Recently we got our hands on the all new 2020 Ford Explorer Platinum, loaded with almost every available option, V6 engine, heated and ventilated front seats, and power folding third row seats. There is no doubt that the changes Ford made to the Explorer are significant improvements from last generation, particularly for the interior. However, there are some features most consumers can live without, especially if they’re not willing to pay $60k+ on a new crossover. The 12.3 inch digital information display and upgraded 10 inch touchscreen are esthetically pleasing to look at, but practicality, versatility, and more importantly value for the price are usually factors that come into play when consumers go car shopping. With that being said, the Limited trim is the perfect balance between affordability and also offering a good amount of safety equipment and technology.
Since the Limited trim is only available with a four cylinder engine and a hybrid V6, performance is not likely a top priority for you as you’d most likely upgrade to the ST. Functionality and having a third row crossover that fits your lifestyle is probably what’s most important, and the Limited trim is going to fill that role in more ways than one.
Coming standard, the Limited trim is equipped with Ford’s CoPilot 360 assist which is going to provide a list of safety features such as: Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear View Camera, Lane-Keeping System, Automatic Emergency Braking, Auto High-Beam Headlamps, and a Voice Activated Navigation System. One of the highlighted features that won’t be available on the XLT trim which sits below the Limited is the 360 degree top view camera. If you’re familiar with or own the last generation Explorer, the sheer size of this mid-sized crossover could make parking a bit of a challenge. To put the Explorer’s size into perspective, it has the same width as the first generation Ford Expedition. With a 360 camera to go along with your front view and rear backup camera, getting out of parking spaces or navigating through tight streets will be much easier. A vehicle this size deserves to have this camera technology, and thankfully Ford decided to offer this on the 2020 model year.
Normally I get caught up in the exterior of every vehicle I review, but it’s the interior where owners are going to benefit the most with the new RWD based platform Ford is using on the Explorer. Inside you’ll immediately notice a difference in arm room once you get behind the wheel, despite there being no difference in terms of width from the 2019 model. However it’s the replacement of the gear shift lever with the rotary dial that will make the interior seem more spacious. The center console will be less cluttered and you’re going to feel much more at home with the new cabin.
The Limited trim receives the upgraded speakers from Bang and Olufsen, along with heated and ventilated leather seats to add comfort for the driver and front passenger. For an additional $1700 you’ll get a twin panel moonroof that will bring in natural light and make the interior look bigger. A power lift gate comes standard across the Explorer product line, and for cargo room the 2020 model will get 18.2 cubic ft of rear cargo space. With all these features included you’re looking at a price tag below $55k and close to $7k cheaper than the Platinum trim.
While $50k is no drop in the bucket, the additional safety technology alone is worth it. Leather seats and upscaled technology in the cabin isn’t always necessary and you can certainly live without them, but if the base model and XLT trim just doesn’t offer enough, going with the Limited would be the smart choice.
At the end of the day, the 2020 refresh for the Explorer will no doubt draw loyal Ford owners in. The company truly listened to the owners, and all the minor and even major changes were all made to improve upon a successful crossover that was still lacking that entry-level luxury feel. Heading into a new decade, Ford has positioned themselves to be at the top of the segment, and to fend off the Japanese rivals who’ve gained a strong foothold in the crossover market these past 10 years.