2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Ford Explorer
2020 Ford Explorer 1
2020 Ford Explorer Infotainment System 1

2020 Ford Explorer Review: America's Best-Selling Midsize Gets Better

When you offer the best-selling SUV in America, its latest iteration needs to always stay ahead of the curve. With this in mind, the all-new Ford Explorer has been released for the 2020 model year, adding more features and convenience to its seven-seater SUV. Available with a choice of two powertrains, the 2020 Explorer has fully embraced turbocharging, while a new hybrid variant - reviewed separately - is also available. A 2.3-liter EcoBoost with 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque is standard while the ST and Platinum models get a 3.0-liter V6 EcoBoost with 400 hp/415 lb-ft and 365 hp/380 lb-ft respectively. All models utilize a 10-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels, with four-wheel-drive available as an option.

Read in this review:

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2020 Ford Explorer Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Explorer?

The Explorer is fully redesigned for the 2020 model year, with numerous changes to the underpinnings, body, convenience features, and more. Front-wheel-drive is no longer an option on the rear-based platform, with the EcoBoost engines being new. A power liftgate is now standard, while a 10.1-inch LCD infotainment screen is a new option too. Hill-start assist is also a new standard feature, while Limited and higher models get a 360-degree camera and all models get crosswind assist.

Pros and Cons

  • Numerous standard safety features
  • ST model is a bona fide performance SUV
  • Impressive towing capability
  • Multiple variations in trims to suit budget and requirements
  • Capacious cargo volume with seats folded
  • Options can be pricey, and top trims are expensive to start with
  • Interior is a little dull
  • Third-row seating is cramped for adults

What's the Price of the 2020 Ford Explorer?

If you're looking to buy a base Explorer, you won't find one for sale to the public, as it's a fleet-only option that can't be bought through the regular channels. The base model has a starting price of $32,765 before the destination charge of $1,195 and other taxes and fees. The XLT starts at a base price of $36,675. The Limited trim has a base price of $48,130 and the performance-enhanced ST model starts at $54,740. The top-tier Platinum model is the priciest, at $58,250. Ticking the options boxes with wanton abandon can escalate this to over $64,000 for a fully-loaded model. Adding four-wheel-drive to any of the four-cylinder models adds $2,000 to the total cost of the Ford Explorer.

Best Deals on 2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Ford Explorer Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
Hybrid Limited
3.3L Turbo Inline-4 Hybrid
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 Ford Explorer Trims and Specs

2020 Explorer Exterior

2020 Ford Explorer Front Angle View Ford 2020 Ford Explorer Front View Driving Ford 2020 Ford Explorer Rear View Driving Ford
2020 Ford Explorer Front Angle View
2020 Ford Explorer Front View Driving
2020 Ford Explorer Rear View Driving
See All 2020 Ford Explorer Exterior Photos


  • Length 198.8 in
  • Wheelbase 119.1 in
  • Height 69.9 in
  • Max Width 78.9 in
  • Front Width 66.9 in
  • Rear Width 66.9 in
  • Curb Weight 4,345.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Rich Copper Metallic Tinted Clearcoat +$395
  • Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat +$395
  • Star White Metallic Tri-Coat +$595
  • Atlas Blue Metallic
  • Blue Metallic
  • Magnetic Metallic
  • Iconic Silver Metallic
  • Agate Black Metallic
  • Silver Spruce Metallic
  • Oxford White

2020 Explorer Performance

2020 Ford Explorer Forward Vision Ford 2020 Ford Explorer Driving Back View Ford 2020 Ford Explorer Exhaust Ford
2020 Ford Explorer Forward Vision
2020 Ford Explorer Driving Back View
2020 Ford Explorer Exhaust

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas, 3.3L Hybrid, 3.3L Turbo Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    10-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Thanks to unibody construction, the Explorer doesn't feel like a truck with different bodywork plastered on top. This obviously has its trade-offs when it comes to off-roading, but the result is an SUV that feels and behaves more like a car when you're on regular paths. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that you can't take it on some rougher terrain when the need arises - after all, an SUV needs to be a capable pleasurecraft too. While you won't be able to scale cliff-faces, you can speed over rutted dirt trails, flicking rocks up under the Explorer without too much fear of major damage. The available four-wheel-drive system enhances the Explorer's capabilities in this department, but again, it is more suited to dealing with slippery surfaces than severe off-roading.

The performance-biased ST gets four-wheel-drive as standard along with a sport-tuned suspension. Despite this, it rides just as comfortably as the regular models and manages to be a civilized commuter. When you chuck it into the bends, body-roll is less severe and the traction from all four corners allows for sharp acceleration out of the corners. Braking feel on all models is similarly impressive, with no moments of fear ever eroding your trust in the vehicle. The steering is not likely to remind one of a race car, but the weight and direct response is a good indication that Ford has worked hard to make the Explorer a better and more car-like vehicle.

2020 Explorer Interior

2020 Ford Explorer Armrest Ford 2020 Ford Explorer Infotainment System Ford 2020 Ford Explorer Infotainment Setup Ford
2020 Ford Explorer Armrest
2020 Ford Explorer Infotainment System
2020 Ford Explorer Infotainment Setup
See All 2020 Ford Explorer Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 43.0 in
  • Front Head Room 40.7 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.0 in
  • Rear Head Room 40.5 in

2020 Explorer Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Ford Explorer Trunk Space Ford 2020 Ford Explorer Front-End View Ford 2020 Ford Explorer Side View Driving Ford
2020 Ford Explorer Trunk Space
2020 Ford Explorer Front-End View
2020 Ford Explorer Side View Driving

2020 Explorer Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Is the 2020 Ford Explorer A Good SUV?

The Ford Explorer is a considerably different vehicle under the skin compared to its 2019 predecessor, but it's not revolutionary. In this segment, that can be a good thing, as the Ford Explorer is already the best-selling SUV in the USA and buyers don't want a radical change from the vehicle they know and love. With more safety and convenience features, as well as multiple trim levels to choose from, the Explorer is not a bad choice. For those who will regularly make use of the third row, alternatives like the Volkswagen Atlas or the Honda Pilot will be better, but you pay more for the VW and the Honda is lacking in the towing department. The Explorer is a well-rounded vehicle that offers comfort in all trims, is reasonable in terms of pricing, and has a wealth of standard features. It's a solid vehicle and a good cruiser. If you're in the market for a roomy SUV, the Explorer should tick most of the boxes.

What Ford Explorer Model Should I Buy?

The base model of the Explorer is too sparsely equipped and only available as part of a fleet purchase, and the XLT is only slightly better specced. The ST and Platinum models are good but pricey, and with standard four-wheel-drive plus a V6 engine, they're thirsty. Unless you opt for the hybrid SUV variant from Ford, that leaves the Limited trim. The price of a new Ford Explorer in this trim starts at $48,130, this model blends the best of cost-saving with quality features. You get a hands free liftgate, parking sensors all around, heated and ventilated front seats and a heated second row, a power-folding third row, wireless charging, an upgraded B&O sound system with 12 speakers, a surround-view camera, and leather upholstery. We think this makes it the best compromise and a good financial choice, while still boasting impressive towing capabilities.

Check out other Ford Explorer Styles

2020 Ford Explorer Comparisons

Honda Pilot Honda
Chevrolet Traverse
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Ford Explorer300 hp21/28 mpg$36,860
Honda Pilot 285 hp19/27 mpg$37,090
Chevrolet Traverse 310 hp18/27 mpg$34,520

2020 Ford Explorer vs Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot is one of the favorites in this class due to its roomy seating capacity and capable off-road prowess (if you spec the four-wheel-drive models). Starting at $31,550, it's a little more than a grand less expensive than the cheapest Explorer. However, despite a 3.5-liter V6 as standard, it can only muster 280 hp versus the Ford's 300. Despite not being too far off in the power department, other factors mean that it can only tow up to 5,000 lbs, whereas the Explorer can do up to 5,600. It's also thirstier, and things like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and navigation cost extra. Nevertheless, there are a multitude of options available to fit your needs and wants from a vehicle like this, and although its storage capacity is less than that of the Ford, it feels roomier inside and is capable of comfortably seating eight adults. As a people carrier, the Pilot is far better. As a comfortable family car that comes pretty well-specced off the factory floor, we'd have the Explorer.

See Honda Pilot Review

2020 Ford Explorer vs Chevrolet Traverse

The Chevrolet Traverse is another of the Ford Explorer crossover's main competitors, and it's even cheaper than some of the others, starting just below $30k. A 310 hp 3.6-liter V6 is standard, with combined fuel economy figures just 3 mpg behind the Explorer's 24 mpg. Although this engine has a fraction more power, its torque figure is almost 50 lb-ft behind the Explorer's, which hints at poorer towing capacity. Like the Honda Pilot, the Chevy too can seat up to eight people. However, the Ford is indeed better at towing with ratings between 5,000 and 5,600 lbs. The Traverse's towing capacity ranges from around 1,500 to a maximum of 5,000 lbs. The Ford also offers a lot more standard and available safety tech, and thanks to a redesign inside and out the Explorer feels much more modern. Based on the figures and feel, we'd stick with the Ford.

See Chevrolet Traverse Review
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