does no engineer think of these things???

  5. I have owned 3 Explorers but quit buying them when they went to the front wheel drive. Though it doesn’t look that different from what is there now, I will check this out. Not overly pumped with any vehicle this size with a four cylinder engine

  6. I voted undecided because I don’t know if the infotainment center is a drop down design, button operated. It reminds me of a Drive In Theater back in the day, ya that’s old.

    • Its not drop down or mechanical, its a solid tablet attached to the dash, this is now confirmed. It will be interesting to see the customer take rate on the big screen. I think its very poorly executed for whats out there today. My bet is most customers will accept the smaller 8″ horizontally mounted screen and the take rate on the big vertical screen will be very low and limited to the highest trim.

      • We have a 2013 Explorer Limited, fully equipped with 155K and no major problems. I was hoping for more driver side foot room, esp on the outer edges where the footwell narrows with no footrest. Why not widen the design and eliminate the door bump out? Then the front cowling is too low, it scrapes every parking bumper and curb. We do not race the car so why pretend an air dam is needed? Also give it 22-23 gal fuel tank to extend the range to 400 miles like most cars? We get about 22-23 mpg and expect at least that with the turbo charged but an 18 gal tank is a lawn mower!

  7. One big problem with Pop up screens are very inexpensive to fix as all the working parts are in the dash they are bits that go wrong so I would rather have one placed on dash.Haveing a screen below the dash line means it a lot harder to read the navigation with out haveing to take your eyes of the road.

  8. Disappointed in the lack of selection. Bean counting manufacturing decisions making it hard to purchase. Why do I need to get 20″ wheels if I want the moon roof? Why must I have 2nd row captain’s seats instead of the bench if I want the XLT? Why can’t I choose the V6 NA or V6 turbo in the XLT?

  9. It is a winner for me. I love how they moved the front wheels forward and also gave the roof line a bit of a slope as seen from the side. I will get a close up look next week in Philadelphia at the car show. Looking to switch from my 2010 Flex which has been Great. ST here I come..

  10. I like two major improvements in the 2020 Explorer: rear wheel drive and having the fuel filler on the driver side. But why isn’t a V6 available on the XLT? I bought a 1991 Eddie Bauer version new and loved it, but the sticker price was only around $25K!

  11. I was this close to getting a fully loaded 2020 Platinum Explorer, then realized that that hideous , huge display wasn’t a joke, that someone hadn’t taped a large laptop on the dash, and that is was tragically permanent, and unable to retract into the dash and slink away like a embarrassed cat after caught licking your milk. What were you thinking, Ford, and WHY!? I’m now looking at a 2019, but am very disappointed, and embarrassed for Ford. I really wouldn’t want to be one of the engineers who designed this abysmal thing when the comments and sales figures come in, or the managers who allowed it :/.

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