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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A red 2020 Ford Explorer next to a river with 2 people carrying a kayak

An Adventure Enabler: The Completely Redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer

If you’re hoping to find the new 2020 Ford Explorer at a Ford dealership near you, your wishes will soon be granted! There are still a couple of months left to wait, but you can expect the 2020 Ford Explorer to find a home in showrooms as early as this summer.

As America’s number one best-selling SUV of all time, the debut of the completely redesigned Explorer has made quite a splash in the news. It was officially announced to the public on January 9 of this year at a large company celebration in Detroit. This is the first time the Explorer has undergone a complete redesign since the 2011 model, and both auto-critics and die-hard Ford fans are eagerly anticipating being able to test drive one of these SUVs.

The Redesign

Some describe the popular F-150 series as Ford’s bread and the Explorer as Ford’s butter. Together, these two vehicles make up Ford’s bread and butter and are one of the reasons Ford’s popularity has stayed so high for so long amongst consumers. More than 7.8 million Explorers have been sold worldwide since the original Explorer model debuted in 1991. It’s not surprising, therefore, that Ford took strenuous care with its redesign efforts for the 2020 model.

“We reinvented the Explorer from the ground up,” said Bill Gubing, Ford’s global chief engineer on the Ford Explorer program. “Over the last eight years, our team has been together, living this customer, breathing this customer — studying, learning, understanding this customer.” The redesign team put a heavy emphasis on understanding the future buyer and their day-to-day needs. In fact, “We went to observe them in the wild,” Gubing added about their research process, meaning that they went into real households to analyze and observe families in candid, unscripted environments. Families were offered $250 for their time and use of the new Explorer.

Kids and Cargo

What the redesign team found were some “pain points” which don’t come up with less “organic” testing. They found that kids tend to climb over the center console, muddy sports equipment wreaks havoc on clean floors, and that many families who don’t currently go “adventuring” want to have the ability to do so someday.

These findings and many others led Ford’s designers and engineer to make small tweaks to the Explorer which add to the overall value and convenience of the SUV for families. They added an easily cleaned, reversible cargo floor covering to help parents clean up after a muddy soccer practice. They added square cup holders for juice boxes and reinforced the center console so that it wouldn’t crack when kids climbed over it. They also added a landing pad inside the rear doors so that the roof can be reached for easy loading and unloading.

In the redesign, Ford expanded the interior cargo cubic feet. The third row of seats folds down and the second row is easily adjustable and kid-friendly. This helps owners configure their Explorers to create a flat-floor cargo area that’s wide enough to fit anything from a large flat-screen TV to standard 4×4 building materials. These tweaks, big and small, will go a long way to making family life easier for future buyers.

The seats of the 2020 Ford Explorer are folded down to show available cargo room with space for canoe paddles.


Besides identifying the importance of making the 2020 Ford Explorer a superior family vehicle, the redesign team also discovered that many families want a vehicle that would enable them to go adventuring. They want to be able to someday buy a jet ski, or a boat, or hook up a trailer to go camping. Just because many answer “no” to the question of whether they haul anything right now, doesn’t mean that they don’t want to. Having the option to bring the whole family on an adventure is one of the main benefits of buying a new Explorer, they found.

The new Explorer will be able to tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped with Ford’s Class III Trailer Tow Package, a really excellent amount for a family SUV. The RWD drivetrain (AWD available) enables a sporty design, improved off-road capabilities, and brings with it 600 more pounds more towing capacity.  The Explorer will also be able to go for up to 500 miles between fill-ups if RWD is equipped, making it a highly road-trip friendly vehicle as well.

This new Explorer is expected to share many of the same mechanical systems as the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator, a luxury SUV that’s also set to appear in showrooms over the summer. All of these things together will likely make the Explorer a fuel-efficient, powerful, and very capable SUV.

Design and Features

With such a competitive SUV market, Ford hasn’t pulled any punches in terms of extra features to add value and convenience to the 2020 Explorer. Chris Billman, Ford’s global driver assist technology manager says, “You can parallel park and perpendicular park with one finger now,” adding, “If you need help getting out (of a tight parking space), it can help with that, too.” Driver assist features are becoming more and more popular as these technologies help drivers avoid accidents and make driving easier and less stressful.

The SUV comes with a 10.1-inch touch screen and driver assist technology that includes reverse brake assist and active park assist. Active park assist handles all steering, shifting, brake and accelerator controls with just a single touch of a button. The instrument panel is customizable while being driven so passengers can see report-outs on drive stats. With the 12.3-inch upgraded cluster which is available on the Platinum and ST trims of the Explorer, drivers can configure the look and function of their driving information.

Not only is the 2020 Ford Explorer full to bursting with these and many other technological features, but it’s also still a remarkably handsome vehicle with an athletic stance and sculpted, angular lines on the outside. It also features a revamped grille and doors open to reveal an extra-comfortable cabin. Everything about the Explorer is designed to make it fun and convenient to drive no matter whether you’re carting kids back and forth from school or off on a great American road trip.

Safety Features

One of the reasons the Ford Explorer became so popular in the first place was because of its hyper-attention to safety. This SUV was one of the first to include safety features like center-mounted brake lights, standard anti-lock brakes, and energy absorbing column and steering wheels. The 2020 model of the Ford Explorer is no different. As a family vehicle, it makes sense that safety is a top concern for buyers.

Besides some cool driver assist technologies that are more standard on the market, the 2020 Ford Explorer is once again pushing the boundaries and adding technology that is usually reserved for more expensive or commercial vehicles. This year, it’s the inclusion of something called Side Wind Stabilization. This new tech activates when the Explorer is traveling at speeds over 50 MPH. It monitors the stability of the vehicle, sensing 100 times per second to see if a wind gust has occurred. If a gust of wind is detected, it automatically and carefully applies the brakes on one side in order to help the driver stay in their lane.

The advanced Side Wind Stabilization technology can become active within just 200 milliseconds! That means drivers no longer need to worry about gusts knocking them off course and can get back to concentrating on the road.

This revamp of the Ford Explorer promises to bring improved functionality and convenience for families with children as well as enable them to go adventuring! There is more cargo room, some really cool design and technology features, and new safety features that make the Explorer one of the most attractive new SUVs to hit the market this year.

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