Last redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Ford Explorer returns for 2020, ready to be rediscovered by lovers of the beloved SUV. The 2020 Explorer rides on an all-new rear-wheel-drive platform shared by the Ford Police Interceptor Utility and the all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator from the Blue Oval’s luxury brand, and it comes in regular, efficiency-minded Hybrid and performance-focused ST flavors. Cars.com reviewer Brian Wong got to explore the new Explorer in all of its incarnations, and his resulting First Drive reviews dominate this week’s roster of our most popular articles.
Landing at No. 1 this week was Wong’s First Drive of both the Explorer’s regular version in its new Platinum trim, as well as the SUV’s hybrid variant, the latter of which he got intimately acquainted with on a trek from Portland, Ore., to Los Angeles. He lauded the all-new Explorer’s looks, powertrain offerings and safety tech, but also wondered if it would enough to stave off stiff competition from the likes of the buzzy 2020 Kia Telluride, the Toyota Highlander and the Volkswagen Atlas — particularly for the price.
“The Hybrid Limited model I tested was $57,265 (including destination charges), and it doesn’t even come with the larger multimedia screen or the attractive 12.3-inch digital instrument panel. The Explorer Platinum was even more expensive: $61,330 after adding the Premium Technology Package with the 10.1-inch screen.
“For perspective, the practically loaded Telluride I tested was $46,860 — about $10,000 less than the Hybrid, and the Telluride has better materials and a larger cargo area. The Atlas tops out around $51,080. That’s a gigantic price gap, and the Explorer would need to be exceptional to make up for it. The problem is, it just isn’t.”
Bummer. But don’t fret, Explorer acolytes and apologists: Wong was much sweeter on the Explorer ST, which finds its way to No. 4 this week. That’s in addition to the video version of Wong’s First Drive, which parks itself at No. 9.
Rounding out the top five are a recall alert, warning owners of about 250 model-year 2019 Subaru Crosstreks of the threat of shatter-prone windows; a rundown of J.D. Power’s latest Initial Quality Survey revealing which 2019 vehicles have the fewest problems in the first three months; and our preview of the all-new-for-2020 Kia Seltos, a global SUV not yet announced for U.S. sales — yet having seemingly American aspirations.
And there’s plenty more car news to catch up on. Here are the top 10 news stories Cars.com readers just couldn’t get enough of over the past week:
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