Ford last redesigned the Explorer for the 2011 model year, and despite being nearly eight years old at this point, the three-row crossover is still one of the best-selling vehicles in the midsize segment. The Explorer manages to overcome questionable material quality and poor ergonomics with a stylish design, an excellent infotainment system, powerful engine options, and several near-luxury trims.
Based on what we’ve heard, though, it sounds like Ford’s ready to redesign the Explorer again, most likely for 2020. Official information is still limited, but here’s what we expect from the next-gen Ford Explorer.
The 2020 Explorer is expected to share a platform with the new Lincoln Aviator. That means it will most likely be rear-wheel-drive-based, with all-wheel drive available as an option. The CD6 platform was also designed to accommodate front-wheel-drive layouts, but we don’t see Ford going that route with the new Explorer. That’s because a teaser image Ford released shows an SUV with a longer dash-to-axle ratio, suggesting the engine will be mounted longitudinally. Proportions also appear to be similar to the rear-drive Aviator concept (pictured above), with a sloping roof and a pronounced beltline.
Plenty of Room
The Explorer may be changing platforms, but it should still offer plenty of room for the whole family. Expect the new version to continue offering seating for seven (or possibly eight) passengers, as the Aviator concept showed it has plenty of room for a third row. Look for a more spacious cabin, as well as a layout that uses space more efficiently than the current Explorer. The Expedition will still be significantly larger, but when the redesigned Explorer arrives, families who were considering upgrading to the highly rated full-sizer may find they don’t need to do so.
When Ford last redesigned the Explorer, adaptive cruise control was generally a feature reserved for luxury vehicles, and backup cameras were a common option. These days, adaptive cruise control is standard on the Toyota Corolla, and every new car is sold with a backup camera. In order for Ford to stay competitive, expect the Explorer to come packed with technology. Co-Pilot360, Ford’s suite of active safety features, should be offered, but it probably won’t come standard. Look for the latest version of Sync to offer an impressive amount of connectivity, as well.