2020 Ford Explorer Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos
The 2020 Ford Explorer lineup consists of base (Explorer), XLT, Limited, Limited Hybrid, Platinum, and ST models, with four-wheel drive optional for most of the lineup. We give it a score of 7 out of 10 in this category, based on the Explorer’s strong value and feature set at the affordable end of the lineup—especially the likely-popular XLT model—and its good level of base tech content, but we withhold a point due to its somewhat sluggish and unintuitive infotainment systems. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The base Explorer starts at $33,860 and includes a power liftgate, LED headlights, an 8.0-inch display, and a suite of active safety features we cover above. The Explorer XLT steps up to heated mirrors, power front seats, second-row captain’s chairs, keyless ignition, rear parking sensors, and a larger instrument cluster; all-wheel drive costs just $2,000 more, and it’s how we’d trim out our version.
Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment systems in the Explorer lineup are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Limited has strong tech content for less than $50,000. There’s some of what you’d find in luxury-brand models, including rain-sensing wipers, wireless smartphone charging, a surround-view front camera system, and upgraded materials and trims. The Limited Hybrid costs $4,150 more and includes active noise control.
Top-of-the-line Platinum models get the 365-hp, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 plus adaptive LED headlights and rear automatic emergency braking, while the sporty ST adds heated and cooled seats, a 110-volt AC outlet, adaptive cruise control, memory settings for the seat, mirrors, and pedals, and adaptive cruise control.
ST models also look quite different than others in the lineup with a blacked-out grille and trim, plus big 21-inch dark aluminum wheels. They also have other performance enhancements—larger vented brake rotors and a stiffer suspension—plus many more appearance changes and piped-in engine sound via the speakers.
Four-wheel drive is a $2,000 step up. The Hybrid is a $4,150 premium on the Limited.
The twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 engine is the exclusive domain of the Platinum and ST models, where it makes 365 or 400 hp, respectively.
Across the lineup, the Explorer has a reskinned iteration of Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, which includes a wi-fi hub good for up to 10 devices. An available 10-inch touchscreen is vertically oriented and has an odd way of designating its screen zones. You can’t make CarPlay full size, for instance, and things that look like they might be selectable or drag-and-drop elements aren’t.
While Ford includes enough hard buttons for audio and climate control below the screen, selections on the screen can be laggy at times—especially the navigation’s mapping features and pinch-to-zoom. Ford says that an update is on the way for the infotainment so we’ll update this at a later date.
Review continues below