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

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A silver Ford Explorer is parked at a beach at sunset.

Two Big Reasons to be Excited about the Updated Ford Explorer

The 2020 Ford Explorer has a lot going for it with some new options that make this arguably the best time to check out an Explorer. While you might not get the kind of off-road potential that can be found if you compare something like the 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee, for most people, that’s not what you’re looking for anyway. What the Explorer has to offer is excellent performance, multiple engine options so you can get just what you need, and two new trims for the 2020 model.

Although there are a lot of things about the 2020 Ford Explorer that I dig, the two newest trims and the options they represent are what have me interested in this new model. The Explorer has always been a fantastic SUV, which is why it is one of the most popular models on the market. But with the new hybrid option and the performance-focused ST trim available, Ford has taken this beauty to the next level. These are the kinds of features that transform something you know, that’s familiar, into a fresh take on what you had expected.

So let’s have a look at what these new trims offer and see if you’re as excited about them as I am. And if not, well, you can’t have your five minutes back after.

The 2020 Ford Explorer – Basics

Let’s start by looking at some of the basic aspects of the 2020 Ford Explorer so that you get a sense of what it has to offer just starting. Standard Explorer features include electric power-assist steering, rear-wheel drive, and selectable drive modes. It has 18-inch wheels standard, with LED headlamps and taillamps, privacy glass on second and third row windows, and three rows of seating for up to seven people.

Standard safety features include a lane assist system and their AdvanceTrac system that helps to control the vehicle on snow, ice, rain-covered or regular dry pavement roads. For your convenience, the Explorer comes with remote start capabilities and a rear back-up camera. The Explorer also has a power liftgate, tri-zone electronic automatic temperature control, and even a FordPass Connect 4G LTE internet hotspot.

While this is the baseline for the Explorer, there are, of course, numerous trims that add to those features, along with available options and packages that you can choose from. The two all-new trims for the 2020 Ford Explorer, however, are what we’re going to take a look at today. While the other trims are great, these are the two that have really caught my eye.

A blue Explorer Limited Hybrid is parked in front of a lake and mountains.

The 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

First up, we have the Limited Hybrid – don’t let the word “Limited” in the trim name throw you off, it’s simply based on the standard 2020 Ford Explorer Limited trim level. Just like the standard Limited model, this Explorer features an upgraded appearance that includes chrome door handle inserts and exhaust tips, LED fog lamps, and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels. It also has 10-way power-adjustable, heated, and ventilated driver and front-passenger seats, with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient interior lighting, and a heated steering wheel.
Plus, you get a hands-free, foot-activated liftgate in the rear of either Explorer Limited model, along with an impressive B&O 12-speaker sound system. This model has a 6-inch digital driver display in the instrument cluster, along with a remote start and a wireless charging pad inside. These are all great options that you get on the standard Limited model too – but one thing really sets this one apart.

The engine. As you may have guessed from the name, the 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid features a 3.3L V6 hybrid engine that combines a powerful engine with a battery-powered electric motor for boosted fuel economy. With regenerative braking, the Explorer Limited Hybrid can utilize some of the energy created while braking to keep the battery charged longer, extending your drive-time even further. With a full tank, this engine can go for an estimated 500 miles, and yet it has a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs. so you don’t have to leave anything behind.

The 2020 Ford Explorer ST

A blue Explorer ST is racing on a desert highway after winning 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

While a hybrid engine is great, if you want something with a bit more, shall we say “oomph,” and performance that you won’t find on any other Explorer, then the new ST trim should catch your eye. This is one of the things I especially like about the 2020 Ford Explorer: not just this trim or the Limited Hybrid in particular, but that you have all of these options available to you. When manufacturers give us more choices and freedom to find exactly the perfect vehicle for what we need, then we all win.

So what is the Explorer ST, exactly? It builds on the features of the Limited, just like the Limited Hybrid, so you get a lot of the same great stuff. That means you get the improved power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats, superior sound system, and a lot of the other great features that you find in the Limited. The ST goes a step beyond that, however, with fantastic additional features and performance-based design.

The 2020 Ford Explorer ST has a 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine in it, just like the available Platinum trim, but the engine in the ST has been tuned for superior performance. While the Platinum engine can deliver up to 365hp and up to 380 lb-ft. of torque with its engine, the ST boasts up to 400hp and up to 415 lb-ft. of torque for superior power and performance. You also get a sport-tuned suspension, a larger fuel tank than in the Limited, and an intelligent 4WD standard that is designed to let you push your Explorer’s performance to the limit.

Not to mention that the ST also has a 12-inch digital instrument cluster for the driver, leather-trimmed seating, and a sport-style steering wheel with paddle shifters. Of course, you can take things even further with great available options that include a 10-inch Infotainment screen and a 14-speaker B&O sound system, 21-inch aluminum wheels, and a twin-panel moonroof that all make the ST an absolute dream to drive. Seeing Ford commit to this level of performance in the Explorer is something that really shows their desire to push their lineup further and offer new options even on familiar models.

What More Could You Want?

Other than, for example, it would be great to have an infinite slice of pizza that continually regenerates itself every time you take a bite (which is most definitely not a waste of a time-wish). Unlimited pizza notwithstanding, the 2020 Ford Explorer has everything you’re likely to want. It might not deliver the kind of off-road performance that something like the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee can offer, but even that is not exactly providing the level of off-road experience found in the Jeep Wrangler.

So really, what more could you want? The 2020 Ford Explorer has a hybrid engine as well as a performance-tuned option that delivers the most powerful Explorer ever. That should be good enough for just about anyone. And if it’s not, then show me what is.

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