A competitor in the segment. Is there anything missing?
The all-new 2020 Explorer that now features more power and space than ever, and smart new technologies to help tackle life’s adventures is finally for sale. Ford has made us wait a whole 9 years for this much awaited re-think of the popular all-terrain-ish SUV.
Explorer is now more capable, comfortable, sportier and roomier in all three rows thanks to Ford’s flexible new chassis architecture.
Improved off-road capability comes courtesy of intelligent four-wheel drive and an available new Terrain Management System™ that features seven drive modes.
Standard features include a power lift-gate, 8-inch digital touch screen and a comprehensive package of driver assist and safety technologies. All launch models will come equipped with a revised 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine that produces 300 horsepower and 420Nm of torque. The engine is matched to an all-new 10-speed transmission and Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system.
Technology designed to heighten the experience of traveling
Building upon Ford’s push to bring more driver-assist technology to market, the all-new Explorer is packed with the very latest innovations from Ford.
Every Explorer comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360™, a suite of driver-assist technologies including:
- Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, which includes Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support
- Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert
- Lane-Keeping System
- Rearview camera with built-in lens cleaner
- Auto headlamps with auto high-beams
Other available Ford Co-Pilot360 Plus technologies include Evasive Steering Assist, which provides steering support to help avoid a collision; and Post-Impact Braking provides braking after a collision to lessen injury and damage caused by a secondary crash event. Explorer also is available with Ford’s all-new Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control which automatically slows the vehicle down when traffic ahead slows. It also helps keep the vehicle centered in its lane.
Explorer features an 8-inch touch screen mounted in the center of the dash. Navigation maps can fill the entire screen for easy viewing, or split the space with audio information. The screen uses capacitive glass comparable to what consumers are accustomed to on smartphones and tablets, providing a quicker, more responsive interaction with the updated SYNC 3 system. Standard SYNC 3’s more intuitive layout gives drivers compatibility with available features such as Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto® and Waze navigation.
A wireless charging pad is available that allows customers to recharge compatible mobile devices, and up to four USB ports, including new type-C outlets, charge next-generation mobile devices. Up to five 12-volt outlets and a 230-volt outlet are also available.
For music lovers, Explorer offers an available 980-watt, 12-speaker B&O premium audio system.
A known formula for the new normal?
Ford’s recipe resides on three main pillars: capability, comfort and design. The new rear-wheel-drive architecture enables bumper-to-bumper improvements that include a more athletic appearance, increased capability and larger interior space. The EcoBoost engine receives a… boost, delivering more power and torque than the outgoing model, which had the same engine.
While performance and capability was certainly a priority, so was accommodating smaller items such as everyday drink bottles and cellphones. With every detail scrutinized, the new Explorer boasts 123 litres of stowage space throughout the cabin, giving passengers in all three rows no shortage of places to stash personal items.
Third-row seats are powered and easy entry second-row seats allows for a flat-floor cargo area that stretches out to offer 2,486 litres of cargo space. Redesigned ISOFIX anchor points allow child seat installation anywhere in the second and third rows.
A number of consistent design qualities have helped define Explorer over the past 30 years, and the design team strived to hold on to these important pieces of heritage. Longtime traits – including Explorer’s blacked-out A-pillars and D-pillars and body-colour C-pillars – are retained. Changes to the overall profile include a more sloping roofline and shorter front overhang, giving the vehicle a sportier, more stylish appearance.
But what about?
So, it all seems ok. Were you to design a car following a to-do list, the new Explorer seems to tick them all. However, the new design is clearly a combustion car. Sure, there is going to be a hybrid version in 2021, but what ever happened to the forward thinking that has brought the Mustang EV? Where is the design focus to cars of the future? What about those living in cities about to ban non-EV or hybrid cars in their metropolitan areas?
Given that the Explorer aims to be a best-seller on the Ford menu, we feel not having a hybrid from day one, and certainly not having an EV version even announced, may prove to be a deterrent for modern buyers. Especially in large swatches of Europe.
That said, and priced between 35,000 and 64,000 USD, the new Explorer leaves us with mixed feelings. Normally in the same chart as the Chevrolet Traverse, the Honda Pilot or the Hyundai Santa Fe, it is about 5,000 USD more expensive and quite near supposedly more premium brands such as Infiniti. We are not sure, hopefully we will be able to test it soon and find out why the difference…