In January this year, Ford announced a major restructuring plan for its European business which also included the launch of a new imported model from the U.S. market. Today, at the Go Further event in Amsterdam, the Blue Oval has revealed the name of this vehicle – it’s the new seven-seat Explorer in a plug-in hybrid form.
This is the very first time the Explorer reaches European shores. One of the most successful American large SUVs will be available on the Old Continent exclusively with a PHEV powertrain which consists of a 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine generating 345 bhp and an electric motor good for another 99 bhp. The combined peak output stands at 444 bhp and 620 pound-feet.
Thanks to a 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery, the massive (by European standards) three-row SUV will be able to travel up to 25 miles on purely electric energy. Mated to a 10-speed automatic and an intelligent all-wheel drive, the Explorer PHEV will have a combined fuel consumption of 3.4 litres per 100 kilometres (83 miles per gallon-UK) with corresponding CO2 emissions of 78 grams per kilometre. Obviously, these figures represent just the first 62 miles when the battery is still fully charged.
The powerful powertrain ensures the Explorer PHEV is capable of towing trailers weighing up to 2,500 kilograms. To help drivers with improved power delivery, the hybrid system has seven selectable driving modes, including Normal, Sport, Towing, Snow, and more which should handle all road and weather conditions perfectly, according to Ford.
Sales of the model on the European continent are scheduled to begin early next year with two trim levels to be available – ST-Line and Platinum. Both will come as standard with 20-inch wheels with different design depending on the selected model. Just like the U.S. model, the Euro-spec Explorer will also feature a 10.1-inch vertical touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital cockpit.
“The Explorer is a true SUV – designed for families with a real sense of adventure – so it was essential that the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid featured a powertrain that could haul anything from boats to horseboxes,” Matthias Tonn, Explorer chief program engineer for Europe, comments. “We specifically chose a parallel hybrid architecture that lets drivers use all 444 bhp. We’ve even added a more advanced version of our Blind Spot Information System, that covers a 10 metre trailer.”
Although prices should be announced closer to the on-sale date, there is no confirmation yet the Explorer will be available for the UK market.
Gallery: 2020 Ford Explorer PHEV (Euro-spec)
- All-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid seven-seat sports utility vehicle to go on sale in Europe later this year
- Electrified powertrain combines 3.0‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine, electric motor and battery for 450 PS, 840 Nm of torque, and 40 km (25 miles) pure-electric city driving range
- Vehicle is all-new to Europe and features as standard new Reverse Brake Assist as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring
- Luxurious interior offers 10.1-inch touchscreen for SYNC 3 connectivity and features as standard FordPass Connect modem, B&O Sound System, easy-to-operate flexible seating
- Versatility, capability and refinement optimised with 10-speed automatic transmission, Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, and Terrain Management System with selectable Drive Modes
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, April. 2, 2019 – The all-new Ford Explorer SUV today made its European debut at a special “Go Further” event in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as Ford announced a unique plug-in hybrid version of America’s all-time best selling SUV will go on sale in Europe later this year.
The all-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid will be offered in two distinctive, high-specification, left-hand drive variants – the sporty, Ford Performance-inspired Explorer ST-Line and the luxurious Explorer Platinum. Both are powered by a combination of Ford’s 3.0‑litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine, electric motor and generator to deliver 450 PS and 840 Nm of torque, alongside pure-electric driving capability.
Standard Ford Intelligent All-Wheel drive technology supported by seven Drive Modes and Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission optimises performance in scenarios from urban driving to off-road. A refined and confidence-inspiring driving experience is enhanced with sophisticated driver assistance technologies as standard, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring functionalities.
The exceptionally spacious, luxurious, comfort-focussed interior offers advanced features including a 10.1‑inch central portrait-mounted touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display. Families can get the most from road trips with versatile load and seating configurations and family-friendly innovations such as easy entrance and exit to the third row seats using just one hand.
“I am very excited about the iconic Ford Explorer coming to Europe. The all-new Explorer comes with unstoppable design and phenomenal specification. The most versatile SUV we have ever offered for customers in the region is able to carry seven adults in comfort, tow a 2,500 kg trailer with ease, and still deliver 40 km (25 miles) zero-emissions city driving range,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. “Technologies like our 10.1-inch touchscreen and Reverse Brake Assist debut in Europe to make the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid supremely rewarding and easy to drive.”
New from the ground-up the all-new sixth generation Ford Explorer was unveiled for customers in the U.S. earlier this year. First introduced in 1991, Explorer kick-started in the U.S. the rapid growth of the SUV segment that has now become immensely successful worldwide.
The all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid delivers the energy-efficiency, refinement and performance benefits of an electrified powertrain in many driving scenarios, while maintaining the driving range of a traditional combustion engine. An electric-only urban cycle driving range of 40 km (25 miles) qualifies for tax breaks in some markets.
Ford’s 350 PS 3.0-litre EcoBoost engine is supported by a 100 PS electric motor. The 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged using a charging port located on the front left-hand side fender between the door and wheel arch. In addition, the battery is automatically replenished on the move using regenerative charging technology that captures kinetic energy normally lost during braking.
The electric motor enables the Explorer to deliver zero-emission, pure-electric driving capability, and drivers can choose when and how to deploy battery power using EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge modes. When the battery reaches its lowest state-of-charge, the Explorer automatically reverts to EV Auto mode – supplementing petrol engine power with electric motor assistance using recaptured energy for optimised fuel-efficiency. The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid will deliver anticipated 78 g/km CO2 emissions and 3.4 l/100 km fuel efficiency.*
The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid’s parallel hybrid architecture also enables the full combined power and torque of both petrol engine and electric motor to be deployed simultaneously for enhanced performance on- and off-road, and 2,500 kg towing capability. Ford’s sophisticated 10-speed automatic transmission further optimises fuel-efficiency and refinement.
“The Explorer is a true SUV – designed for families with a real sense of adventure – so it was essential that the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid featured a powertrain that could haul anything from boats to horseboxes,” said Matthias Tonn, Explorer chief programme engineer for Europe. “We specifically chose a parallel hybrid architecture that lets drivers use all 450 PS and 840 Nm of torque. We’ve even added a more advanced version of our Blind Spot Information System, that covers a 10 metre trailer.”
Advanced Intelligent All-Wheel Drive technology every 10 milliseconds analyses inputs from dozens of sensors, including vehicle speed and yaw, ambient air temperature, wheel slip and towing status to determine whether additional traction is needed. An all-new single speed transfer case featuring an electro-mechanical torque clutch can seamlessly adjust torque delivery between the front and rear wheels within 100 milliseconds for a more secure footing on the road. Like the 10-speed automatic transmission, the system uses adaptive learning algorithms to continually adjust responses for optimised refinement.
The Terrain Management System uses selectable Drive Modes to enable customers to tailor their drive experience to road, weather and terrain conditions on demand, including Normal, Sport, Trail, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Eco, and Deep Snow and Sand modes – with each Drive Mode featuring a unique graphical display in the 12.3-inch instrument cluster. Hill Descent Control also helps make light work of off-road terrain.
Stress-free journeys in town and country
Sophisticated driver assistance technologies contribute to a refined and intuitive driving experience for Explorer Plug-In Hybrid customers, including features designed to make it easier to drive a large vehicle in urban environments.
Available Active Park Assist 2 enables fully-automated manoeuvres into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces at the push of a button. The system identifies suitable parking spaces and the driver can control vehicle motion by simply selecting neutral and holding down a single centre console-mounted button. The vehicle then fully controls forward and reverse gear selection, throttle and braking, as well as steering to manoeuvre into spaces before engaging park. The technology can also help drivers exit parallel parking spaces using fully automated Park-out Assist.
Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them, and can apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate the effects of collisions if drivers do not respond to warnings. In addition, Reverse Brake Assist uses radar and ultrasonic sensors to detect an object in the vehicle’s path, and can apply the brakes automatically to avoid an imminent collision when the vehicle is backing up at a low speed – such as when exiting a driveway. Also helping drivers negotiate awkward scenarios, rear-view and front-view cameras with built-in lens cleaners combine with additional cameras mounted beneath the door mirrors to provide a 360-degree view around the vehicle projected on to the central display.
Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection technology can detect people and cyclists in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle’s path, and automatically apply the brakes if it detects a potential collision and the driver does not respond to warnings.
Stop-start traffic, highway driving and long distance road trips are made less stressful using Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring. The technology helps the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead and can help keep the vehicle centred in its lane. In addition, the technology can adjust the vehicle speed to within legal limits by monitoring the roadside and overhead gantries for speed signs in addition to using information from the on-board navigation system.
Stop & Go enables the ACC system to bring the vehicle to a complete halt in stop-start traffic, and automatically pull away if the stopping duration is less than 3 seconds. For stopping durations greater than 3 seconds, the driver can push a steering wheel button or gently apply the accelerator pull away.
Lane-Centring technology monitors road markings and can apply gentle but discernible torque to the steering system to help drivers stay centred in their lane whenever the ACC system is activated. Designed to support drivers at speeds up to 200 km/h (125 mph), the technology will deliver visual and audible warnings if it detects a lack of steering wheel input from the driver.
Further technologies to help drivers avoid or mitigate the effects of accidents include Ford’s Lane-Keeping System, and Evasive Steering Assist that provides steering support to help avoid a collision. Post-Impact Braking provides braking after a collision to lessen injury and damage caused by a secondary crash event.
“It’s not about filling the vehicle with technology for technology’s sake,” said Torsten Wey, manager, Driver Assistance and Safety Technology, Ford of Europe. “It’s about improving the experience, making driving less stressful, and helping the driver to feel more confident behind the wheel.”
Capable and comfortable
Standing more than 5 metres long, 2 metres wide and almost 2 metres high, the all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid delivers the luxury of space for up to seven occupants in three rows of seats.
First and second row passengers benefit from more than 1 metre of headroom and legroom, and more than 1.5 metres of shoulder room. Offering 96 centimetres headroom, more than 1 metre of shoulder room and more than 83 centimetres legroom, the third row of seats can also easily accommodate adults in comfort.
Standard Easy Fold Seats with Power Raise for the third row and Easy Fold Seats for the second row fold flat to create a cargo area that offers 2,274 litres of load space. The interior offers 123 litres of stowage space throughout the cabin, giving passengers in all three rows no shortage of places to stow personal items – alongside no less than 12 cupholders.
A rotary gear shift dial for the 10-speed automatic transmission; heated and cooled 10-way power adjustable front seats; heated second row seats; wireless charging pad for compatible devices; heated steering wheel; retractable second row sunshades; and second and third row privacy glass are among the comfort enhancing features delivered as standard. Platinum models also feature a 14-speaker, 1000-watt premium B&O Sound System as standard, with a 12-speaker, 800-watt premium B&O Sound System for ST-Line variants.
FordPass Connect embedded modem technology turns the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices. In addition to helping drivers plan faster, less stressful journeys with Live Traffic updates for the navigation system and enabling occupants to stream entertainment on the move, FordPass Connect allows a range of convenient features via the FordPass mobile app, including:
- Vehicle Locator, helping owners find their SUV in sprawling shopping mall car parks
- Vehicle Status, for checking fuel levels, alarm status, oil life and more
- Door Lock Unlock, to remotely allow access to your vehicle
- Remote Start**
The 10.1-inch portrait mounted touchscreen – standard for the Platinum variant – enables navigation maps to fill the entire screen for easy viewing, or split the space with audio information. The screen uses capacitive glass comparable to that used in smartphones and tablets, providing a quicker, more responsive interaction with the SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, which also allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple voice commands.
The touch screen shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, configured to support drivers in getting the most from their Explorer Plug-In Hybrid powertrain with dedicated screens including power flow, charging and energy-efficiency coaching. An 8‑inch central touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster are standard for the ST-Line variant.
Stylish, modern design
A number of consistent design qualities have helped define Explorer during 29 years of success in the U.S., and the design team strived to hold on to these important pieces of heritage when designing the all-new generation. Longtime traits include Explorer’s blacked-out front and rear window pillars. A sporty, stylish appearance is achieved using a sloping roofline and short front overhang.
The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid comes standard with bold 20-inch alloy wheels with black machined finish for ST-Line models and tarnished dark machined finish for Platinum models.
ST-Line models feature a gloss black finish one-piece grille, and high gloss black for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also features red accent stitching for seats, floor mats and sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, as well as carbon fibre-effect appliques for the instrument panel.
Platinum models feature a satin finish one-piece grille, and satin finish for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also adds real wood appliques for the instrument panel.
“Massive charisma and unprecedented road presence come as standard with our all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid,” Matthias Tonn said. “With distinctive ST-Line and Platinum variants available, customers can find the right option to suit their personality.”