The 2020 Ford Explorer family began shipping out the dealers in June of this year. We first sampled the new Explorer lineup that same month out in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and right now it’s the superior American three-row unibody SUV above the others thanks to its clever technology, fantastic ride and handling, and stylish cabin. Its broad lineup out of the gate is arguably more impressive, with the performance-oriented 2020 Explorer ST and fuel efficient 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid serving as the bookends. However, if you haven’t seen any hybrid versions on the road yet, there’s a big reason for that. And it starts with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
For a new production car to be legally sold in the United States, it needs to have official fuel economy estimates from the governing body that does so – and the EPA is the authority on that. At the time of the launch drive, Ford engineers informed us that 2020 Ford Explorer models of every kind were currently being assembled and shipped out of the Chicago Assembly Plant in Illinois. However, the Explorer Hybrid was without certification. So even though Ford had them ready to go, on time, the EPA log-jammed the process, and consumers who wanted one have been stuck waiting.
Draw your own conclusions if you want, but the important part is that the 2020 Explorer Hybrid is now ready for sale with the official EPA fuel economy estimate now completed. The numbers are great for the three-row, with rear-wheel drive versions rated at 27 mpg city/29 mpg highway/28 mpg combined; and four-wheel 2020 Explorer Hybrids coming in at 23 mpg city/26 mpg highway/25 mpg combined. Ford says that, with its 18-gallon fuel tank, all-new Explorer Limited Hybrid RWD can go 500 miles between fill-ups, while AWD models are good for around 450 miles.
The 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid story isn’t just about fuel economy, either, as it’s rated to tow 5,000 pounds when equipped with a Class III Tow Package. That’s 1,500 pounds more than a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. But if you want a new Explorer Hybrid, be ready to pay up, as the 2020 Explorer Limited Hybrid asks for $54,120 with destination and acquisition tallied on.