The Explorer is offered in base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum models, but no matter the model, it comes with three well-designed rows of seating and room for up to seven (the second row comes with two bucket seats for adults). While the third row is kid-sized, it's easier to fold than those on just about any other model, thanks to the simple, single-button power-folding system. Parents will also note that LATCH fasteners for child seats are included in the second-row outboard positions. Both the second and third rows flip forward, giving a cavernous 81 cubic-feet of cargo space.
The base engine is a 3.5L V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, with EPA ratings of 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The optional 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder makes a healthy 280 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, and fuel economy is best in class at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
The 4-wheel-drive system in the Explorer is available with both engines, and it is designed with the urban driving done by most Explorer owners in mind. The system includes a Terrain Management system that cleverly recalibrates itself for snow, sand or mud when needed. With 4-wheel drive, there's also Hill Descent Control, to help maintain composure on steep, slippery slopes.
Standard equipment on the Explorer is more extensive than what's found in most mainstream-brand vehicles. Cruise control, a media hub system, four 12-volt powerpoints, capless fuel-filling and the MyKey control/monitoring feature are all standard on the base model, while optional or standard goodies on the upper XLT or Limited trims include dual-zone climate control; remote start; power-folding, heated side-view mirrors; reverse sensing; ambient lighting, adjustable pedals, a rearview camera system, push-button start and a 110-volt AC outlet. The top-of-the-line Platinum trim includes quilted leather seating, brush aluminum accents, and ash wood inlays.
MyFord Touch combines a host of vehicle, information and entertainment functions in an interface that appears a bit like that of iPads or other tablet computers. The system works together with Ford's Sync interface to interact seamlessly -- and with voice commands -- with media players, smartphones and music on USB sticks.
All Explorers include both Roll Stability Control and Curve Control sophisticated stability control systems. Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags also cover all three rows and an SOS Post-Crash System helps alert authorities if the airbags deploy. Safety-related tech features on the Explorer include adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system that includes brake support as well as a Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert.
The 2020 Ford Explorer might not look all that different to the casual observer, but underneath that familiar skin, it's a whole new ballgame. Ford's midsize SUV rides on a brand-new platform and gets new powertrain options, .
For folks who favor fast, there's even a high-performance version, too. It's called the Explorer ST, and it's got a 400-horsepower V6 under the hood.
The sixth-gen Explorer takes an evolutionary step forward in terms of design, with a sloped roofline, some more pronounced body sculpting and a six-inch longer wheelbase. For the ST, the Explorer gets black body cladding, special badging and optional, black-finish, 21-inch wheels. Combined with the 2020 Explorer's sleeker headlights, the result is one sharp CUV.
The Good The 2020 Ford Explorer ST features a punchy EcoBoost V6 engine, loads of tech and plenty of space for families and their gear.
The Bad The third-row seat can be a little tough to access and the seat cushion placement is low.
The Bottom Line The 2020 Ford Explorer ST is a great option for families that want a little hustle in daily driver.
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