Ford’s crystal ball was in full force Wednesday.
Ford Field served as the backdrop to the launch of the 2020 Explorer. Shrouded in mystery and ambient lighting, the much-anticipated flagship of Ford’s shift to an SUV laden lineup, Explorers entered the stage bringing years of research, design and hope to life.
Word artist Prince EA inspired and set the stage for the gathering of over 5,000 employees, dealers, suppliers and media with carefully chosen phrases designed to inspire us to “explore” our America outside the electronic one. Focused on adventure, the display that included life-like projections of the Rocky Mountains, Pismo Beach, etc. and a driving pad complete with skiers virtually jumping over the 2020 Explorer in their path, stirred memories for all of us about road trips we’ve taken over the years. (A link to the full launch event can be found at the end of this post.)
Ford feels strongly about the 2020 Explorer being the medium for making adventure memories. Post on your social media accounts using #ExploreOurAmerica and #RoadTripReward and attach a photo of YOUR road trip, tell your story, and you’ll be eligible for your very own road trip in a 2020 Explorer this summer highlighting its release to dealerships.
“We obsessed about what Explorer customers need and want,” said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer. “We met with customer groups, poured through internet forums, and dissected social media posts to determine what they love about today’s Explorer and understand their pain points. Then we found ways to improve it across the board. Every enhancement on this all-new Explorer was inspired by our customers.”
Ford touts its re-designed Explorer as the most competitive and useful vehicle in the crowded SUV world. Using a 2.3-liter I-4 turbocharged Ecoboost® engine, also found in the Ford Mustang, it commands this Explorer to 300 hp in the base, XLT and Limited lines. Adding the 3.0-liter turbocharged Ecoboost® V6 will churn out 365 hp via the Platinum trim package. Explorer Hybrid and Explorer ST models will be highlighted next week at the NAIAS in Detroit during Ford’s news conference, stay tuned.
Adventures require stuff as we all know. Boats, trailers, and all things towable are accounted for with Ford’s available intelligent four-wheel drive with front axle disconnect. Seven drive modes in the form of the available Terrain Management System™ bring normal, sport, trail, slippery, tow/haul, eco, deep snow and sand. In RWD only models, nix the deep snow and sand mode.
The 2.3 liter can tow up to 5,300 pounds with the Class III Trailer Tow Package enabled and raise that number to 5,600 pounds in the 3.0 liter Platinum.
“Explorer drivers told us what they want – more capability, more power, more space,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s head of product development and purchasing. “They want more technology, not just for the driver, but for the whole family. And they want all of it with a beautifully sporty exterior. This new Explorer gives them all of that, and more, helping make every journey more enjoyable.”
A $400 price tag gets you more than a dozen new standard items in comparison to former Explorer models. 4G LTE Wi-Fi for 10 devices (with compatible wireless subscription service), 8 inch touchscreen with SYNC® 3, FordPass Connect™, power liftgate and that 2.3 liter turbocharged Ecoboost® engine sporting an all-new 10-speed transmission.
I’m looking forward to giving you my driving impressions as soon as I’m able to drive the 2020 Explorer, courtesy of Ford.
Last but not least, Ford has furnished this 2020 version of its all-time best-selling SUV with Ford Co-Pilot360™. Leaping into the driver-assist realm, standard Co-Pilot360™ pairs Pre-Collission Assist with Automatic Emergency braking and Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Detection, and Dynamic Brake Support. Keeping up with other brands like Subaru, Blind Spot, Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane-Keep assist round out the suite utilizing a rear-view camera complete with built-in lens cleaner. Auto high beam headlights keep those ever-present deer OUT of the headlights while taking that ever needed family adventure.
Don’t worry about parking, Active Park Assist 2.0 has it covered controlling all things parallel with just a touch.
Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Jim Hackett, President and CEO, and Jim Farley, Executive Vice President, and Hau Thai-Tang, Head of Product Development and Purchasing, brought the Ford concept to life for us and the Ford Team brought the 2020 Explorer to fruition. All parties involved used their crystal ball to see into the future and the future became reality on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.
Energize your wanderlust, remember, all who wander are not lost…
*To watch the full launch event click here. Be patient, the clip begins at 04:33.
**Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company
***The 2020 Explorer will be made in Chicago, IL.
***Watch for a future post concerning the 2020 Ford Explorer where I’ll give my detailed driving impressions.