This is the 2020 Ford Explorer SP and it’s. The sporty version of the all new Ford Explorer, which is just coming out for the 2020 model year now the last Ford Explorer came out back in 2013, so it’s been seven years since we’ve had a new Explorer, but The new one is finally here and today I’m, going to review it.
, I’ve, borrowed this new Explorer from North County Ford here in Vista California, north of San Diego, where the 2020 Explorer is just starting to reach the showroom now North County Ford is my local Ford dealership, and it is also the Dealership, where I’ve, taken my Ford GT in for service, you can check them out by clicking the link in the description below.
So let’s. Talk Explorer. Now the Explorer came out almost thirty years ago. That’s. Hard to believe and it’s been a popular midsize, family, SUV or crossover ever since Ford considers this to be the sixth generation of the Explorer and prices start around $ 37,000, which places it in line with mid-level versions of the Honda Pilot and The Toyota Highlander in terms of pricing and equipment, but this Explorer is the king of the hill.
Now the entry-level Explorer comes with a turbo four-cylinder that makes 300 horsepower or you can upgrade to a turbo v6 with 365 horsepower, or you can upgrade to this. The Explorer ST the ST starts around $ 55,000, and it uses that same turbo, v6 tuned for 400 horsepower that’s over a hundred horsepower more than you can get in any pilot or Highlander.
This thing does 0-60 in five and a half seconds. So today I’m, going to show you around the new Explorer and I’m, going to show you all of its interesting quirks and features. Then I’m gonna get it out on the road and drive it and then I’m going to give it a dug score and for more of my thoughts on the new Explorer click, the link below to visit autotrader.
com, slash Oversteer, where I’ve, also rounded up a list of the coolest old-school Ford models currently listed for sale on auto trader. All right, I’m, going to start the quicksand features of the new Explorer with something you noticed.
The moment you climb inside and that would be the gear and lever, or rather the absence of the gear lever and said it is a gear dial and you twist it to get it into gear. This is borrowed from the new Ford GT.
Now it’s worth noting other Ford models also have this gear dial, but if you’re an explorer on or you can go around telling people that you share the gear dial from the Ford GT now there is one drawback to This gear dial and that’s.
The fact that if it’s in direct sunlight like it is now it’s, really difficult to see exactly what gear you’re in, but obviously in the gauge cluster screen. It gives you a back up letting you know what gear you’re.
In in case you can’t, see on your gear dial. Now next up another interesting item in the vicinity of the gear dial below it. You see the parking brake and then there’s a button with a little hand that’s like waving inside a circle.
So what exactly is that that would be the auto hold feature and what that does? Is you activate it, and then you come up to a stoplight and the car will automatically hold itself in place with the brake lights on and you don’t have to keep your foot on the brake, because that is oh, so difficult.
And then you just press the accelerator and you drive away many new cars have that feature, but I’ve, never seen the little hand wavey circle button before and next up. Another interesting item worth noting in the center console area is the sheer amount of smartphone storage.
This is 2019, smartphones are everywhere, and Ford has thought of everywhere. You could put them directly in front of the cupholders. You can see there’s, a little cavern where you can stick your smartphone.
If you press this little silver thing, it pops open a lid and then in there you can stick your smartphone behind all the center controls. There is a wireless charging pad where you put your smartphone and it will charge itself and then, if you open up the center console storage lid, there’s.
A little tray hanging from the top and once again another place where you can put your smartphone. In other words, there are four different specific smartphone storage places just in this center console, for it really wanted this vehicle to be practical and next up.
Another little interesting item in the center console this little silver lid at the top. Where you push the silver button and it pops open, you can see there’s, also a little thumb slot, where you can insert your thumb and open it up.
Except you, because you push the silver button and it pops open that thumb slot does nothing except this little compartment contains the USB port, and so, if you have your phone hooked up to a USB cord, you can stick the cord through that little slot, and you Can still close this lid that’s, a pretty good idea now, next up moving on to the steering wheel – and I have to say I love this steering wheel like I mentioned, this is the ST version, the performance model of the new Explorer, and This is the steering that you’d, expect from a performance car it’s.
This nice, thick meaty, steering wheel, very grip. A bow has little grips on the side for what your hands get sweaty on the racetrack. I really really like this wheel would look right at home in the Focus RS now.
You will also notice that this sporty steering wheel has the ST logo at the bottom. There are several different changes and upgrades made to the Explorer ST to distinguish it from the regular version, and I’ll go over those in a few minutes.
One other interesting item about the steering wheel is the stitching you can see it. Has this nice white cross stitching in the middle? I really like that and frankly I really like the quality of this interior in general.
There is a lot of plastic, but that’s, pretty standard for this segment, but there’s. Also, a lot of materials that feel good, very nice to touch, and they look really good, especially in the center control stack, which is an area that you’re.
Looking in pretty often Plus that white stitching from the steering wheel is carried over to the seats where it looks really good and word helps to ensure that this new Explorer has kind of a more luxurious atmosphere than most traditional mid-sized family SUVs.
And next up, we move on to the infotainment screen in the new Explorer and you will see and then it’s vertical, which is an interesting decision. A few automakers are doing vertical screens now of Tesla Volvo, the new RAM and now this Explorer, and there are some benefits and drawbacks with the vertical screen.
The main benefit is that you can put a lot of information on the screen without having to really screw up the placement of everything you can see. The climate vents are still right in the middle on either side of the screen, and yet you still have all that info.
You have in a horizontal screen, but there are some drawbacks and the biggest of which is the cameras. This car has a very advanced camera system and when you shift into reverse, you can see very high resolution, but because of the orientation of the screen, the cameras are kind of stuck at the top and you can’t really see them all that.
Well, it’s, a bad use of space in a horizontal, you’d, be able to spread those cameras out a little bit more and you’d, be able to see them better, which of course, is helpful when you’re backing up or moving around in a small space and next trip moving on to some interesting features of the screen, one of which is in satellite radio settings.
If you go in here there’s, a setting, you can go to called skip channels and then you can choose which channels it skips when you’re like scrolling through the channel dial. So if you really hate 60s on 6, you could make sure that your thing goes straight from 50s on 5 to 70s on 7.
If, for some reason, you decide to do that, never seen that before is a configurable setting in any of their car with satellite radio in another interesting setting. This infotainment screen gives you it allows you to change the background of the screen, the home screen, but you can see if you do that all the colors are basically the same just these boring bland inoffensive colors, but it gets more boring than that.
If you look at the night version, you can see they’re. Really the same. You can choose between dark, blue, really, dark, blue, very dark, blue or also very dark. Blue Ford has decided they don’t want to go crazy with their infotainment screen, color choices and next up another cool feature in this infotainment system.
If you go into the seats menu, you can use this screen to turn on the massaging seat. Now that is really impressive. You can see. There are several different options. You can turn it to low medium or high, very, very cool.
A lot of luxury vehicles offer massaging seats, they’re, pretty common, but very very few family crossovers do. Unfortunately, it’s, only the driver seat, but still it’s. A really impressive feature to have in a vehicle like this, and if you like, a good massage while you’re driving, the Explorer is your car.
As for the infotainment system itself, it’s, pretty good, nothing, particularly incredible or special about it, but no big drawbacks. It’s, reasonably responsive does what it’s asked and the vertical configuration also helps align it with smartphones, which obviously are also configured vertically and which we’re, all pretty much used to, and next up we move on To the gauge cluster screen, which is indeed a screen, no more physical, fixed dials.
Basically, all vehicles are moving to this now over on the right. You have an information screen and you can scroll through various different items, some of which are interesting, starting with the off-road status screen, which will show your current role and pitch and your steering angle, you can see it changes as I turn the wheel, which, of course, Could be helpful if you’re off-roading and you want to figure out your exact positioning.
Another item I like in that write information screen is the eco coach feature, which will actually tell you how well you’re doing in terms of green driving for acceleration/deceleration and maintaining an efficient speed.
You can see whoever drove this last did a very green job of driving it and you can have that screen on all the time and say: oh, I’m. Accelerating too fast. I’m decelerating too fast. I need to be more eco and your eco coach will show you how to do it now.
One other interesting item in that information display on the right is, if you scroll all the way to the top, you will get to something called calm screen and it will show nothing and that way. If you don’t want any information shown to you if you’re just overwhelmed by at all, put on calm screen and things get a little calmer now next up.
Another interesting item is: if you look at the gauge cluster screen, you can see that the speedometer is over on the Left, which is a little bit odd. Why not in the middle? Well, you see this button at the end of the turn signal stalk.
If you press it the speedometer, slides right over to the middle, you see that press the button it slides over press it again slides back slides over slides back. You could have fun doing this all day, so why does it do that? Why does that button? Do that well, that button is the lane, keep assist feature and you can turn it on or off and when it’s on, you can see two lane markers in the center that show you.
If you’re going out of your lane, if you’re drifting, if you turn off the feature, those lane markers go away and then you can put the speedometer back in the middle and next step. Moving on to the back seat.
In the new Explorer spend a little time back here and you’ll realize nothing particularly special, but it does have pretty much everything you’d. Need for one thing, the appearance is pretty nice. You have the white stitching on the back seats again, just like in front which looks good and there’s plastic, but nothing looks out of place or ugly or too cheap back here.
It’s, a nice place to be another. Nice item back here is the fact that you have many cup holders. Each door panel has two different cup holders in it, one above one below, and then there are two more cup holders in the middle for it: total of six cupholders just for the two seats in the second row.
So if you’re back here, you can have a lot of drinks. Other items rear passengers will benefit from one is the climate controls there’s, a separate climate zone for the second row, and you can see the controls on the back of the front center console very simple to use just turn it on.
Then you can turn up the air change, the temperature, all that you also have heated rear seats back here, which is becoming pretty common, but they’re here in the Explorer as well and next up another cool feature in the back of the new Explorer is the fact that it has sun shades built into the rear doors.
If you have a new baby, it might be sensitive to light, and so you ‘ Ll want a sunshade on the window to keep light out, but for some reason it’s, mostly luxury cars that have this feature and not family SUVs.
So most people get like little suction cups. Sun shades that don’t even cover the whole window, but the Explorer has it built-in? You can see you just pull it up, you attach it and then you’re good to go.
The window is covered, the rear passengers are shaded from the Sun, more mid-sized family SUV should have this feature with that said, one drawback in the back seat of the Explorer is the fact that there’s only one traditional USB port back here.
It’s behind this little plastic door, you open it and then you can see that’s, your one port, most other midsize SUVs, have two one for each side, but the Explorer does have a household style power outlet back here.
So, theoretically, you could plug in a power strip to that thing and then plug in as many USB chargers as you want not sure how safe that is, but it’s an option. And next we move on to the third row seat in the new Explorer, and specifically I want to talk about accessing the third row now getting in to the third row is easy enough, but it’s, not quite as easy as it was in The hyundai palisade that I recently review for two reasons: one is the button you push to get in now: the Explorer it’s, easy enough.
You push a button on the backrest of the second row, seat, backrest folds forward and then the whole seat. Slides forward and you can get in the benefit that the palisade had was it had two buttons one up there, but then there was also a second button mounted lower.
That did the same thing. In case you had like a small child who couldn ‘ T reach that higher up button. That was a pretty good idea. The other problem with the Explorers second row folding, is the fact that when you push the button and fold the second, the bottom half doesn’t fold forward, and that means that it stays exactly as big as it is, which limits your entry space Into the third row now that’s, pretty common most SUVs are like that.
The palisade was special in the fact that it gave you a little extra room, but it means that getting back here can be a little bit challenging if you’re large and now for proof of that. I a rather tall human will attempt to climb into the third row in the Explorer it’s doable, but obviously it could be a little bit easier now, once you’re back here, the third row is pretty standard, just like every Other third row and every other midsize crossover not a lot of room for adults, but you could use it if you had to mostly more for children, but again it’s.
Here it’s, useful. It’s. A third row and by the way, climbing into the third row, if you’re, an adult is really only half the battle. In fact, I think it’s easier to get in then get out. Oh it’s. You can clearly see not the most comfortable thing.
I am next up. We move on to the cargo area in the new Explorer and first I want to talk about just accessing the cargo area, which is a bit of a quirk in itself. To get this tailgate open. You don’t push right in the middle here, because that’s, where the reverse camera is, and you don’t push directly to the side of the middle on either side.
That’s, not where the little button to pop it open is either. Instead, you go all the way to the end of the word Explorer and you see a little triangle pointing down a little button is under there. You push it and then the cargo area reveals itself, the lift gate opens up automatically and you can see what we have back here now.
As you can see, the cargo area and the new Explorer is not exactly huge, but it is pretty good for a three row. Suv, a lot of three real family crossovers. The rear seats come right up against the tailgate.
Not in this one. There is some space to put stuff back here. It’s, good packaging from the Explorer, and if you want even more space where you can put stuff just lift up the cargo floor and there’s more capacity down there for extra stuff.
If you want to stick even more cargo items in back one thing I like, by the way the little handle that you pulled to lift up the cargo floor, it says Explorer on it and it has a picture of an explorer.
In case you forgot which vehicles cargo floor, you were lifting and another cool feature in the back of the explore. So many crossovers are starting to offer it. That would be power. Folding third row seats.
You press a little button back here and you can drop the right seat. For example, if you want it down, you can drop the left seat. If you want that down or you couldn’t drop them both at the same time with a different button that combines them.
And if you want the seats to come back up when they’re down, just press the buttons again and the seats will come all the way back up automatically. So you don’t have to deal with any latches or levers or straps or anything else in third row vehicles from the old days.
And finally, we move on to the front of the new Explorer. There are a couple of interesting items worth noting one is the front-end styling. The new Explorer seems smaller sleeker than the old one, except in the front where it looks more aggressive, bolder.
They really want you to know it’s. A Ford. Has this big grille and it just looks like it – has way more presence up front, even though the rest of the Explorer kind of seems sleeker. The one exception to that giant front situation is the turn signal which is actually really small.
It’s integrated into this tiny portion of the headlight and it’s. A rather small turn signal, considering this otherwise large and aggressive front end design. And finally, we move under the hood, and here you can see the engine.
Obviously, like I mentioned turbo v6 with 400 horsepower, which is really impressive for the mid-sized family crossover class, but that’s. What you get if you get an explorer ST and 0 to 60 in five and a half seconds pretty good.
Now you might be wondering what else do you get if you get the Explorer ST aside from 35, more horsepower than the regular v6 and a hundred more horsepower than the base model there’s? Actually a pretty long list.
One is blacked out stuff on the outside. You can see the Explorer badge on the hood is blacked out which looks cool and you have these blacked out wheels, which also look cool and help distinguish the S key from the standard Explorer same deal with the mirror.
Caps blacked out not painted body color, but again they give it kind of a cool look. The ST model also includes, quite a few s, T badges to remind you that you got the high performance Explorer. You have an ST badge in the grille, for example, and on the tailgate there’s, an rst badge back there.
This is a larger one move into the interior, and you can see that St badge at the bottom of the steering wheel, like I mentioned, and the seats say St on them as well. You also have this ST graphic that plays when you turn off the Explorer.
You can see it playing and reminding you that you don’t just have a regular Explorer and it’s the same deal when you open up the doors instead of saying just Ford or Explorer. It says Ford Performance, reminding you that this is the performance Explorer and finally, some slightly more substantial changes to the Explorer ST beyond badging and painting stuff black.
You have red brake callipers, both front and rear, which gives us a sporty ER look for sure, and also in back. You have quad exhaust, not a single exhaust, not even a dual exhaust, but four pipes back there to really show passers-by that this is no ordinary Explorer, and so those are the quirks and features of the new 2020 Ford Explorer.
Now it’s time to get it out on the road and see how it drives alright drive in the Explorer ST now a couple things to note before I get start with the drive, I’ve, recently reviewed the new Lincoln aviator, Which is like the luxury verse of this, although it’s very distinct, but I drove the aviator with this same engine.
So I’ve, already kind of got a pretty good idea of how this is going to drive, which is pretty well. I’m curious to see if the Ford is tuned a little bit differently. One other thing worth noting earlier.
I mentioned that this was the king of the hill and the Ford Explorer lineup, but actually there’s. Gon na be a plug-in hybrid version coming with even more power and torque. It’s, not here yet, but it will be soon.
First impression of the Explorer ST: I am driving it in sport mode and it is relatively sporty there’s, no question. You can hear more engine than the aviator. Even when I have the aviator in sport mode.
You can definitely hear more here and it feels it sounds good listener that sounds pretty good for a midsize family SUV, a little bit more wind noise than I was expecting a little bit more wind nice coming in through the windows fact.
I just checked to make sure they were rolled up all the way and in fact they are. The aviator was certainly quieter on the inside than this car. This is highway speed, so you’re, expecting someone noise, but it’s.
Getting a little bit more than I was, I would think. The ride quality, though, is excellent, feels surprisingly comfortable, even in the SP version, which presumably has some sort of suspension tuning and obviously large wheels to make it pretty sporty throttle response is just fantastic.
I mean hard to even overstate how good it is. I haven’t, been in a midsize SUV ever that had this responsive of powertrain it’s crazy. I mean it’s. It’s, a total step. Above Highlander and pilot, this is kind of getting into the territory of like Dodge Durango SRT it’s, not a v8 doesn’t have that much power, but it’s, also cheaper um, but it’s.
In that kind of family, of like midsize SUVs that are actually fun and enjoyable to drive, and I’m all into those cars, I think it’s, a cool idea as people transition away from cars and war into suvs.
It makes sense to make more sporty SUVs. One thing that I find to be interesting with the Explorer in the last two versions: explore this one and the old one they just don’t feel that high up, if you’re buying an SUV, because you want to sit above Everything – certainly this is above sedans and all that, but it doesn’t.
Have the high driving feel that the old explorers did back in the 90s in the early to mid 2000s that were like truck based? They’ll, really felt more kind of commanding I’m. A benefit of that is it feels more car like when you’re driving it the steering the the sort of around town maneuverability it’s.
All a little bit more car like because everything’s, kind of smushed down as opposed to you know you sit higher and it feels a little bit more lumbering. Visibility is excellent cars. Large windows. You can really see in all areas in all directions.
You also have a big mirrors on both sides and obviously have a ton of safety equipment and features that make it make sure you’re, not gonna bump into anything. Generally speaking, I find that this is a.
This is a great midsize SUV. I love how it looks by the way as well. I think the Aviator looks nicer, but you’d, expect that in the more expensive you know luxury version, but I think, generally speaking, this is a great car with a great interior.
It’s got some really impressive features that I wasn’t expecting. Anin has adaptive cruise control with lane Center. I’ll. Take you all the way to zero again in traffic and start back up again, you’ll steer a little it’s, an impressive vehicle, just absolutely no denying that, and I think that this is sort of the new frontier in the Midsize SUV segment this and the hyundai palisade I recently reviewed these – are now the the darlings of this of this midsize SUV world, and so that’s.
The new 2020 Ford Explorer you know. For years, the honda pilot and the toyota highlander have owned. The mid-sized SUV world here in north america, but now with the arrival of the new Explorer and other new SUVs like the kia telluride and the hyundai palisade, the mid-sized SUV game has changed a lot and now it’s.
The highlander and the pilot that need to catch up the new Explorer is great, and now it’s time to give it a Doug score, starting with the weekend categories and styling. The Explorer looks nice, though similarly nice to other midsize crossovers, and it gets a 5 out of 10.
Acceleration does 0 to 60 and 5.2 seconds and it gets a 5 out of 10 handling is a bit above average for the class and it gets a 4 out of 10. Fun factor is OK, it’s fast, which is nice, and it sounds good, but otherwise it’s a fairly traditional midsize crossover and it gets a 3 out of 10.
Cool factor is decent, especially right now as the Explorer st is a hot new thing, and it gets a 3 out of 10 for a total weekend score of 20 out of 50 next up are the daily categories and features the ST has a lot of the Latest modern tech – and it gets a 7 out of 10 comfort – is good about normal for the class and it gets a 7 out of 10.
Quality is good, also normal for the class, and it gets a 7 out of 10 practicality is high, given the Explorer has a huge, useful interior without suffering from an excessively huge, exterior or poor fuel economy, and it gets a 10 out of 10 finally value and The ste isn’t as good as other Explorer models might be just because it’s.
Pricey. This one was around 60 grand which is okay, but a more reasonably option. Xlt or limited may score higher. Here. The ST gets a 6 out of 10 for a total daily score of 37 out of 50 added up in the dug score is 57 out of 100, which places it here among other mid-sized family SUVs, plus the Explorers Lincoln aviator sibling at the top of this List is the Jeep track Hawk, which is one of the most thrilling SUVs on the market.
The Explorer doesn’t get hi, but it does beat out the Hyundai, palisade and Kia Telluride, mostly because the Ford is more fun. Daily categories are crucial here, though, since these SUVs will mostly be used for family duty, and the Explorer is a close competitor with the best new models.