Every now and again, some good news crops up. Here is some very good news:
The next-generation Ford Explorer will be a real SUV again.
Not (yet another) crossover SUV.
The current Explorer is a FWD-based ride, kin to the Taurus – with a light-duty AWD system available optionally.
Rear-drive (and truck-type 4WD, with low-range gearing) are heavier-duty than FWD and AWD systems. Ford says the 2020 Explorer will be able to tow as much as 5,600 pounds – a 600 pound increase over the current model and much more than same-size (and car-based) FWD crossover SUVs.
It will also reportedly have best-in-class second and third row headroom and when the first and second rows are folded, the space will accommodate 4×8 sheets of plywood. All trims will come standard with a powered rear liftgate, an eight-inch LCD touchscreen, in-car WiFi and Ford’s CoPilot 360 suite of driver-assistance systems.
But this big ‘ute will come with a very small engine – Fords 2.3 liter turbo four, already in several other Ford vehicles, including the Mustang. It will deliver big engine torque and horsepower numbers, though: 310 ft.-lbs. and 300 hp.
The optional engine will be a turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 making 365 horsepower and 380 ft.-lbs. of torque.
Both engines will be paired with a ten-speed automatic, with RWD standard and “Intelligent” 4WD available optionally. There will also be an SVT high-performance version, which will debut either this fall or in the spring of 2020.
Ford says the new Explorer’s base price will be $33,860.
Given the dearth of real SUVs – as opposed to the superabundance of crossover SUVs, especially in the mid-sized segment – this is more than merely good news.
It is happy news!
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