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A Bureaucratic Log Jam At The EPA Is To Blame For The Delay

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid
2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

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.

Ford Explorer Hybrid

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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