Where’s the 3.0-liter EcoBoost from the Aviator?

Ford made somewhat of a surprise move at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show and introduced a couple more versions of the brand-new Explorer. Unveiled just last week, the Explorer came to Detroit in new ST and Hybrid trims. The latter features a rather weird drivetrain layout, especially given what FoMoCo offers in other hybrids.

The 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid Features a Weird Drivetrain Layout
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The Explorer is offered with either a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder or a new 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6 in the non-hybrid setup. The electrified version, on the other hand, pairs the electric motor to a naturally aspirated, 3.3-liter V-6.

This is an awkward choice because the same electric motor mates to the turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 in the Lincoln Aviator Hybrid.

The latter also shares the 10-speed automatic transmission, as well as the battery and its position under the right-side seats, so it makes me wonder why Ford didn’t opt for the same 3.0-liter V-6 gas engine.

Making things weirder is that the 3.3-liter V-6, available in the F-150 pickup truck since 2017, is less efficient than the EcoBoost V-6 units. Precise EPA ratings aren’t yet available beyond the estimated 500 miles combined, but it doesn’t make much sense to go with a less efficient engine when you have a solid turbo in a similar SUV.

The 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid Features a Weird Drivetrain Layout
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Although there are no mileage figures to compare, it doesn’t make sense from an output standpoint either.

While the Explorer Hybrid delivers 318 horsepower, only 18 more than the base model, the Aviator Hybrid generates a whopping 400 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque.

Seriously now, why would Ford go with a less efficient and less powerful drivetrain when it already has the good combo in the Lincoln Aviator, a rebadged Explorer? Was this choice made so that the Aviator benefits from a premium-like advantage in this department? If so, why didn’t Ford pair the electric motor to a smaller EcoBoost V-6, like the 2.7-liter, or even a four-cylinder mill?

Further reading

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid promises 500 miles range
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2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid promises 500 miles range

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.

2020 Lincoln Aviator
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Read our full review on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator Hybrid.

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

Six Generations of the Ford Explorer
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Six Generations of the Ford Explorer

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