2020 Ford Explorer Review & First Drive – An Exciting New Chapter | Edmunds

2020 Ford Explorer Review & First Drive – An Exciting New Chapter | Edmunds


SPEAKER: The Ford Explorer
is an important SUV, not just for Ford, but for
SUV shoppers in general. That’s because when
it debuted in 1991, it redefined what a
family vehicle could be. We’re here in Washington
state on the banks of the Columbia River. And the big news is
the Ford Explorer has changed from front-wheel
drive to rear-wheel drive. We’ve got several
versions to drive, and we’ll be able to
see why that matters. But before we get
into that, remember to click Subscribe and visit
Edmunds for all your car and SUV shopping needs. Even though it’s all new, it
still looks like an Explorer, because some of the key design
elements are still here. For one, the windshield pillar– blacked out. Always done that. Also, the middle
pillar– blacked out. We get to the C pillar,
and it’s prominent and it’s body colored. And then back here at
the rear, the rear pillar is also blacked out so that the
side window and the rear window blend together. Explorers have always
had these elements, and this one does, too. Perhaps the biggest difference
is here in the front. Last time around, it
was front-wheel drive. The engine sat that way. There was a lot of radiator
and stuff like that up here. It gave it a lot of bulk in
the front end of the car. Now when you’ve got the
engine turned this way– push the engine back, shorten
the nose a little bit– it tightens up the front end,
makes it look more aggressive. And it also has a
good approach angle. The switch to rear drive
results in a wheel base that’s over six inches
longer between the front and rear tires. And that improves
weight distribution from a dynamic
standpoint, but it also improves passenger and
cargo space inside. The switch to rear drive
also helps with towing. Ideally, you want your
trailer’s tongue weight to be pressing down on the axle
that is propelling the vehicle. And you get that here. But you also get extra stability
because of the longer wheelbase when towing. And the tow rating, as a
result, is up slightly. It was 5,000 pounds last year. It’s as much as 5,600
pounds this year. The first thing you notice
about the new Explorer inside is that it’s spacious. It’s comfortable. It’s really easy to live with. These seats, for example– they’re really nicely shaped. They have great padding. They’re really comfortable. These are the Platinums, but
I was in a Limited yesterday– same thing there. The steering wheel is
nice and chunky, too. You know, it feels real good. The tactile feel is really nice,
and it’s comfortable over time. The controls– they’re
really easy to figure out. Here are the audio controls. Here are the HVAC controls. The touch screen
is easy to reach. There are two touch screens. This one has the bigger portrait
one that’s about 10 inches. There is an eight inch
landscape-oriented one, really nice as well. Both of those are great. Really easy to use this cabin. And there’s a lot
of storage, too. The glove box is big. You can hook up a phone
through the access ports here. This is pretty big,
the center console. You can see I have
my phone here, but I could also put it here
on this wireless charge pad. The door pockets are big. There’s place for
your stuff alongside. So you’re not going to
have a problem of where to put your stuff. One of things I’m not
terribly sure about is the interior quality. It’s good. There’s nice soft touch
material here and here and some other places. A few of these other ones
look a little bit hard. But the main thing
for me is a couple of these seams, this
one in particular. They’re really
prominent and they stand out and catch your eye–
at least they catch my eye. Recently, I was in
a Kia Telluride. In that one, material’s
quality just felt a step above. Here I am in the middle
row of the Ford Explorer, and right off the
bat, I can tell this has got plenty of room. I’m 6’2. I’ve got extra headroom even
with this panoramic sunroof. Leg room. I got a little extra to give
the person in the back seat if I need to. It reclines. That’s nice. One thing that’s different
about the Explorer compared to the competition
is most versions are going to have captain’s
chairs as standard. And these are really nice. So back here, I’ve
got a couple of USBs under this hatch– just one
USB and one USB-C, though. I’d like more of those,
but they’re not here. I’ve got controls for
the air conditioning. And the vent is up here, which
is interesting, not here. It looks to be
really easy to put child seats in the Explorer. The latch anchors are right
here where you can see them. They’re really easy to get to. As for storage, there
seems to be a lot of that. There is a juice box
holder right up high here where a child can reach it. And further down,
there’s a place for a water bottle
and other items. And here in the middle, there’s
more storage and a couple more cup holders. You may have noticed
there’s no console here. That’s because Ford
says they want to keep this open for third row access. So this is really low, and it’s
actually made to be stepped on. As you can see, there isn’t
a lot of room for someone my height, which is 6’2, to
sit back here in the third row. I’m a little taller than what
they had in mind, I’m sure. But even so, I’ve
got lots of headroom, and there’s an AC
vent back here. That part is covered,
it’s just this knee here. The one on the side where I
can get between the captain’s chair, actually no problem. But this is pretty
flat, so I don’t know how that would be
over a long distance. It feels pretty good so far. Back here though, there’s
no USB ports to plug into, and the cup holder is kind
of hard to get to on the side here. Another thing worth noting
is that the child seat anchors are really easy to
get to here in the third row. And that means that four child
seats can fit in this vehicle. The other thing is that the
Explorer– this third row can only hold two people. It’s not equipped to hold three
like the competition can do. So what that means
is that Explorers can seat seven with
a bench seat, six with captain’s chairs. The competition is one better. If that matters to
you, I don’t know. It depends on the size of your
family or your soccer team. Getting out of the third
row is really easy, because there’s two ways
your child can do it. There’s a loop at
the base of the seat, or they can press this button. Behind the third
row, the Explorer starts out with a competitive
amount of cargo space. It slots in between the
Telluride and the Pilot. This piece here,
you can flip it over and you got a dirty
side if you’ve got something muddy you
want to put in here. Or you can drop it here for
a little extra stability if you don’t want
groceries to slide around. And you can just pull this
lever to fold the headrest down. And then this button here
will fold the seats down. You could do both together
or the left and right individually. Once you do this, the
amount of cargo space that you end up with
is right in there with the others in the segment. It’s a virtual tie. And then of course, if you
fold down the middle row seats on both sides, the
amount of cargo space is over 85 cubic feet, which
is another competitive number. Because this has
captain’s chairs, you’ll have a little
void in the middle. It’s not a completely
flat floor, but that’s true of any
vehicle with captain’s chairs. Now we’re on the road, and
I’m driving the hybrid. And that’s what’s interesting
about this new Explorer. There are four powertrain
choices, including the hybrid, which they’ve never had before. The base and the XLT come with
a 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine. Near the top of the
range, the Platinum has a 3 liter V6
EcoBoost engine. And the ST, which
is new this year– it’s got a high output version
of the 3 liter EcoBoost engine. And then that leaves the
hybrid as the fourth choice. This one has a 3.3 liter V6. Not turbo charged, but it
does have a hybrid element in its transmission. And that’s the unique
part here, is all four of these powertrains have a 10
speed automatic transmission. And the hybrid version
has an electric motor built into the case. And the upshot of that is you
don’t get any weird hybrid CVT feeling that you might get
in some of the competition. This drives absolutely normally
when it comes to shifting. You just have the hybrid
for low-speed operation and fill-in, and other things
that improve fuel economy. How much fuel
economy improvement? Well, they haven’t told us
what the rating is right now, but they say that this
should have a 500 mile range. It has a tank that
holds 18 gallons. And if you do the math,
that’s 27 or 28 miles per gallon combined. We’ll have to see
where that shakes out. What’s great is you can get
all-wheel drive on the hybrid. And it’s not just
an electronic add-on like some of the
competitors have. This is genuine all-wheel
drive that mechanically drives all four wheels
when it’s engaged. And that’s really great,
because it gives it much more authentic off-road capability. The thing about the four
powertrains that’s interesting is, the smallest one,
the 2.3 EcoBoost turbo– it makes as much horsepower
or more than the base engines, which are really
the only engines in a Pilot and a Telluride. So you can only go up from
there, which is really nice. The reason why I’m not
really quoting hard numbers is because Ford’s numbers
assume that you’re going to use 93 octane
fuel, which frankly, you can’t get, even in California
or most of the West Coast. But also, most people aren’t
going to spend the extra money. They’re going to want to put
in 87 octane regular unleaded, which you can do, because
that is the recommended fuel. But until we get horsepower
and torque figures on 87, I’m not really ready to commit,
or really even able to say, whether any of their
engines are more powerful than the
competition’s offerings or not. One of the first things
I notice behind the wheel is I really do
like the steering. And it goes beyond the feeling
of the steering wheel, which is really chunky,
and it’s not too big. When you go down
the road, it really has a great sense
of straight ahead. And we had some
strong crosswinds, and that didn’t faze it at all. They went back to
rear-wheel drive, but they didn’t go
back to body-on-frame. This is still a unibody vehicle. And that gives it a
lower center of gravity, which you can really feel–
the longer wheelbase as well. There’s a stability
here, a real composure that really feels premium. And that premium ride also
comes from the suspension tuning and the noise abatement. We’re on some pretty coarse
roads, and when we hit bumps, it’s very settled. It doesn’t upset
the cabin at all. And there’s not a lot of road
noise coming up from the tires. I’m really pleased
with the visibility. It’s really easy to
see out the front. The pillars are slender. That big C pillar that’s body
color that we saw earlier doesn’t really block my view. I don’t feel like
I’m in a tank here. The only thing about visibility
that I’m not a fan of– I didn’t notice this earlier– is these are shiny,
and there’s definitely a lot of reflection coming up
off these HVAC controls here. This vehicle has the standard
eight inch landscape oriented screen, not the 10 inch
portrait screen we saw earlier. And it’s really nice. The graphics are clear. They’re easy to understand. It’s responsive. And there’s a side benefit
to not having the big screen. It doesn’t fill up
this space, so there’s a nice shelf underneath
that’ll hold a phone. Now that I’ve been in this
vehicle for about four hours, I think I’ve got it figured out. I like the way it steers. It goes down the road
really nicely, and even in this crosswind. The seats are comfortable. I haven’t gotten
tired of them yet. I’ve got all the
controls figured out. I could drive this thing home,
and I live almost 1,000 miles away from here. So we’re still in the hybrid,
but we’re towing a boat. And this is great. From the first moment I
pressed the accelerator, the take away was smooth. You could feel the torque of
the electric motor combining with the motor to really get
the vehicle going really easily. And then as we went up
through the first few gears, all the shifts were nice
and smooth and buttery. I really didn’t expect that. And at the moment, we’re just
cruising around on the highway, and it feels real happy. Tow ratings, they’re
just a number. It’s a reflection of the cooling
system and the suspension being up to it. But with some vehicles, you
feel like you’re asking a lot. It’s going to do
it, technically. It’s fine, but you don’t
necessarily enjoy it. This is enjoyable. This is not a problem at all. Frankly, I’m still trying to wrap
my head around the pricing. At the base model level, it’s
really similar to last year. But if you go to XLT or
Limited, the price increase starts to get
pretty substantial. But on the other
hand, this vehicle is a lot more substantial. It really does feel like
a significant upgrade from last year. So extra money,
probably worth it. So what does all of this mean
for the new Ford Explorer? Well, I like the ride. It’s quiet. It feels really composed. And when the road gets twisty,
it actually can play along. It’s not an Olympic quality
athlete, but it works out. It’s fit. It can keep up. As for the powertrain,
same thing. They’re solid. The base offering is as strong
as competition’s only offering. And the hybrid is just really
a no compromised machine. You can take it off road,
really, up to a point. It doesn’t have low range. You can tow a boat or
something else that weighs within its capability. And it’s not like you’re
asking it to do something it doesn’t want to do. It feels really up to the task. It’s very well-rounded. The interior’s nice
and spacious, too. It’s got a lot of
thoughtful touches. Yeah, there’s a couple of things
I wish were a little different. But for the most part, I’ve
got no complaints here. If you want more
detailed information, be sure to check out my article. And remember to hit Subscribe
and visit Edmunds next time you’re ready to buy a car.

About the author

Comments

  1. WoW it looks like a Range Rover especially the front end ! And another big WoW is the fact that you guys are using 87 octane ! I have NEVER heard of such a low octane number ever ! Hear in Europe we use 95 octane and that has been the standard for a very long time ! We also have 98 and 99 octane for performance cars that demands it !

  2. If they're going back to a RWD platform then there's zero reason not to offer a V8 option. No way am I buying a vehicle that size with a 4-banger.

  3. The hybrid and other models are nice but after I reviewed the ST model, the ST is the only way to go in my opinion. 400hp/415tq. https://youtu.be/eIvwFh01REM

  4. The hybrid and other models are nice but after I reviewed the ST model, the ST is the only way to go in my opinion. 400hp/415tq. https://youtu.be/eIvwFh01REM

  5. The horizontal iPad in the dash looks much better. When is the Base model coming out. I'd like to upgrade my 2016 Base for a 2020 Base.

  6. Higher octane gas does not increase engine power. It helps to resist engine knocking, particularly in high compression engines. It also maybe recommend by manufacturers to use when towing to prevent knocking as well. If Ford based their horsepower numbers on premium gas, its probably to prevent knocking while operating at the extremes. HP/torque numbers still apply and you should of said them like every other review out there.

  7. If you drive a turbo car, putting premium is definitely worth it. Coming from a guy that used regular for almost 5 years, I immediately noticed a satisfying boost of power with premium after the second tank.

  8. 2:12 well if we are to be honest first thing to be noticed is that retarded infotainment screen. 2" bezels, reminds us of windows 95 interface but ok, should be functional if there's an option to lower the brightness or turn it off at night etc.

  9. No. The Explorer didn't always have a blacked out A pillar. Nor a D pillar that was blacked out. 1st, 2nd, nor 3rd gen Explorers had blacked out A pillars.
    The Explorer Sport nor Exploer Sport Trac had a blacked out C or D pillar

  10. Outside is beautiful, but the inside is bargain basement. Did they spy at the telluride before presenting this interior package.

  11. The new Ford Explorer is just missing an available V6 Naturally Aspirated Engine, not everyone wants turbo or hybrid engine. Thanks.

  12. Hey, Jaguar Land Rover are on the phone, they'd like their Discovery styling back when you're done ripping it off…

  13. The quad tailpipes are blocked forcing the exhaust to exit out the bottom (via cutouts) of the tailpipes. Any explanation why ford did this?

  14. 4:16 you'd like more… of USB or USB type C????? Because most people don't have USB C to USB C cables yet. We just bought two new Samsungs they came with USB A to C. And everyone has electronics with normal usb cables. The BMW choice of just USB C is sure future proof, but annoying in the present. And most people don't care about what cables they have they just want to be able to plug them. They don't know what they have, it has to work.

  15. Ford Explorer Recall 2019: 1.2 Million SUVs Face Potential Crash Risk

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ford-explorer-recall-2019-1-164710339.html

  16. So much plastic in that interior my God…. exactly why people pay 70k for an X5 of GLE. None of that cost cutting

  17. I did almost 1000 miles last week in my 2016 explorer so the 100k will make the 2020 explorer or f150 hybrids huge for me. These trucks are super for those long window drives. Today it was25.4 mpg 60-80 mph 3.5 awd
    Update.
    Just did 1438 this week. Mpg down to 23.7, mostly from high heat/ humidity 92+°

  18. That tablet looks ridiculous. And the interior is still dated the Kia Telluride looks much better and the interior is modern and beautiful and more than 10k cheaper. Goodby ford!

  19. I love this Explorer…I just wish they made the same vehicle but smaller. I don't have family and don't need all that space, but I really love the looks of this and the horsepower. I know there are other choices (Audi, BMW, VW, etc.) but I've had it with European cars…after two X5's and a Q7 I'm done with Eurotrash problems. All three were always in the shop and repairs (once the warranty was gone) was off the charts!

  20. Very interesting reading the comments comparing this to Telluride/Palisade which I'm in the market for and have test driven Telluride. Will now have to cross-shop against the 2020 Explorer, which appears will drive better due to new rear-wheel drive.

  21. The problem with the Explorer is it already looks dated. And with so many competitors to benchmark, how is Ford able to whiff on the interior so bad?

  22. This newest generation has a nicer look than the current 2019. The current 2019 Explorer is too bubbly, while the 2020 has perfect aerodynamics and straight angles of a true SUV. I'm also happy to see they went back to traditional RWD.
    Ford might have decided on this design due to the feedback of the current generation Mustang. The previous Mustang was too bubbly with all of its flares and curves, while the current Mustang has a good combination of straight angles and aerodynamics.

  23. Great masculine stance on the exterior, Dashboard has a cheap look to it which is a shame considering what Ford has achieved in the power-train options available.

  24. 2:56 I'm sorry, did you just say both those screens are great?? They look ridiculous, especially the "half in/half out" portrait screen. 🤦🏻‍♂️

  25. I really can’t get used to the front end of this new model. The previous models just look more aggressive looking and the current one just looks boring.

  26. Very good thorough review. I just wish they would have let you review an xlt with a 2nd row bench.

  27. Fugly as fuck interior sorry about my language what’s with screen so damn big !!! I will pass on this one

  28. Keep in mind these reviewers will tell you that a 50,000 dollar entry level truck is great value almost cheap, because he is paid by Ford to say so and if he says these trucks are way overpriced he will not perform another review, so here we are paying 40 – 50 grand for base models that will start to fall apart in 5 years after warranty expires , so you keep taking on these huge 1000 dollar a month loans until you go bankrupt, we are being ripped off so big 3 executives can become super millionaires

  29. Đẹp hơn so với 2019 , nhưng model 2020 lại đáng tiếc là nóc mui phần sau lại thấp xuống làm cho đầu người hàng ghế thứ 3 gần chạm nốc mui
    xe ?!

  30. At 6:27 those features are directly from the New Honda Pilot. However, the overall execution of the Explorer is off from what that segment is offering. Just trying to put to much of everything…and nothing innovative from FORD. The video from Edmunds seems more like a FORD paid commercial. Ahhh, not the best…IMHO!!

  31. surprisingly nice exterior proportions, unsurprisingly cheap looking interior.
    Easily take a Telluride over this.

  32. Sir, how do you actually know what people will put in their car for fuel? So, your concern about what octane I might not use is why you failed to provide "hard numbers?" Why no front view of the instrument cluster? Very interesting review.

  33. I've always loved the Ford Explorer and probably always will because they were a game-changing vehicle when they were first introduced, but I really wish on this model as far as the interior goes, they would have made it look more upscale? Some of the plastics in this explorer looks like they came out of the original explorer……and that's not a good thing! I truly believe that's why the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade is beating so many of these well-established SUVs is because the interior those Vehicles looks so up-scale for that price point and I think other car manufacturers are resting on their Laurels and totally missing a great opportunity!

  34. Your reviews in general are FAR ahead of others. Pleasure to listen, full of good content, not too long and finally not a cookie cutter format.

  35. POS. Sits to low and it should be AWD standard period. There are far many hard plastic cheaply made interior peices, the seats are uncomfortable and trashy looking, that screen? Just stupid. There is NO cargo room to speak of and dropping down the seats and lossing those to gain it is b.s.

  36. You cheap skates may not know this, but if the engine was designed for 93 premium fuel, you are going to get much less MPG if you put 87 in. The engine would retard the timing to compensate and waste extra fuel not burn, and produce much less power.

  37. I bet Chevrolet feels real dumb about that blazer now. Can't wait to see how Toyota will respond with the new 4runner now that there's some midsize competition working its way back in.

  38. Lease on a new Explorer Limited is $50/month MORE than Ultimate Palisade (which is a much better car by a mile).

  39. Definitely don’t like the brown top portion of the platinum black interior. Also no option of a bench seat in the ST 🤦🏼‍♂️. This is a family suv Ford. You need to fill it with people!

  40. Wow ,Ford will loose for sure a lot costumers with new Explorer price .I went dealership to check on new model and actually XLT model is older model basic : no fogs ligths ,no turn signal on mirrors,no more 7 seats (optional 4000$) and new famous screen its so small on XLT model ( not same they show in magazine picture or tv ) ….For my old model for new 2014 I did pay 34000$ and if I want to buy with same options 2020 is 52000$ .So I was big fan of Ford ,but 18000$ different makes me start checking on Mazda CX9 ,Kia Teluride or Hyundai Palisade

  41. I went and test drove one of these today and was really impressed by it!! I drove a limited model that stickers for right under 50000 but was listed for 48500! Anyway my thoughts 1 The ride is really good and we hit some roads that have uneveness and pot holes and the suspension soaked that up! Really good ride! The interior is better than i thought and looks really nice! Safety this thing has a tony of safey a list so long i am not going to name all that! Finally the B&O sound system blows away any system in any car under 60000 and is even better than the Burmester in Mercedes!! I cranked The lithium station on Satellite radio and was blown away then switched to the Hits station and Billie Eilish Bad Guy playing this system produces strong tight bass with clear mids and highs!! The Salesman agreed!! My thought yeah probably gonna buy i reallly like it!!!!

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