Explorer plug-in hybrid: Ford starts delivering the top SUV model in Europe

• Available to order since late 2019, Ford is now starting vehicle delivery in Europe.

• The sixth generation of the bestseller combines a system output of 336 kW (457 hp) and a torque of 825 Newton meters with over 40 kilometers of purely electric range.

• SUV offers space for seven adults and pampers them with luxurious standard equipment including the Ford SYNC 3, FordPass Connect modem and B&O sound system.

• The newly developed Explorer convinces ex works with a 10-speed automatic transmission, intelligent all-wheel drive, off-road management system and a variety of modern assistance systems.

2020 Ford Explorer Plug-in hybrid PHEV – (photo by Ford)

The Ford Explorer, the new top model of the European SUV family from Ford, impresses with advanced plug-in hybrid technology, seven seats, luxurious standard equipment, a modern 10-speed automatic transmission, numerous driver assistance systems and a maximum trailer load (braked) of 2,500 kilograms. The new, sixth generation of Explorer can be selected in Germany in the two equipment versions “ST-Line” (from 76,000 euros) and “Platinum” (from 77,000 euros). Ford is now starting to deliver the vehicle, which European customers have been able to order from dealers since the end of last year. The new Explorer is one of a total of 18 models with electrified drives that Ford will launch in Europe by the end of 2021.

Powerful and efficient: plug-in hybrid drive with 336 kW (457 hp) system power

The combination of the 3.0-liter Ford EcoBoost V6 petrol engine and an electric motor culminates in a system output of 336 kW (457 hp) * at 5,750 rpm and a maximum torque of 825 Newton meters (at 2,500 rpm). This makes the Explorer Ford’s most powerful hybrid vehicle. The engine power is brought to the road via a standard 10-speed automatic transmission and intelligent all-wheel drive. It is a hybrid architecture connected in parallel, which means that the performance of the petrol and electric motor is called up simultaneously and thus adds up to superior performance – on and off the road. The Explorer’s top speed is 230 km / h, and acceleration from a standing start to 100 km / h can be completed in 6.0 seconds, if required.

However, this performance is not at the expense of consumption: the new Explorer EcoBoost plug-in hybrid, which is classified according to Euro 6d-TEMP-EVAP-ISC, achieves a combined consumption of 3.1 liters / 100 km (NEDC: 2.9 l / 100 km) ** with combined WLTP-CO 2 emissions ** of 71 g / km (NEDC: 66 g / km). The EcoBoost plug-in hybrid drive delivers a purely electrical, and therefore locally emission-free, range of 42 kilometers (WLTP or 48 kilometers according to NEDC). The combined power consumption of the 5.05 meter long, 2.28 meter wide and 1.78 meter high vehicle is 20.5 kWh / 100 kilometers.

Four electric driving programs

The driver decides when and how to call up the energy stored in the lithium-ion battery. He can choose between four different EV driving programs (EV = Electric Vehicle):

  • “EV Auto (matic)” (standard mode) automatically switches between purely electric driving, the use of the petrol engine or the combined drive depending on the driving situation and available battery charge. In this way, the optimum performance and efficiency yield is always achieved on the freeway as well as in city traffic.
  • In “EV Now” mode, the vehicle is driven purely electrically until the battery charge level is no longer sufficient for electric journeys. The vehicle then changes to the combined electric battery drive (“EV Auto”). In purely electric driving mode, the vehicle accelerates to a maximum of 135 km / h.
  • In “EV Later” mode, the electrical range in the battery is protected for later use. The vehicle predominantly runs with the petrol engine activated (“EV Auto”) and uses regenerative charging to keep the battery charge level as high as possible. This is an advantage if, for example, entry into an emission-free environmental zone is foreseeable.
  • “EV charging” uses the petrol engine to actively charge the battery so that further trips are possible in the purely electric “EV now” mode.

Driving in pure electric mode offers maximum smoothness and comfort on the road. The battery can be charged in two ways: via a power cable (via the connector in the fender on the driver’s side – the charging cable for the household socket is included in the scope of delivery, a wallbox solution is also available as an optional accessory) or while driving (through the Recuperation of kinetic energy, which would otherwise be lost as friction on the brakes). The Explorer plug-in hybrid takes around five hours 50 minutes to fully charge the battery from the 230-volt household socket. At a Ford Connected wall box or at a public charging station, recharging takes around 4 hours 20 minutes.

The 12.3-inch digital instrument panel (31.2 cm screen diagonal) provides pictograms about the respective electric driving mode. If the battery is running low, the Explorer automatically switches to the “EV Auto” program and activates the EcoBoost petrol engine, which – on its own – develops an output of 267 kW (363 hp). In favor of higher fuel efficiency, the gasoline engine continues to receive support from the electric drive, insofar as the energy recuperated when braking enables this.

The 10-speed automatic

The power transmission is carried out by the intelligent all-wheel drive in combination with the modern 10-speed automatic transmission (converter) from Ford. The all-wheel drive processes information every ten milliseconds that a variety of sensors provide. These include the current vehicle speed, the yaw movement, the outside temperature, the tire grip and data on any trailer operation. With sufficient traction, the Explorer is powered by the rear wheels. If necessary, the transmission automatically transfers the engine power to the front wheels. The standard descent control makes it easier to negotiate difficult downhill gradients. The automatic transmission – it adapts to the driving style of the driver – is controlled via a rotary switch (“Electronic Shifter”) in the center console, via which the levels (P, R, N,

The digital instrument panel

Numerous overviews, dynamic graphics and messages can be called up and compiled via the 12.3-inch digital instrument panel with a screen diagonal of 31.2 centimeters – including the speedometer, fuel level or battery charge. Depending on which driving mode is selected, animated 3D graphics display various information about the vehicle.

Modern off-road management system with seven driving modes

The new Explorer adapts flexibly to different road, weather and terrain conditions. The driver benefits from the modern off-road management system TMS (Terrain Management System) with seven driving modes: normal, sport, unpaved road, slippery, cargo / trailer and eco as well as a setting for deep snow / sand. It is also easy to switch between the individual modes while driving. The programs are controlled via a selective drive mode knob in the center console. Each program is visualized with its own graphic symbol and corresponding additional information on the digital instrument panel.

Sporty side profile with a dynamically sloping roof line

The attractive lines of the new Explorer are in line with the tradition of the design philosophy that has characterized this series for 30 years now. One of the most distinctive features of the latest generation is its sporty side profile with the dynamically sloping roof line and the shorter axle overhang at the front. The standard highlights are the 20-inch light-alloy wheels, which are finished in black glossy finish, the rear spoiler painted in body color and the exhaust system with four tailpipes made of polished stainless steel. The dynamic, elegant character of the top SUV model from Ford in Europe is emphasized by black side skirts with glossy black contrast inserts, the black roof rails and door handles painted in body color with black applications.

The two equipment variants

The Explorer is available in Germany in the two equipment versions “ST-Line” (from 76,000 euros) and “Platinum” (from 77,000 euros):


This variant includes 4 light alloy wheels 8.5 J x 20 with 255/55 R 20 tires in 5×2-spoke design, black turned, noise compensation (ANC), a towbar preparation kit, exhaust system with four tailpipes made of polished Stainless steel, exterior mirrors electrically adjustable, heatable and with ambient lighting as well as blind spot assistant including cross traffic alert, roof rails, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel (screen diagonal 31.2 centimeters), electric tailgate (sensor-controlled), inductive charging station for mobile devices (according to Qi standard), air conditioning with automatic temperature control (electronic 3-zone automatic climate control), LED fog lights, LED rear lights, LED headlights with high-beam assistant and LED daytime running lights, two-part panoramic sunroof ( electric,with “Solar Reflect” heat protection and electric sun visor), leather steering wheel (heatable), premium leather upholstery (driver and front passenger seats can be adjusted 10 times, air-conditioned and heated, with lumbar support and massage function), the two outer seats of the second row of seats can be heated and also movable, the two seats of the third row of seats can be extended and retracted electrically, 12 volt connection in the second row of seats and in the luggage compartment, 230 volt connection.the two seats in the third row of seats can be extended and retracted electrically, 12 volt connection in the second row of seats and in the luggage compartment, 230 volt connection.the two seats in the third row of seats are electrically extendible and retractable, 12 volt connection in the second row of seats and in the luggage compartment, 230 volt connection.


The “Platinum” trim is, in addition to or different from the “ST-Line”, characterized by the following features: 4 light alloy wheels 8.0 J x 20 with 255/55 R 20 tires in 5×2-spoke design, with a high-sheen finish with dark tarnish inserts, leather-covered dashboard with real wood applications, leather steering wheel (heatable) with wood inserts, Brunello decorative seams and paddle shifters, premium leather upholstery in black with perforated seat center panel and color-contrasting headboard in brown, metallic paint, door inserts leather-covered.

Comprehensive security equipment

The Explorer convinces with extensive standard safety equipment. The scope of delivery ex works includes:

ABS with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), electronic safety and stability program (ESP) with traction control including torque vectoring control and roll stability control (RSC), downhill assistant, hill start assistant, theft alarm system, lane assistant including lane keeping assistant, intelligent security System (front airbag for driver and front passenger), knee airbag for driver and front passenger, side airbag for driver and front passenger, rollover protection sensors, warning system for seat belts not fastened at the front and in the 2nd and 3rd row of seats), ISOFX brackets on the outside seats of the second and third row of seats, emergency brake lights, central locking.

Modern driver assistance systems

The top SUV model from Ford also has numerous advanced driver assistance systems as standard. They increase safety as well as driving comfort. A selection:

  • Active “Plus” parking assistant with parking and parking functions and partially automated vehicle guidance. The system identifies suitable parking spaces along or across the road and automatically steers the vehicle into it – this also includes checking the accelerator and brake pedals and activating the parking brake. Once the parking process has been completed, the driver only has to engage the “neutral” position of the automatic transmission. The system also works in the opposite direction: Then the partially automated parking assistant steers the Explorer safely out of the parking space.
  • The intelligent adaptive cruise control system (iACC) includes a traffic sign recognition system as well as a traffic jam assistant with stop & go function and a lane pilot. The system adjusts the preselected speed to the flowing traffic, maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front and also automatically drives your own vehicle in the middle of the lane. In traffic jam situations, the iACC also brings the car to a complete standstill and automatically starts it again if the stop has not lasted longer than three seconds. If the Explorer is standing longer, all you need to do is press a switch on the steering wheel or move the accelerator pedal slightly, and the plug-in hybrid vehicle starts moving again.
  • The standard intelligent speed limiter with speed limit indicator in combination with the traffic sign recognition system ensures that local speed limits are taken into account. The front camera registers traffic signs and also uses information from the navigation system.
  • The pre-collision assist system, including a collision warning system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, alerts the driver to an impending collision with non-motorized road users and thus helps to prevent accidents.
  • The blind spot assistant with Cross Traffic Alert makes parking easier. It warns of vehicles approaching from the side. If the driver does not react or only reacts insufficiently, the system activates the brake to avoid a collision or at least to minimize its consequences. The system works at parking speeds between 1.5 and 12 km / h.
  • The 360-degree camera with “Split View” technology also helps in difficult situations: thanks to the interaction of several cameras, the system displays a 360-degree all-round view on the central monitor in the center console.

Additional assistance technologies ensure safety ex works. These include the Lane Assistant including Lane Keeping Assist and the Evasion Assistant: Via targeted steering assistance, they help prevent accidents or minimize their effects. The post-collision assist activates the brakes after a collision to reduce the risk of a second collision.

Nine attractive exterior colors

The Explorer can be ordered in nine attractive exterior colors. The “ST-Line” is supplied as standard in liquid white, the “Platinum” as standard in chroma blue metallic.

Lots of space for up to seven people – luggage compartment volume: 2,274 liters

The modern premium interior allows up to seven people to travel comfortably. The Explorer has a third row of seats as standard (two seats) that can be extended and retracted electrically. Access is easy with the help of the Easy Entry function: the two outer seats of the second row are adjustable in terms of inclination and length and can be pushed forward to allow easy entry into the third row of seats.

Thanks to the Easy Fold Flat System with electrical folding and unfolding function, the second and third row of seats can be folded down at the push of a button, creating a loading area of ​​2,140 millimeters longer and 1,222 millimeters wide (narrowest point). The new Explorer offers a maximum luggage compartment volume of 2,274 liters (in 2-seater mode).

The electrical, sensor-controlled tailgate is a practical detail. It is also part of the standard scope and makes loading and unloading the large trunk easier. Numerous storage compartments with a total volume of 123 liters also offer plenty of space. The Explorer also has twelve cup holders.

A real workhorse despite luxurious furnishings

Despite its luxury equipment, the Explorer is a real workhorse. It has a maximum payload of 694 kilograms. The permissible gross train weight is 5,660 kg, the maximum trailer load (braked) 2,500 kg or 750 kg unchecked. Whether hobby or profession: paired with the powerful torque of the hybrid drive, the Explorer is strong enough to tow boat trailers, trailers or machines. The vertical load is 100 kilograms.

Active Noise Cancellation

The Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), which is standard on the Explorer, also guarantees particular comfort. Via microphones strategically placed in the interior, ANC registers acoustic interference sources such as drive, tire unrolling or wind noises and equalizes them via the audio system by means of opposing sound waves. The result is astonishing: the noise level while driving drops significantly.

Superior connectivity: the new one sets standards in its class

The new Explorer also sets standards in terms of connectivity, especially since the FordPass Connect modem 1) is part of the standard equipment. Now you can interact with your vehicle like never before.

  • Live Traffic: Live Traffic updates the traffic information of the on-board Ford SYNC 3 navigation system every 30 seconds. The driver not only keeps up to date with the traffic situation on the main roads, but also on secondary roads. Using the data from FordPass Live Traffic, the route is continuously adapted in real time to the current traffic situation.
  • WLAN hotspot: Up to ten devices can be connected to the hotspot at the same time and thanks to 4G LTE speed, the preferred streaming services can also be used from the vehicle.
  • eCall: In the event of an accident, an emergency call is triggered and important data transmitted – such as B. the time of the accident and the exact coordinates of the accident location. A voice connection is also established between the vehicle and the emergency call point. The emergency call can also be triggered manually using a switch in the vehicle. A SIM card permanently installed in the vehicle is used to establish the connection, so it is not necessary to integrate your own mobile phone.

If you download the free FordPass app to your smartphone, you have access to a variety of useful functions and services – and get the most out of the FordPass Connect. Examples:

  • Vehicle location – it makes it easier to find the car, for example, in large and confusing parking lots or in foreign city centers
  • Query of the current status in terms of fuel level, mileage and tire pressure
  • Unlocking and locking the car remotely.

In addition, there are new functions of the FordPass app that are specifically tailored to the plug-in hybrid drive, such as information on the state of charge of the battery, charging points or the possibility to define the charging time in order to be able to use cheap electricity prices.

Thanks to the inductive charging station in the center console, cable clutter on board the Explorer is a relic from the past. It works according to the Qi standard and enables wireless charging of corresponding smartphones whose compatibility the system automatically recognizes. The devices can remain connected via the Bluetooth interface of the Ford SYNC 3 communication and entertainment system, which can be used to control the vehicle’s audio and navigation functions by voice command. Ford SYNC 3 is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 2) . The standard 10.1-inch touchscreen color monitor on the instrument panel for both equipment lines (screen diagonal: 25.7 centimeters) reacts to wiping and pulling movements.

The standard B&O sound system 3) – based on the renowned sound and design expertise of Bang & Olufsen – converts the music files that the Explorer occupant streams via the FordPass Connect modem or retrieves from his smartphone into a brilliant sound experience. 980 watts of amplifier power and 14 perfectly coordinated loudspeakers (including a subwoofer for full bass) form the basis for a powerful and dynamic sound. The optimized positioning of the tweeters in the dashboard and extensive sound tuning options promise all passengers excellent music enjoyment.

Author: Nabeel K
Email: nabeel@wheelsjoint.com

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