The 2020 Ford Explorer is frugal for a full-size SUV, even with optional all-wheel drive. EPA ratings indicate it may be the thriftiest of its direct rivals.
The EPA last week released its fuel economy estimates for the new SUV and show the 2020 Explorer will return up to 21 mpg city, 28 highway, 24 combined. Those figures come with the base 2.3-liter turbo-4 engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive. Opting for all-wheel drive with the same powertrain sees each figure dip by 1 mpg to 20/27/23 mpg.
The Explorer Platinum trim comes equipped with a more powerful twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, which drinks more fuel. The EPA says it will return an estimated 18/24/20 mpg. There will also be an Explorer ST and Hybrid model, though fuel economy estimates for both are not available yet.
Picking out a few of the SUV's rivals, the Explorer holds its own.
When looking specifically at volume models with base powertrains and AWD, the Explorer comes out on top when compared to the Kia Telluride, Chevrolet Traverse, and Toyota Highlander. Each of the three rival SUVs feature V-6 power with the Chevrolet faring the worst of the bunch at 17/25/20 mpg. The Telluride is expected to return 19/24/21 mpg and the Highlander is estimated to be nearly on par with the 2020 Explorer at 20/26/22 mpg. The Highlander is in for a redesign for the 2020 model year as well, which will make its 2019 fuel economy estimates outdated soon enough.
The latest Explorer will hit dealerships this summer with a starting price of $33,860, or $400 more than the outgoing model.