Ace of Base: 2020 Ford Explorer XLT

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Let’s get one thing clear: it is my opinion that the 2020 Explorer XLT is not the best 2020 Explorer. Powered by a 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-pot, the XLT falls far short of the 400 horsepower 3.0-liter Ecoboost V6 found in ST trim. As a proponent of acceleration, your author will always select the biggest engine.

Not everyone will, however. Scads of buyers, many of whom lie directly in the target market of Ford’s new Explorer, will think the 300 horse mill is more than suitable. In that frame of mind, let’s find out what $36,675 buys you at a Ford store these days.

The myopic and cataract-addled will carp that the 2020 Explorer doesn’t look significantly different from the 2019 model, at least not different enough to warrant the label of “new.” What they fail to register is the switch to a big-league rear-drive platform, the Explorer configuration that nature and Henry Ford intended. The XLT is indeed a RWD machine, with the addition of 4×4 tacking $2,000 onto the Monroney. A ten-speed automatic is standard across the board.

Colors aplenty dot the XLT’s order sheet, with the natty Atlas Blue leading the way in your author’s jaundiced eye. Sadly, the tasty Rapid Red is a $395 extra. While on the subject of paint colors, whatever happened to creative paint names at Ford. Does anyone else remember the likes of Clear Crystal Blue Frost and Medium Canyon Red Clearcoat Metallic? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Post your favorites in the comments below.

Anyway, the Explorer XLT is peppered with LED maps front and rear, though this model is devoid of fog lamps, narking to the neighbours about your entry-level status. It does have a power tailgate, tri-zone climate control, and Ford CoPilot360. The latter brings nannies such as lane keeping and automatic emergency braking to the party. Those 65-series tires look reassuringly thick in a world filled with low profile rubber bands.

In terms of tech, shoppers will find plenty of 12V and USB ports in which to charge their devices, plus satellite radio and a wifi hotspot. There’s the expected rear view camera but, in a fit of practicality, features a lens washer that’ll spritz the thing with fluid on command. Snazzy trims get the oddly positioned tablet-style touchscreen spanning 10.1 inches. This XLT is said to have an 8.0-inch screen but pictures of the same are scarce. I’ll reserve judgement on the appearance of this particular square-peg-round-hole conundrum until I see one in person.

I’ll note here that the Explorer microsite mentions a trim level below the XLT which bins the LED lights and a few other minor features. It has vanished from the build-and-price tool, however, so we’ll go with this XLT trim as the cheapest available Explorer for now. Priced in the mid-30’s, the 2020 Ford Explorer XLT seems to be a compelling package with sufficient kit to nudge the value-for-dollar meter in the right direction.

[Images: Ford]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 39 comments
  • Millerluke Millerluke on May 02, 2019

    I read a book by Bob Lutz, Gm uses a formula to decide what are options and what are standard features. If about 70% of cars are sold with a feature they make it standard, and if less than 30% buy a feature they stop offering it. So all the options available as options are selected by between 30 and 70% of buyers. I would expect most manufacturers would do something very similar.

  • ColoradoFX4 ColoradoFX4 on May 02, 2019

    Light Prairie Tan Clearcoat Metallic.

  • Ravenuer No, I wouldn't be interested in doing this at all. Seems like it would be quite expensive.
  • Tassos Why buy either when you have two matching 2007 diesel e-classes with combined over 950k km. NO ONE SHOULD WANT MORE THAN I HAVE SETTLED FOR.
  • FreedMike Depends on the used car. If we're talking a numbers-matching GTO or something like that, then hell no. But if we're talking about something like a six-banger '67 Mustang, it'd be cool to make it into an EV with modern suspension, brakes and electronics. Call it an electro-restomod.
  • Billccm I think history is repeating itself. In the late 1980s the French acquired AMC. They discovered no easy money in that deal, Chrysler took AMC and Jeep is all that remained.Present day the French acquired FCA, discovered no easy money in the deal, and some Asian manufacturer will take what remains of Chrysler, and Jeep and RAM will be all that survived.To understand the future study the past.
  • Jalop1991 "why did the governor veto a bill to give me free gummint money?"