The all-new 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid offers excellent rear-wheel drive performance with good fuel economy, along with flexible and easy-to-use tech.

The Ford Explorer, introduced in 1991, is one of the oldest and most recognized SUVs on the road. It helped take the segment mainstream, and, while automative tech, and style, has evolved over three decades, the all-new 2020 Explorer doesn’t radically deviate from those that have come before. The sixth-generation vehicle is a return to the SUV’s rear-wheel drive roots—and it now has a third row of seats. The 2020 Ford Explorer is also updated with innovative in-cabin connectivity and cutting-edge driver-assist safety features, while the Limited Hybrid we tested gets excellent fuel economy without sacrificing performance.

The 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid comes in one trim level with RWD standard or 4WD as an option. It’s powered by a 318-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 engine, and like all 2020 Explorers, has a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Standard exterior features include 20-inch wheels with 255/55 R20 tires, power-folding and heated side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, rain-sensing wipers, roof rack side rails, a body color spoiler, dual chrome exhaust tips, a capless fuel filler, automatic LED headlamps, and LED fog lamps, daytime running lights, and taillamps.

The 2020 Explorer Limited Hybrid comes with standard generous interior and convenience features, including leather seats with micro-perforation and accent stitching, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, a power tilt/telescoping steering column, three-zone climate control with separate second-row controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a hands-free liftgate, ambient lighting, keyless entry and ignition, remote start, power-folding second-row captain chairs, two second-row USB charging ports, and active noise cancellation.

Standard tech amenities include the Ford Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch LCD capacitive touch screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Ford AppLink, in-cabin Wi-Fi, voice-activated navigation, wireless smartphone charging, and a Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker sound system with AM/FM HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio with two USB ports.

The 2020 Explorer Platinum Hybrid comes standard with the comprehensive Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ suite of driver assists. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping alert and assist, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert, road sign recognition, auto high beams, front and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view camera. A new feature called Evasive Steering Assist applies steering assistance to maneuver around a vehicle ahead to help avoid a collision.

The base price for our test vehicle was $52,530, not including a $1,695 panoramic moonroof. With a destination and delivery charge of $1,245, the final sticker came to $55,470.

A larger grille, longer headlamps, beefed-up wheel arches, and a more sloping roofline give the 2020 Ford Explorer a sportier exterior than its predecessor. The spacious cabin and panoramic sunroof make it feels even more airy and let in lots of natural light. Legroom and headroom for front and second row passengers is substantial, and cargo space is ample even with the third row seating in place.

The 8-inch touch screen is standard on the Limited trim; a 10.1-inch portrait-oriented screen is optional. It’s powered by an upgraded version of Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, one that makes accessing everything from apps to climate controls easy and intuitive. Our only complaint is that the on-screen icons can’t be customized.

In addition to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Sync 3 is one of only a few systems that still provides separate apps. While some Sync 3 apps such as Pandora and iHeartRadio are redundant with CarPlay and Android Auto, others aren’t, including the streaming service Tidal, the novel What3Word navigation app, and even Cisco Webex Meetings for in-car conference calls.

The 2020 Ford Explorer has onboard Wi-Fi that requires a subscription, but Sync 3 can also get over-the-air software updates when connected to a remote Wi-Fi hotspot. We really like the clever and convenient location of the wireless charger just below the center console that safely stows a device and sends a helpful visual alert to the dashboard display while charging.

Another neat feature is the Explorer’s new Speed Sign Recognition that adjusts the adaptive cruise control speed according to the posted limit. It can also be overridden, and lets you set a tolerance of plus or minus 9mph.

Rear-wheel drive is what sets the 2020 Ford Explorer apart from competitors. Even though the Platinum Hybrid has almost 50 horsepower less than the 3.6-liter 380-hp twin-turbo V6 standard in the non-hybrid Platinum trim, it still has plenty of oomph.

In heavy traffic on a two-lane highway interspersed with passing lanes, the hybrid’s V6 engine robustly propelled us ahead of some slowpokes before we ran out of room. It’s also a calm highway cruiser that handles curves well for a 4,000-pound-plus vehicle. The 10-speed transmission shifted smoothly on the highway, but at lower speeds it hesitated to find the right gear and made discernible and disconcertingly harsh noises on several occasions.

The Explorer Hybrid gets good fuel economy along with its confident performance. It’s rated at 27mpg city, 29mpg highway, and 28mpg combined, compared with the nob-hybrid’s 18mpg city, 24mpg highway, and 20mpg combined. We achieved a combined fuel economy of around 23mpg while driving 300-plus mostly highway but hilly miles, without worrying about accelerator pressure.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid we recently tested is the Ford Explorer Hybrid’s only real competitor in the three-row, full-size SUV segment—and it was also just redesigned. We prefer the new Explorer Hybrid’s RWD performance to the Highlander Hybrid’s more tepid 186-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine. But the Highlander comes in several trim levels and starts at about $38,000, giving you more choices. And while we prefer the sporty looks of the 2020 Explorer, the 2020 Highlander’s boxy exterior belies an impressive interior and lots of excellent tech features, making it our pick among the two. is a leading authority on technology, delivering Labs-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology.

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Ford Explorer, Hybrid vehicle, Ford Motor Company

World news – GB – 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid Review

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