2020 Ford Explorer 2.3L Review | Base Engine Perfection



Ford’s base engine in the 2020 Explorer is something of a surprise. With 300 horsepower and the only 10-speed automatic in the segment, the 2.3L Ecoboost Explorer is seriously quick. With solid 0-60 times, a new rear wheel drive chassis and some of the widest tires you’ll find on a modern crossover, this is the first time the Explorer can be described as a corner carver. But Ford didn’t stop there, there’s also a towing capable hybrid model, a fire-breathing ST model and in Europe a plug in hybrid as well. If you’ve ignored the Explorer in the past, it’s time to put it back on your shopping list.

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31 Replies to “2020 Ford Explorer 2.3L Review | Base Engine Perfection”

  1. Design is not to get "more power under the hood" with front wheel drive reason for RWD;as he states ……………. but put traction to rear wheels for those that don;t area's and people that don't need AWD for better towing and better drivability,handling, traction, etc; and to fit more powertrain options under the hood, and to fit the new HD 10 speed transmission ; and then extend WB for more rear seat legroom.

  2. Very nice video as always. Washington state is the place to be if you like rain — but not this day. So funny when someone tries to challenge AoA’s data — they always lose.

  3. Excellent review. Alex does a very informative job and understands the difference with rear wheel drive compared to all the other front drive clones. After reading all his reviews on the 2020 Explorer I actually bought the ST model. Kills all the competition except the BMW X7 which is 30k more. The only thing hes wrong about his information is the cargo space with the 3rd row and 2nd row folded. It is a lot larger and wider.

  4. Beautiful vehicle. Ford beat ALL the competition in this segment. Going back to rear-wheel drive was a good move — better driving dynamics, and far greater durability.

  5. Alex really like your channels. The additional six inches is huge man and you placed it off ?
    Also dude stop having such. a dated look! Your wearing a shirt inside your jeans ? Buy short cut mine tuck shirts. Also buy slim jeans they’ll skim down and taper at the ankles leaving room at your thighs.

  6. Alex another great video! I have to decide in the next couple days between the 2020 Ford Explorer 2.3L or the 2020 Chevy Traverse LS. It is for a fleet vehicle so I have no other options. Drove them both and the Explorer felt more familiar but sounds like a 4 cylinder at times. No issues with power at all on the Ford however. The Chevy driving position is a bit off to me. Left foot end up in a different place due to the wheel well and the vehicle is powerful but feels heavy. If you had a choice which would you chose and why?

  7. Just brought home the new 2020 Explorer. Thank you Alex, this video made the decision a lot easier. You are spot on. I love my Explorer.

  8. this is a nice vehicle, i like it…but its not an suv its a tall car with AWD really. the only real suvs left are the big ones like tahoe and expedition…there arent any real suvs left that are midsize or small

  9. Ford if you are watching this, put the 3.3 non Hybrid V6 in the civilian Explorer for customers that doesn't work neither turbo nor Hybrid.

  10. Been monitoring a number of reviews of the Explorer since Alex' initial review in June. I was originally inclined to be impressed by Ford's effort but some of the issues I noted at the time continue to concern me. Specifically, the four cylinder Ecoboost engine and transmission lifted from the base Mustang, the limited towing capacity of the Explorer, and the price of the vehicle.

    First, the price. Ford can be assured of continuing to hold first place among midsize three row SUV's in 2020 based in large part on their massive fleet sales often to public agencies. But there is no escaping the fact that the Explorer pushes the MSRP of even the lower trim Explorers to heights above the top trims of the competition. Even the lowest trim XLT (AWD) has an MSRP close to $50,000 and the somewhat better equipped Limited trim (AWD) is over $54,000 with a middling set of options. Considering that rivals typically top out several thousand dollars less for their highest trim, loaded models, Ford is asking a lot for the Explorer with an engine/drive train lifted from a base Mustang. And to come close to matching the features of rivals like the Telluride the MSRP approaches or tops $60,000. Of course, Ford and their dealers may well offer significant discounts but comparing an ST or Platinum Explorer to a top trim Telluride those discounts will have to be huge unless a buyer values an RWD-biased architecture to be very, very valuable.

    Second, the engine choices. The vast majority of Explorers will be sold with the Mustang's 2.3L Ecoboost engine. It's a fine engine in a 2+2 Mustang weighing 3500 lbs. And as Alex notes, its performance in the Explorer that can weigh 5000 lbs is relatively impressive. But performance of a new vehicle is one thing; long term durability of a highly stressed small displacement turbocharged engine is another. With a 3 year bumper-to-bumper and five year power train (non-transferable) warranty Ford probably doesn't have to worry. Owners who keep their vehicles for more than five years and those who buy a used Explorer may well have a different experience. One can, of course, opt for the ST's and the Platinum's trim with a twin scroll turbo V6. But that raises the $60K MSRP issue.

    Finally, there's the issue of towing capacity. With ratings of 5300-5600 lbs (5000 lbs in the hybrid), the RWD architecture of the Explorer delivers a measly improvement over the 5000 lb ratings of several FWD architecture competitors. Interestingly, the Lincoln Aviator with the same twin scroll V6 and transmission of Explorer ST/Platinum has a tow rating of 6700 lbs! The only differences? The Aviator's trailer option is $500 versus the Explorer's $715. The Aviator has a Class IV hitch vs the Explorer's Class III and the Aviator has several other options not included in the Explorer's trailering package.

    In short, Ford has seriously shortchanged the Explorer in order to encourage those interested in serious towing to move up to the Explorer. Lincoln deserves kudos for not playing such games. And considering that the mid-level Reserve trim of the Lincoln is about $5000-$8000 more than the top trims of the Explorer it's a real question why if one is going to spend more than $60K on a crossover why not consider the Aviator with a wealth of better features.

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