Nearly 10 years ago Ford transformed its Explorer, moving it from a ladder structure to a monocoque platform. In retrospect that was a stroke of genius, as the vehicle, which had been struggling mightily to attract buyers, has become a star player not just on the automaker’s roster but in the midsize SUV segment as a whole.
It was tweaked again towards the end of 2015 for the 2016 model-year, but the changes were mainly esthetic as well as including some technological updates.
This time around the changes are more extensive, and we’re onto a wholly new generation. Ford has revealed details and images of the model, which will debut at dealerships this summer.
The 2020 Ford Explorer is built on a new modular platform that will also underpin the 2020 Lincoln Aviator. The use of high-strength steel brings the vehicle’s weight down by 200 lb. The Explorer’s former front-wheel drive system is out, replaced by a rear-wheel-drive system, and the motor is placed longitudinally.
The Explorer retains its general proportions and thus its recognisability, but the roof is more slanted towards the rear; also notable are smaller cantilever beams at the two extremities and a sportier look overall. The model will sit on standards 18-inch wheels, with an option to change to 21-inch wheels.
Under the hood, most of the versions will be powered by a 2.3L 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine delivering 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Those hungry for more can opt for the 3.0L EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 that generates up to 365 hpand 380 lb-ft of torque. In all cases power is managed by a 10-speed automatic transmission. Hybrid and ST variants will eventually fill out the product offering and target consumers in search of greater fuel economy in the first case, and enhanced performance in the second.
A new Terrain Management System will give drivers the ability to choose from seven different drive modes. The system analyzes, in real time, the speed of the wheels, the position of the steering wheel and the amount of pressure being applied to the accelerator in order to adjust various parameters to ensure the best possible traction.
Ford is promising a more capable Explorer in terms of towing and payload capacity. Models with the V6 will be able to pull up to 5,600 lbs, while the 4-cylinder engine will allow for towing up to 5,300 (when the Explorer is fitted with the towing package). Cargo capacity is 2,486 litres with the rear seats folded down, which by the way creates a fully flat floor.
On board, the look as been substantially modernized; the central console is dominated by a floating, vertically oriented screen. The instrumentation in front of the driver is now fully digital. Ford says comfort was a major focus for the next-gen Explorer, and the presentation is noticeably more lush, particularly in the higher-end trims. Options include captain’s chairs for the second row as well as a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
WiFi accessibility is also available. Unsurprisingly, the new Explorer is also given the latest tech in terms of connectivity and safety features.
Once all the 2020 Explorer versions are rolled out, there will be six of them to choose from: the base model, the XLT, the Limited (in both regular and hybrid configuration), the ST and the top-end Platinum.
Pricing has not yet been announced, but in the U.S. Ford is saying the starting price will increase by some $400 over the current edition.
Article by Auto123.com