Base 4dr 4x4
2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Explorer Photos
 Editors' Pick
Autoblog Rating
7.5

Ford made the 2020 Explorer better in every possible way. The diverse range of powertrains, impressive technology and superb design all combine to make an excellent SUV.

Industry
7.5
PORTLAND, Ore. — Is there really a market for a vehicle like the 2020 Ford Explorer ST? It's a three-row family crossover with 400 horsepower, high-performance brakes, a firm suspension and a "top speed target for track drivers of 143 mph." Well, Ford is certainly about to find out, because there's really nothing like it out there. Oh sure, the Dodge Durango SRT exists, but there's always been something tongue-in-cheek about that. Dodge pairing its family crossover with its 475-horsepower Hemi V8 was a matter of "sure, why not?" since the two could go together with relatively minimal effort. It's pretty much an exercise in glorious absurdity. The Explorer ST, by contrast, takes itself very seriously. Part of the reason is a curb weight that undercuts the Durango by more than 800 pounds. Think about that. You could burden the Explorer ST with four extra, average-sized people and still not surpass the Durango with a solo driver. The Ford is also considerably wider at 78.9 inches (versus 75.8) with a comparably wider track (66.9 versus 63.9), while its overall height is nearly 2 inches shorter. From a dimensional standpoint, it's pretty clear which of the two has the potential to be an athlete. Except, of course, we're still talking about a three-row family crossover here. Just because the Explorer ST is wider, shorter and lighter than el Durango gordo doesn't make it a Mustang. It's still 16.7 feet long and weighs 4,701 pounds, which is 400 pounds more than the four-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive Explorer XLT that feels notably lighter on its feet. Yes, the ST is much quicker and handles far better than the typical family crossover, but that's really the bar it has to clear. And on the winding roads overlooking the Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington, the Explorer ST did indeed demonstrate substantially better body control than the springy regular Explorers that bobbed about over road undulations and rolled through corners. If you're looking to hustle your three-row family crossover along, having the Explorer ST's firmer, specially tuned dampers and springs is certainly appreciated. At the same time, its ride quality is impressively compliant despite 21-inch wheels and a firmer suspension than a stock Explorer. You don't feel every pebble on the road's surface, and broken pavement doesn't send shock waves through your spine. This is particularly impressive since there are no fancy adaptive dampers. Consider the suspension a job well done, then. The specially tuned steering, on the other hand, isn't as responsive or relatively feelsome as we've come to expect from Ford. It feels disconnected, and it's not precise enough. Even worse, while Sport mode apparently tightens up the steering, we found it difficult to tell a difference. At least the ST's special steering wheel creates the illusion of sportiness with its small diameter and girthy grips at 3 and 9. It's a little over-the-top, but then so were BMW's M sport steering wheels from a few years back. There are some large, sporting vehicles that …
Full Review
PORTLAND, Ore. — Is there really a market for a vehicle like the 2020 Ford Explorer ST? It's a three-row family crossover with 400 horsepower, high-performance brakes, a firm suspension and a "top speed target for track drivers of 143 mph." Well, Ford is certainly about to find out, because there's really nothing like it out there. Oh sure, the Dodge Durango SRT exists, but there's always been something tongue-in-cheek about that. Dodge pairing its family crossover with its 475-horsepower Hemi V8 was a matter of "sure, why not?" since the two could go together with relatively minimal effort. It's pretty much an exercise in glorious absurdity. The Explorer ST, by contrast, takes itself very seriously. Part of the reason is a curb weight that undercuts the Durango by more than 800 pounds. Think about that. You could burden the Explorer ST with four extra, average-sized people and still not surpass the Durango with a solo driver. The Ford is also considerably wider at 78.9 inches (versus 75.8) with a comparably wider track (66.9 versus 63.9), while its overall height is nearly 2 inches shorter. From a dimensional standpoint, it's pretty clear which of the two has the potential to be an athlete. Except, of course, we're still talking about a three-row family crossover here. Just because the Explorer ST is wider, shorter and lighter than el Durango gordo doesn't make it a Mustang. It's still 16.7 feet long and weighs 4,701 pounds, which is 400 pounds more than the four-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive Explorer XLT that feels notably lighter on its feet. Yes, the ST is much quicker and handles far better than the typical family crossover, but that's really the bar it has to clear. And on the winding roads overlooking the Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington, the Explorer ST did indeed demonstrate substantially better body control than the springy regular Explorers that bobbed about over road undulations and rolled through corners. If you're looking to hustle your three-row family crossover along, having the Explorer ST's firmer, specially tuned dampers and springs is certainly appreciated. At the same time, its ride quality is impressively compliant despite 21-inch wheels and a firmer suspension than a stock Explorer. You don't feel every pebble on the road's surface, and broken pavement doesn't send shock waves through your spine. This is particularly impressive since there are no fancy adaptive dampers. Consider the suspension a job well done, then. The specially tuned steering, on the other hand, isn't as responsive or relatively feelsome as we've come to expect from Ford. It feels disconnected, and it's not precise enough. Even worse, while Sport mode apparently tightens up the steering, we found it difficult to tell a difference. At least the ST's special steering wheel creates the illusion of sportiness with its small diameter and girthy grips at 3 and 9. It's a little over-the-top, but then so were BMW's M sport steering wheels from a few years back. There are some large, sporting vehicles that …
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Retail Price

$34,765 MSRP / Window Sticker Price

Smart Buy Price

NA Nat'l avg. savings off MSRP
Engine 2.3LI-4
MPG 20 City / 27 Hwy
Seating 7 Passengers
Transmission 10-spd w/OD
Power 300 @ 5500 rpm
Drivetrain four-wheel
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