The 2020 Ford Explorer hybrid finally has fuel economy numbers, and they represent a big improvement over the base model. The most efficient version is the rear-drive hybrid with its electrified 3.3-liter V6 delivering 27 mpg in the city, 29 on the highway and 28 in combined driving. That's an improvement of 6 mpg in town and 4 in combined driving over the turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder Explorer. Though highway economy only improves by 1 mpg.
The all-wheel-drive version of the Explorer hybrid is less impressive, returning 23 mpg in the city, 26 on the highway and 25 in combined driving. Compared with the all-wheel-drive four-cylinder model, the hybrid is better in town by 3 mpg and in combined driving by 2 mpg, but down by 1 mpg on the highway. With 318 horsepower and 322 pound-feet of torque, the Explorer hybrid in rear-drive and all-wheel-drive forms also boasts more power and torque than the four-cylinder model, and more than its only competitor, the Toyota Highlander hybrid. The Explorer hybrid's 5,000-pound tow rating also exceeds the Highlander hybrid's 3,500-pound rating.
The Explorer hybrid doesn't render the Highlander hybrid obsolete, though. The Toyota in LE Plus trim has fuel economy numbers of 30 mpg in the city, 28 on the highway and 29 combined, and all other trims get 29 mpg in the city, 27 on the highway and 28 combined. That means the Highlander has an edge in town over the Explorer's two-wheel-drive version, and a major improvement over the all-wheel-drive one. The Highlander hybrid also comes standard with all-wheel drive. Also, it's important to note that those are the numbers for the outgoing Highlander model. The next-generation Highlander hybrid will reportedly achieve 34 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 33 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.