An all-new 2020 Ford Explorer will make its debut on January 9, 2019 at Ford Field in Detroit. Before the camouflage comes off, here are 5 things we will likely see on the new Explorer three-row SUV.
With expectations high on this SUV, and for good reason with a booming SUV market, Ford is keen to best its rivals by debuting the SUV prior to the 2019 North American International Auto Show. This offsite event will feature the SUV and a large collection of media. When it is finally shown in its production form, we expect 5 new things.
Based on numerous spy photos, we expect an updated exterior style similar to current generation Ford Explorer models overall with a few exceptions. For example, we expect to see a new front grille, headlights and a slightly altered rear design losing a colored or chrome belt line (depending on trim level).
The overall side profile of the new Explorer will mirror market trends and feature a more sloped look with a smaller third-row window bringing the roof line closer to the rear end. This creates a more aerodynamic look as well.
Finally, we expect higher trim levels to have LED fog lights and a front skid plate for a more muscular front end.
Imagining what the interior will look like, one only needs to look at the new Lincoln Aviator for clues since the Explorer will be built on the same platform and use similar parts. Basically, the layout will likely be real similar and the only changes will be what materials and how much chrome will be used with the Explorer receiving less than the Aviator.
Notable items for the new interior include a rotary dial shifter, large color touchscreen display and paddle shifters behind the steering wheel likely meant for certain trims.
Speaking of a paddle shifters, they will be standard equipment on a new ST trim. This ST trim model is expected to make its debut offering a much sporty version of the three-row SUV.
The expectation is this model will be powered by either the high output 3.5L V-6 EcoBoost found in the Raptor (likely de-tuned a bit) or the 2.7L V-6 offered in the smaller Edge ST.
This ST model has been getting plenty of press thanks to the Michigan State Police which has been testing the new powertrain. They called it the “fastest police vehicle in America” with a 0-100 mph, faster lap and faster average lap than their V-8 equipped cars. The police estimate a top speed of 150 MPH for the EcoBoost powered model and 137 MPH for a hybrid engine. It is expected the horsepower output will be around 400 and combined fuel economy in the mid 20s.
Powertrain and Rear-Wheel Drive
One of the largest changes will likely be the Explorer’s switch from a front-wheel drive setup to a rear-wheel drive setup like the Lincoln Aviator uses. This will allow the handling on the ST model (and others) to be much better and should provide a more exciting driving dynamic.
There will also be an AWD option for Explorer models as well.
It is also expected the new Explorer will have a 10-speed transmission as standard equipment following the rest of the new Ford models in offering one.
There is also speculation a new hybrid V-6 engine will join the lineup alongside a 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder and a 3.0L EcoBoost V-6. They hybrid is going to be an interesting announcement and an interesting option for consumers who have concerns about turbocharged engines.
Availability, Pricing, MPG
After its debut, the new 2020 Ford Explorer will likely go on display at various auto shows and make its debut on dealer lots in the Spring of 2019. Pricing, MPG and final towing/payload numbers will likely be announced in the coming months.