Ford gave the Explorer a midcycle refresh for the 2018 model year, but it remained generally the same as before. If one report is to be believed, though, the Explorer is soon in for its most radical redo in decades.
The 2020 Ford Explorer will return to a rear-wheel-drive-capable platform and bring a few surprises along for the ride, The Truth About Cars reports, citing sources familiar with Ford's plans. It will still be built in Chicago, but it will ride on the new CD6 platform that's capable of spawning vehicles with front-, all- or rear-wheel drive. The Explorer moved from RWD to an FWD/AWD platform with the introduction of its fifth generation in 2010.
This platform will allegedly be the basis for a Lincoln-based Explorer counterpart, as well. Whether it's a new generation of the Nautilus (née MKX) has yet to be seen.
The Explorer is rumored to pack four power train options when it moves to the CD6 platform. It'll carry over its current 2.3-liter I4, and it will snag the 3.3-liter V6 from the F-150, too. The third option is a hybrid, which will likely make its way to the Explorer-based police SUV, too. A 10-speed automatic will come over from the F-150, too.
The most interesting engine for the new Explorer, though, is the 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 that will form the basis for a new Explorer ST trim. Building on the (hopeful) success of the Edge ST crossover, the Explorer ST is rumored to pack more than the 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque it makes in the current Lincoln Continental sedan. Sounds spicy.
As you might expect if you've been around a while, Ford declined to comment, saying the company does not speculate about future products. Most automakers will say the same thing, because they prefer to unveil cars when it's convenient for them. With production rumored to begin in 2019, we're probably going to have to wait a while.