2020 Ford Explorer vs. a Chevy Traverse, Honda Pilot, Kia Sorento and Toyota Highlander

The Ford Explorer gets a finish renovate for a 2020 indication year, with large improvements in terms of tech, reserve and styling. This all-new Explorer looks to not usually say a crossover’s popularity, yet enhance a interest even further.

That’s important, given a three-row crossover shred is one of a many rival in a automotive space. When a new Explorer goes on sale this summer, it’ll face extreme foe from a likes of a Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Kia Sorento and Toyota Highlander, among others.

Let’s take a demeanour during how a 2020 Explorer is positioned conflicting these obvious rivals.

Engine, delivery and towing

At launch, a 2020 Explorer will come customary with a 2.3-liter, turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine and a 10-speed involuntary transmission. It’s not a many absolute customary engine in a shred — a Traverse’s V6 beats it by a tiny 10 horsepower — yet a Explorer offers estimable energy compared to a rivals. The customary four-cylinder engines in a Highlander and Sorento demeanour officious malnutritioned by comparison.

For those wanting some-more oomph, a Explorer’s discretionary 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 leads a category in horsepower and torque. The V6 boasts a 5,600-pound draw rating, that is somewhat improved than many other entrants in this segment. Only a Dodge Durango and Nissan Pathfinder do improved with towing, a former means to draw as many as 8,700 pounds interjection to a discretionary V8 engine.

Engine, delivery and towing comparison


The front fascia is a area that’s undergone a many transformation, yet it’s arguably a blandest-looking bit of a whole package. The new crossover’s flanks are some-more sculpted than a stream Explorer’s, that is a good touch, yet a behind looks flattering many matching to a 2019 model.

When it comes to a competition, there’s not a rotten-looking apple in this bunch, yet they have their quirks. Winning a endowment for many minivan-looking of a organisation is a Highlander, yet a Sorento is a tighten runner-up. The Traverse is blocky-looking, generally in a bottom trim riddled with black cosmetic and tiny wheels. The Honda Pilot, on a other hand, looks a many windswept and unique.

Of course, beauty is in a eye of a beholder, so it’s ideally excellent if your pattern interpretations are a opposite of what’s created above.

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Ford took an evolutionary, rather than insubordinate proceed to a sixth-gen Explorer’s styling.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Tech and safety

The 2020 Ford Explorer represents a vital ascent in mandatory tech compared with a stream Explorer. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Waze navigation integrated into an 8-inch touchscreen now come standard. The 2019 indication usually comes with a 4.2-inch shade and no phone mirroring unless you’re peaceful to bombard out additional dough. The 2020 Explorer also comes customary with 4 USB ports (two of that are USB-C), as good as 4G LTE Wi-Fi for adult to 10 devices.

More in line with a stream Explorer, a Toyota Highlander is flattering miserly with a customary tech, charity usually a 6.1-inch touchscreen. The Honda Pilot is a shade some-more stingy, charity usually a 5-inch LCD screen. The Chevrolet Traverse is many some-more easy with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a 7-inch touchscreen, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi for adult to 7 devices.

Despite carrying a lowest cost in this comparison, a Kia Sorento brings a tech essentials to a party. Those essentials embody Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a 7-inch touchscreen.

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That iPad-looking thing atop a core smoke-stack is a Explorer’s discretionary 10.1-inch infotainment display.


In unison with stepping adult a customary tech game, a 2020 Explorer now offers a belly-full of customary reserve systems, that is in sheer contrariety to a 2019 Explorer that offers no customary driver-assistance systems. The new Explorer comes with pedestrian-detecting collision-mitigation braking, blind mark monitoring with cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, involuntary high beams and a rearview camera that can rinse itself if things get ghastly out on a trail.

Those customary reserve facilities make a bottom Explorer many some-more rival with a well-equipped Highlander and Pilot, that both come with mandatory collision-mitigation braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive journey control and involuntary high-beams. The Traverse mirrors a stream Explorer by charity no customary driver-assistance systems. The same goes for a Sorento.

Cargo space

With 87.8 cubic feet of load space with a second and third rows of seats folded, a Explorer offers important load room, violence many of a competitors solely for a Chevy, that is outrageous inside. In fact, a 98.2 cubic-foot max falls between a Chevrolet Tahoe and a Ford Expedition, both of that are one car category larger.

The Pilot and Highlander, with their middle-of-the-road pricing, also offer middle-of-the-road storage volume, while a value-positioned Sorento is certifiably cargo-cramped. In fact, a Honda CR-V, one distance category down, offers some-more limit volume than a Sorento.

Cargo volume comparison (cubic feet)

Headroom and legroom

If we have a large conduct — hopefully not in a celebrity clarity — and you’re a newcomer in a 2020 Explorer, you’re in luck, as a new Ford offers best-in-class second- and third-row headroom. In each other dimensions defined below, a new Explorer stays competitive. If we gave into enticement a small too many this past holiday season, a Explorer has your back(side), too, by charity best-in-class first- and second-row hip room.

Being a space aristocrat that it is, it’s no warn a Chevy boasts some tip measurements on this chart, namely with front headroom and third-row legroom. Surprisingly, a Sorento can explain a a feat here, as well. It tops a draft with a second-row legroom.

The Honda Pilot ties a Explorer with best-in-class third-row headroom, while a Highlander is a benchmark for front legroom, yet offers significantly reduction third-row legroom than a others.

Headroom/legroom comparison (inches)


Ford says a 2020 Explorer’s bottom cost will finish adult being $400 some-more than a 2019 model’s $32,365 figure. Including an estimated finish assign of $995, that amounts to during slightest $33,760, that will place a Explorer during a some-more costly finish of a segment. That’s zero new for a Ford, yet distinct deliberation a Explorer’s turn of customary horsepower, tech and reserve features.

2020 pricing for many models in a automobile attention is approaching to be an normal of several hundred dollars some-more than their 2019 counterparts, so keep that in mind when referring to a pricing of a Explorer’s 2019-model-year competitors below.

Ford is nonetheless to recover prices for a higher-trim Explorers, yet a top-spec Platinum trim turn for 2019 starts during $54,165, so a 2020 indication shouldn’t be many some-more than that.

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Since 1990, Ford has sole scarcely 8 million Explorers, creation it a best-selling SUV in history.


On a conflicting finish of a spectrum, a Kia Sorento’s low bottom cost is due mostly to a unimpressive bottom engine and a miss of customary driver-assistance features. Like a Sorento, a Highlander comes with a low-cost bottom engine, as well, yet a healthy apartment of customary driver-assistance systems put it mid-pack among starting prices.

The Honda Pilot LX also offers a vigourous list of customary motorist aids yet bundles that with a V6 engine. The Pilot offers reduction customary tech, though, that explains because it commands usually $70 some-more than a Toyota. The Chevrolet Traverse takes a opposite proceed to alighting mid-pack. It offers a customary V6 yet a default of customary driver-assistance features.

On a tip end, you’ll notice many of these crossovers come in during underneath $50,000 in their tip trims. Attribute that to a fact that nothing offer a turn of horsepower that a Explorer Platinum has on tap.

Three-row crossover SUV pricing


Price (incl. destination)

Ford Explorer


Ford Explorer Platinum

$56,000 (est)

Toyota Highlander LE


Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum


Honda Pilot LX


Honda Pilot Elite


Chevrolet Traverse L


Chevrolet Traverse High Country


Kia Sorento L


Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD


According to this story of a tape, a new Explorer should have small problem fortifying a sales crown. What stays to be seen is what it will be like to drive, so keep your internet dials sealed here for a stirring first-drive sense as shortly as we can get the mitts on a sixth-gen Explorer.

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