Exploring The Other Use For A Hybrid: The 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid
The 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid.
I think most people, when they hear the word "hybrid", have expectations of improved fuel economy, and possibly sluggish performance.  But not all manufacturers take that tack.  Some calibrate that additional electric motor combined with the gasoline engine to boost performance rather than cut consumption.  And that's the story of the 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid.

Powerplant in 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

The 2020 Explorer Hybrid takes a 3.3-liter V6, adds a modular electric modal system and comes up with 318 horsepower and 322 pounds per foot of torque.

What's Ford's motive?  It's not to create a hot-rod Explorer.  It already has that in the 400-horsepower, twin-turbo 2020 Ford Explorer ST, which we told you about last summer.   No, this is about maintaining towing capacity expectations.   The other engine available in the Explorer line is the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder.  At 300 horsepower and 310 pounds per foot of torque, it'd be fine for towing---but a lot of  'Murrican SUV owners are still skeptical of a four---even a powerful one.

Thus, the 3.3-liter V6 hybrid.  Now, the EPA says to expect 27 mpg city/29 highway from the 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid, but...

Fuel economy readout in 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

We didn't see anything close to that.  Admittedly, we weren't able to put our usual couple hundred miles on the Explorer Hybrid, but 18 is a long way from 27 or 29...especially when more than half of the miles driven were in electric mode.

Rear 3/4 view of 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid Limited

Interior view of 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

Rear seat in 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

Front seats in 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

The only trim level the Hybrid comes in is Limited---second only to Platinum in terms of luxury.  $52,280 is the base price and this is what comes standard:

  • Dual exhaust chrome tips.
  • Easy Fuel capless filler.
  • Automatic LED headlamps.
  • LED signature lighting.
  • Hands-free liftgate.
  • Power heated, auto-folding exterior mirrors.
  • LED signature and approach lamps.
  • Privacy glass for rear doors.
  • Rear intermittent wiper, washer and defroster.
  • Satin roof rack side rails.
  • LED taillamps and fog lamps.
  • Trailer sway control.
  • Windshield wiper de-icer.
  • Rain-sensing wipers.
  • 110V/150W AC power outlet.
  • One touch up/down driver/passenger power windows. 
  • Second row heated seats.
  • Ambient lighting.
  • Illuminated entry.
  • Heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls.
  • Heated and ventilated front seats.
  • Leather-trimmed seats with ten-way driver/passenger memory.
  • Powerfold third-row seat.
  • Power tilt/telescoping steering column.
  • Rotary gear shift dial.
  • Smart charging USB port.
  • Tri-zone electronic temperature control.
  • 360-degree camera.
  • B&O sound system with 12 speakers.
  • Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist.
  • FordPass Connect 4G Wi-Fi hotspot telematics modem.
  • Intelligent access with pushbutton start.
  • Wireless phone charging pad.
  • Rearview camera.
  • Remote start system.
  • Reverse sensing system.
  • Securicode keyless keypad.
  • Side-wind stabilization.
  • SYNC3 eight-inch screen with AppLink.
  • Voice-activated navigation.
  • AdvanceTrac with RSC.
  • Individual tire pressure monitoring system.
  • Personal safety system.
  • SOS post-crash alert system.
Instrument panel in 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

Gauge cluster in 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

Infotainment screen in 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

Our tester also had one extra-cost option, a twin-panel moonroof for $1,795.

Front view of 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

Rear view of 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid

So, with $1,195 destination fee, the bottom line reads $55,270.   

That's a pause-worthy number, especially having recently experienced the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride, both competing SUVs that manage to keep their fully-loaded prices on the sane side of 50 large. 

The 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid is a very nice piece---but it's also in a segment where families have budgets.