2020 Ford Explorer is aimed at being a smarter, sportier family hauler

The redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer isn’t the most exciting vehicle, but it is important. Buyers are ditching cars in droves, opting for crossovers and SUVs. So is Ford: The automaker plans to stop selling virtually all cars in the United States. At least Ford tried to make the 2020 Explorer, which debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show and goes on sale this summer, into a more well-rounded vehicle.

We’ve already gotten a glimpse of the new Explorer in the form of the 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility, an Explorer-based cop car. The Explorer is still a car-like crossover, which may upset purists looking for a return to the vehicle’s body-on-frame SUV roots. But the 2020 Explorer moves to a new rear-wheel drive platform that Ford claims will improve performance both on-road and off-road.

Off-road capability wasn’t really a priority for the previous-generation Explorer, but Ford did try to bake some ruggedness into the new model. It probably won’t be a match for a Jeep Wrangler, but the 2020 Explorer does get the Terrain Management System from the Ranger and F-150 Raptor pickup trucks. This automatically adjusts different vehicle parameters, depending on the terrain.

The Explorer also gets a sporty ST variant for the first time. Ford didn’t offer many details but, given our experience with the Edge ST crossover, we’re keeping our expectations in check.

Ford will offer two engines in the 2020 Explorer. A 2.3-liter twin-turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque is standard. An optional 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 makes 365 hp and 380 lb-ft, but only on 93-octane gasoline, according to Ford.

On the inside, the Explorer can be equipped with a 10.1-inch portrait touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The infotainment system is Ford’s familiar Sync 3, with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Waze, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot that can handle up to 10 devices. A 980-watt, 14-speaker B&O audio system is also available.

The Explorer comes standard with Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of driver aids, including autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, and automatic high beams. Optional features include adaptive cruise control (which can read road signs to determine the speed limit), Evasive Steering Assist (increases power-steering boost during emergency maneuvers) and Post-Impact Braking (automatically applies the brakes after a crash to prevent secondary collisions). An optional park-assist system can automatically parallel or perpendicular park the Explorer, Ford boasts.

Pricing for the 2020 Ford Explorer will be revealed closer to the model’s summer launch. In the meantime, the Explorer will share the Detroit stage with the Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. At over 700 hp, it will be the most powerful production Mustang ever. We know which one we’d rather take home.


Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is ready to strike with over 700 hp

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 revives one of the greatest names in American muscle cars, and gives Ford some ammunition in the horsepower war with Chevy and Dodge. Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the GT500 boasts over 700 hp.

2020 XT6 three-row crossover is a Cadillac for families

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2020 Cadillac XT6 crossover launches General Motors' luxury brand into territory already dominated by the likes of Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.