This is the SUV that will help save the Mustang

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Words: Nile Bijoux
11 Jan 2019

Ford has revealed details of the forthcoming 2020 Explorer and while it is a timely replacement for the existing circa-2011 model, it’s a more important vehicle than you may think.

That’s because it uses a new longitudinal engine, rear-wheel drive-based unibody platform which will also underpin the next Mustang. Having a rear-drive platform forming the bones of a volume seller like the Explorer means the Mustang has a business case in Ford’s new passenger car-less world.

The base engine for the new Explorer is the familiar 2.3-litre Ecoboost turbo four-pot, with an even 300 horses (223kW) on tap. Above that is a 365hp (272kW) 3.0-litre Ecoboost V6, and both engines are paired exclusively with a ten-speed auto.

Ford says the new SUV features more high strength steel, making it some 90kg lighter than before. It’s unclear how much of this is in the platform but we can assume the manufacturing techniques will carry over to the new Mustang, as will the weight savings.

A Hybrid Explorer has also been confirmed and, while we already know an electrified Mustang is in the works, this could be a chance to see how the hybrid systems work. The green Explorer will reportedly debut soon, probably at the imminent Detroit auto show.

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