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The 2020 Ford Explorer Is a Huge Improvement Over the Old One

The 2020 Ford Explorer Is a Huge Improvement Over the Old One

Largely thanks to its new platform, the new Explorer drives far better and has a more pleasant interior.

The automotive industry’s constant babbling about vehicle platforms and architectures can sometimes sound like a whole lot of hair splitting and baloney. The sixth-gen Ford Explorer arriving for 2020 is neither. It may look like a modest step forward from its predecessor, but there’s a lot going on underneath that makes this transformation more significant than it appears. Its new unibody platform with a longitudinally-mounted engine and standard rear-wheel drive mimics the layout found in many luxury SUVs, marking the third major change to the Explorer’s construction after it went from being a body-on-frame, truck-based SUV for its first four generations to being a transverse-engined crossover for its fifth.

It was about time. The previous-gen Explorer aged less than gracefully over a life span stretching from 2011 to 2019, and its ancient Volvo-derived architecture—with origins dating to before the turn of the century—was largely to blame. Those bones, which are fossils by automotive standards, have finally given way to this new sixth-generation model‘s rear-wheel-drive-based (all-wheel drive is optional) layout, which brings a wide range of improvements.

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