Although there aren’t many hybrid truck options available, there are a number of excellent hybrid SUVs. One of the newest, taking the veteran family hauler Ford Explorer to the next level, is the Ford Explorer Hybrid. Although according to Ford, the Explorer Hybrid was newly-introduced for the 2020 model year and is a rookie in the electric vehicle world, it’s already a strong contender.
Myth: hybrid SUVs can’t tow much
When people are shopping for hybrid SUVs, there are several factors they’re primarily concerned with. Fuel economy and price are typically at the top of that list, but in order to get those, consumers often have to sacrifice in other areas, such as performance, cargo capacity, or towing capability. Enter the Ford Explorer Hybrid.
Not only is the Explorer Hybrid one of the most fuel-efficient three-row SUVs available, but it’s near the top of its segment in maximum tow capacity, as well. According to AutoTrader, the Ford Explorer Hybrid is one of just a handful of hybrid SUVs capable of pulling 5,000 pounds or more. That’s enough to easily pull an Ultralite camper, a boat, or other recreational toys.
The Explorer Hybrid’s achievement is an impressive one indeed, but remember, it’s a hybrid, so fuel economy certainly isn’t lacking either. It gets a combined city and highway fuel economy rating of 29 mpg when configured with rear-wheel drive, but it should be noted that all-wheel-drive Explorer Hybrids get slightly less – around 25 mpg.
The Ford Explorer Hybrid: the best of all worlds
Since it was majorly redesigned in 2016, the Ford Explorer has gotten increasingly more luxurious, gaining a slew of newly-standard and optional features each year. Its price tag has steadily risen to match, but buyers don’t seem to mind. In fact, the 2020 Explorer is America’s best-selling midsize SUV — by a long shot. With the addition of the Ford Explorer Hybrid for 2020, sales are expected to continue on this trajectory through the end of the year.
We already know the Explorer Hybrid is more than capable in the towing department and that it gets great fuel economy. Its driving range is excellent too, capable of an estimated 450-500 miles on a full charge. Buyers also get an abundance of standard features in the Ford Explorer Hybrid, including an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Interestingly, Edmunds points out that buyers should beware of the upgraded 10.1-inch screen, as its vertical orientation noticeably shrinks and distorts the display.
Several driver-assist features come standard on the Explorer Hybrid, including a surround-view parking camera, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and pedestrian detection with automatic emergency braking.
The Explorer Hybrid’s price isn’t too shabby either
There’s really no way around it — hybrid vehicles aren’t exactly inexpensive, and that’s especially true for hybrid SUVs. However, the Ford Explorer Hybrid is actually one of the most affordable you can get in the midsize segment. With a starting MSRP of about $53,000, it’s the most affordable SUV with substantial towing capacity from AutoTrader’s list.
Even the next most affordable vehicle on the list, the Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid, has a starting price tag of $67,000. Then you have the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, which is “mechanically similar to the Explorer” (but albeit, significantly more luxurious), starting at around $70,000. Finally, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is one of the Explorer Hybrid’s most direct competitors, and while it does have a much lower MSRP, it’s only rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, according to MotorTrend.
When you consider the Ford Explorer Hybrid’s entire package — its towing capability, driving range, fuel economy, and loads of standard features — it really is an incredible value. The icing on the cake is the fact that MotorTrend said the Explorer Hybrid “was as capable as its regular counterpart” off-road.