Photo: Ford

Details on the next generation Ford Explorer started trickling out earlier this year. We heard of its move to rear-drive longitudinal layout (yes, really) and the confirmation from Ford that there would be an ST model. Just last week, Ford revealed a powertrain diagram of the base 2.3-liter Explorer in an investor presentation, and now we’re finding more details based on a leaked order guide.

The guide was posted on a Ford Explorer forum and revealed the specs and options for the 2020 Explorer Police Interceptor Utility, which will be very similar to the consumer version. The guide revealed that the police variant will offer three engine options that include a 3.3-liter V6, 3.3-liter V6 Hybrid, and a 3.0-liter V6 EcoBoost. All of the police variants will be AWD and backed up by a 10-speed automatic transmission.

According to another forum post, the consumer version will get all of the same engines but it will additionally have a 2.3-liter EcoBoost for the base, XLT, and Limited models. The consumer version will also be available in a RWD configuration. The engine configurations for the Explorer should be as follows at launch:

  • 2.3L EcoBoost - Base, XLT, Limited
  • 3.3L V6 - Base, Police
  • 3.3L V6 Hybrid - Limited, Police
  • 3.0L EcoBoost - ST, Platinum, Police

Some may notice that the plug-in hybrid option that was announced for the Aviator is missing from the list and according to the forum post and a source at Ford, it will not be available for U.S. market Explorers at launch but is shown for some overseas models.

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The 2.3-liter EcoBoost is likely to exceed the power and torque figures of the version currently used in the Explorer, as the engine should be the upgraded variant we saw displayed with the Ranger earlier this year. The 3.0-liter EcoBoost is currently rated at 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque in the MKZ and Continental and should be similar in the Explorer if not slightly higher for the ST version.

The 3.3-liter one will probably be moved right over from the F-150 with possibly some slight modifications and should be in the same 290 horsepower and 265 pound-foot range. The 3.3 Hybrid will get a jump on power compared to the naturally aspirated model as Ford has revealed that it will exceed the performance of the current 3.7-liter base engine which is rated at 304 HP and 279 pound-feet of torque.

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Fuel economy figures are not yet listed in the order guide but the brochure does state that the new hybrid powertrain will be rated an estimated 24 miles per gallon combined in the police variant which will be a 3 mpg improvement over the current most efficient Explorer. The consumer version of the hybrid will likely be slightly better since it will be a little lighter due to the exclusion of some of the reinforcements used in the police variant.

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Interior passenger volume should remain the same but overall interior volume is going to grow slightly going from 166 cubic feet on the current model to 168 cubic feet on the new version.

The order guide shows that the vehicle will be equipped with electric power steering and will forgo an alternator in the hybrid variant and instead will use the Dc/DC converter to recharge the 12-volt battery. The police version will continue to offer a column shifter.

Something called “police grade cloth and vinyl” (that sounds so horrible, doesn’t it?) will be offered as usual for the police variant and the front seats will be equipped with steel plated to protect against intrusion.

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Of course, there’s lots of tech that will be deployed on the new model, including a police perimeter alert that detects if there is motion around the vehicle. We’re unlikely to see that on the consumer version but it would be cool to see some of the other features like the rear camera on-demand option to be available.

A full suite of safety features will be available including blind spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, and pre-collision assist. The police variant is listed as being tested for a 75-mph rear-impact, which is the first I’ve seen of such a spec. (Update: Ford has tested the same spec on the current Interceptor as well.) Ballistic door panels will also be available for this variant along with a few other police-only features.

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It will feature independent suspension front and rear along with disc brakes on all four corners as has been spotted on some of the mules that have been out testing. The hybrid battery pack will be a lithium-ion type while the 12-volt battery will be AGM. LED headlights will be standard even on the police version.

The consumer version will have lots more options as the trim levels will be expansive but this order guide gives a good preview of the bones of the next generation Explorer and some of the basic features that we can expect to see.