All-new Ford Explorer is radically different to its predecessor, but also better according to this first impression video

The 2020 Ford Explorer ST is the fastest and most powerful ST-branded Ford ever... and it’s an SUV. But is it a better SUV than the one it replaced, especially now since it has been pushed upmarket along with its price point and it may face rivals that bear a premium badge? Well, this is the very first video out on the hottest version of the new Explorer ST (or any version of it for that matter) and it suggests the Explorer definitely has improved in virtually all areas.

Ford Explorer ST Video Review

One area where not only the reviewer from The Fast Lane Car but pretty much everybody else is on board that things aren’t perfect is design. Particularly, the front end design - the 2020 Explorer has a very strange face, whichever version you opt for, be it the base model, the ST tested in the video below or the top of the line Platinum model. It looks alright from some angles, but when viewed head on, there’s just something a bit iffy about the shape of the headlights in relation to the grille and the hood.

2020 Ford Explorer ST does well in first video review
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Driving dynamics and performance should be much better regardless of versions. Ford has shifted the new Explorer from a front-wheel drive-biased platform to a rear-wheel drive-biased platform. This should bring significant improvements to its on-road handling characteristics over the outgoing model and in conjunction with the more powerful engines on offer (as well as lower overall weight), it should result in a vehicle that is overall much more fun to drive.

2019 Ford Explorer 2020 Ford Explorer
Maximum Seating 7 7
Passenger Volume 151.5 cubic-feet 152.7 cubic-feet
Cargo Behind 3rd Row 21 cubic-feet 18.2 cubic-feet
Cargo Behind 2nd Row 43.9 cubic-feet 47.9 cubic-feet
Cargo Behind 3rd Row 81.7 cubic-feet 87.8 cubic-feet

Inside the car the reviewer points out that both design and quality feel have improved and even though it rides on a different platform where more of the wheelbase is taken up by the front part of the car (therefore pushing the greenhouse back and not allowing designers to increase its size), it doesn’t feel any more cramped inside than it did in the previous Explorer. The only part of the interior that the reviewer points out as not being that successful is the integration of the tall, portrait-style infotainment screen into the dash.

left right

The 10.1-inch screen juts up out of the center console and while this is good because the driver doesn’t have to look down for the screen, it really does look like somebody just stuck a random tablet on the dash and called it a day. It could have been so much more nicely integrated. One area where it’s not as good as the model it replaces is when it comes to cargo capacity behind the third row of seats - there isn’t a massive difference, but the old car was a bit better in this respect.

Overall, though, Ford’s intention to move the Explorer upmarket has resulted in a vehicle that is undeniably better than the one it replaces, even if not it every single area. It’s essentially an all-new vehicle with little to no relation to the old one, so the fact that it just misses being excellent in all areas is a byproduct of that - maybe with its midlife cycle refresh some three or four years from now, some of its niggles (like the weird face or the strange placement of the infotainment display) will be fixed.

Further Reading

2020 Ford Explorer ST has 400 HP, wants to be taken seriously as a performance SUV
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2020 Ford Explorer ST has 400 HP, wants to be taken seriously as a performance SUV

2020 Ford Explorer
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Read our full review on the 2020 Ford Explorer.

2016 Ford Explorer High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Ford Explorer.

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