If you want a family car that doesn’t have the bad rep of a minivan, the 2020 Ford Explorer is your best bet.
It’s great for camping trips with the family, going to sports games, and even the occasional haul. The 2020 Ford Explorer might be just what you’ve been looking for if you want something that’s affordable, roomy, and good on gas.
Most of the time, a car company will make a few small changes and then make the same car year after year. The 2020 Ford Explorer didn’t turn out like that.
For starters, they got rid of some of their engine options. Now, you can only get a 2.3L EcoBoost, which was available for 2019 models, a brand-new 3.0L EcoBoost V6, or a 3.3L EcoBoost Hybrid.
But Ford not only gave their Ford Explorers a brand-new engine, but they also changed the transmission. All of their models now have an automatic ten-speed transmission instead of the automatic six-speed transmission they had been using for years.
Ford made a lot of changes to the 2020 Explorer, but the safety features and interior options that come with all of their packages are the most important ones. Active Blind Spot Monitoring is now standard on all Ford Explorers, which is a big plus for such a big car.
Also, Ford Explorers now come with a feature called “Lane Keep Assist.” To be fair, most SUVs have had these features for a long time, and Ford is finally catching up to the rest of the pack. The 2020 Ford Explorer’s interior upgrade is the same kind of change.
The 2020 Ford Explorer has a backup camera that cleans itself. This is a feature that no other car has. It has a sensor and a wiper built right into it, so your backup camera will always be clean and ready to use.
Disadvantages of a Ford Explorer
It’s a real family SUV in every way. Ford’s “sport” package is the ST model, but it still doesn’t have a V8 engine. It has 400 horsepower, but the Dodge Durango SRT and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, which both have 475 horsepower, are still faster. Even the Chevy Tahoe has the ability to make 420 horsepower.
Ford made Explorers for comfort and ease of use, not for speed and power. People like high-end SUVs because they can fit the whole family in them during the week and take them to the track on the weekend, but the Ford Explorer’s ST package isn’t good enough.
Also, even though Ford made some safety features the same for the 2020 model, the base model still doesn’t have some comfort features that other SUVs have as standard. For example, the back seats of the base model Explorer don’t have USB charging ports, which is a big problem for families going on road trips.
Also, don’t be fooled by the name “EcoBoost”; these engines don’t get better gas mileage than other SUVs in the same class. Even though this isn’t a bad thing, it’s also not a good thing.
You get what you pay for with any car you buy, and the more you pay, the more you get.
Explorer – MSRP $32,765
It’s just the basic Ford Explorer. The 2020 Explorer doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that their premium packages do, but it does have most of the advanced safety features that come standard in newer cars.
This includes a reverse sensing system, a backup camera, lane-keep assist, and a remote start. The base model Ford Explorer package can’t be upgraded from its 2.3L EcoBoost Engine.
Even though the base Explorer packages don’t have as many high-tech comfort features as the higher packages, they are the only ones that come with high beams that turn on automatically.
It’s important to note that the base model Ford Explorer has even less technology than many other base models of SUVs.
XLT – MSRP $36,925
The Explorer XLT model has a few more features, and we think it’s what Ford should offer as their base model.
Ford added USB ports to the second row and three more 12V power plugs to the second and third rows. The smart access doors automatically unlock when you go to open the door. You also get access to the second-row console and a better set of wheels.
Lastly, it’s the first option that lets you add a heated steering wheel, a navigation system that you can control with your voice, and a moonroof. It doesn’t have enough features to blow your mind, and most other manufacturers include the features it does have in their base package. Also, the XLT model is the only one that doesn’t have the option of a remote start. It comes with all other packages.
Limited – MSRP $48,380
When you step up to the Ford Explorer Limited, you start to get more advanced comfort features. The rearview mirror automatically darkens. It has front and back safety sensors, heated steering wheels, a power steering column, wireless charging, power-folding seats, a better stereo system, and leather seats.
You can get the 3.3L Hybrid engine if you choose the Explorer. You still can’t get the 3.0L EcoBoost V6 though. That means you have to choose between the 2.3 EcoBoost or the Hybrid.
ST – MSRP $54,740
If you don’t want a hybrid or a four-cylinder SUV, you have to get either the ST or Platinum package, which come with the 3.0L EcoBoost V6 as standard. It’s also the first time that “Intelligent 4WD” comes as a standard feature instead of being an extra.
Ford made the ST model as their “sports” package, but even though it’s better than the last model year, it’s still a bit of a letdown. The upgraded engine is a 3.0L EcoBoost V6, which gets you from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. This is still slower than the 6.2L Chevy Tahoe, not to mention the Dodge Durango SRT and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.
But it has more chrome plating and exhaust tips that give it a sportier look. It also has a better sports suspension. Ford also tweaked the 6.2L engine to give it more power. It can now make up to 400 horsepower and 415 pounds of torque.
Lastly, it’s the first choice where you can use park assist. This should be a standard feature on Ford’s less expensive cars, even if it has to be added as an upgrade.
Platinum – MSRP $58,250
The Ford Explorer Platinum is a bit of a letdown for being “fully loaded.” It has a V6 3.0L EcoBoost engine, but it’s not tuned for speed. Because of this, the 3.0L EcoBoost loses 35 horsepower and can now only make 365 horsepower.
Also, it doesn’t have the sports suspension that the ST model has. Instead, it’s basically the Limited model with a few upgrades to its looks.
That’s because the Ford Explorer Platinum is meant to be a step up from the Limited model and more for families than for people who like fast cars. But the only real difference is the upgraded engine, which isn’t tuned for the most power.
It’s not clear if the few other differences in looks and the better engine are worth the extra $10,000 price tag. Instead, you should probably get the Ford Explorer ST, which is about $4,000 cheaper.
There are three engine options for the 2020 Ford Explorer: the 2.3L EcoBoost, the 3.3L EcoBoost Hybrid, and the 3.0L EcoBoost V6. They are reliable engines with enough power to pull most accessories. But they won’t be able to beat other high-end SUVs in many races.
The Ford Explorer’s ST option is a step in the right direction, but it hasn’t caught up to the competition yet, which is not what you want in a performance model.
Obviously, if you’re looking for a family SUV, you’re not looking for a speed demon. You want something that’s reliable. There, the EcoBoost engines get good grades and have been shown to be more reliable than other Ford Explorer engines that have been available in the past.
The Final Verdict
The most important thing about the Ford Explorer is how big it is. In the end, it’s very disappointing because if they made some of the “advanced” model perks standard in their base model, they’d have the perfect family SUV at a great price. Instead, you have to pay more to get what most other SUVs give you for free.