In an unveiling in Detroit, Ford showcased the 2020 Explorer crossover SUV that is completely new from the ground up. Boasting new powertrains, a rear-wheel drive option, and more capability, the new Explorer further blurs the line between a traditional sport utility vehicle and a crossover.
"Explorer drivers told us what they want--more capability, more power, more space," says Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's head of product development and purchasing. He went on to say that buyers also want more technology, tuned to everyone in the vehicle, not just the driver, and they want style. Thai-Tang says those items set the goals for the new 2020 Explorer.
Powertrains begin with a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine, producing 300 horsepower (224 kW) and a ten-speed automatic transmission. The upgrade engine is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, which produces up to 365 hp (272 kW) – again, with a ten-speed automatic transmission.
The driver has up to seven selectable drive modes, depending on the Explorer's power and drivetrain configuration, each tuned for a specific road, weather, or terrain need. Rear-wheel drive models of the 2020 Explorer have normal drive mode, sport, trail, slippery, tow/haul, and eco modes. Opting for Ford's new Intelligent Four-Wheel Drive adds deep snow and sand modes to that list.
Towing is another option for the 2020 Ford Explorer. The rear-wheel drive model can tow up to 5,600 lb (2,540 kg) with the 3.0-liter engine option and up to 5,300 lb (2,400 kg) with the 2.3L. That's a boost of over 2,000 lb (900 kg) over the previous-generation Explorer's lowest capability and 12 percent more than its highest. Tow packages include hitch kits, transmission coolers, and pre-installed plugs.
Technology is another space that Ford has focused on. Standard in all Explorer models are Ford's 8-inch touchscreen Sync 3 infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, and FordPass Connect Wi-Fi service for connecting up to 10 devices. Also standard are pre-collision assistance and emergency braking, blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts, lane-keeping assist, a lens cleaner for the rearview camera, and automated headlamps and high-beams.
FordPass Connect also includes remote access via a connected smart device, allowing the owner to lock, unlock, and start the vehicle. It also includes vehicle location services and access to key vehicle diagnostics and information.
Available options are things like a 10.1-inch infotainment screen with capacitive glass and Ford's latest park assist feature. The former shares information with a 12.3-inch, fully digital driver information cluster, while the latter completely removes the task of parking from the driver, controlling not just the steering, but also the throttle, brakes, and gear shift in automated parking. Also on offer are safety features such as reverse brake assist and advanced adaptive cruise, which Ford calls Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Speed Sign Recognition. It not only paces traffic, but also uses cameras to read speed limit signs and can adjust cruise speed settings accordingly.
Also available is Ford's Co-Pilot360 system, which adds Evasive Steering Assist to the collision mitigation system and Post-Impact Braking, which lessens potential injuries by applying the brakes after a collision to mitigate secondary collision damages.
The interior of the new 2020 Ford Explorer includes 123 liters of stowage space in the cabin, including small item storage and passenger-area cargo. Optional third row seating folds flat for easier cargo loading and adds two more seats to the five-seat Explorer, for seven in all. Cargo space is measured at 87.8 cubic feet (2,486 liters) of total space with both the second and third rows folded flat. The space is wide enough, Ford says, to allow standard four-foot (1.2-m) building materials to lie flat depending on the seating layout.
The 2020 Ford Explorer will be built at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant and will enter showrooms in North America mid-year 2019. Pricing and other details will be released prior to that launch.
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