Dave Deslauriers /

Fresh Vehicle Redesigns for the 2020 Model Year

In last week’s article, we took a look at a few of the brand new vehicles slated to hit the showroom floor this year. This week, we’re going to take a peek at some industry stalwarts that are getting a significant makeover for the upcoming model year.

Ford Explorer

The 6th generation of one of the Blue Oval’s most popular vehicles is set to hit the market for the 2020 model year. The Ford Explorer has been completely redesigned inside and out. While the new Explorer will maintain it’s unibody chassis, one of the major changes is the switch back to rear-wheel drive on it’s 2WD models. As always, a 4WD powertrain will also be available. The automaker claims that this setup will provide superior handling and off-road capabilities, as well as greater towing capacity (up to 5,600 lbs).

Those interested in the new Explorer will have a choice between a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, or a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. Both engines are matted to a 10-speed automatic transmission, and produce 300 and 365 horsepower respectively. More options are expected to be released down the road, with hybrid and performance-oriented ST models in the works.

All of the 2020 Explorer trim levels will also come equipped with Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of safety and driver-assist technology, including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping system, and pedestrian detection.

Kelly Blue Book also notes that “Other standard features include 4G LTE that can allow up to 10 mobile devices to use the Explorer as a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot, an 8-inch touchscreen Sync3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, power tailgate, dual-zone climate control and 18-inch wheels.”

The new Explorer is expected to start around $33,000 and will compete against the likes of the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander (see below), and Chevrolet Traverse.

Toyota Highlander

One of the Ford Explorer’s primary competitors is also getting a brand new look for the 2020 model year. The Toyota Highlander is set to launch the next generation of it’s 3-row mainstay SUV. The new 8-passenger SUV is slightly larger than the outgoing model, which will result in a roomier cabin with greater flexibility when it comes to seat arrangement. The 2020 Highlander will come in 5 separate trim levels: L, LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum. In addition, there is also a hybrid model set to debut in early 2020 that is rumored to sport a class-leading 34-mpg combined fuel economy.

The non-hybrid models come standard with a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. If including the optional tow package, the Highlander will reach a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. Customers will also have their choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive powertrains.

All 2020 Highlander models will come equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes features such as pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-range radar-based smart cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, lane tracing assist and road sign assist. LE and higher models will also come with blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, and available rear cross traffic braking.

While pricing has yet to be released, the vehicle is expected to compete with the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Chevrolet Traverse.

Subaru Outback

Subaru, one of the best-selling automobile brands in America, is giving a comprehensive update to one of their most popular models. The Subaru Outback will be sporting a fresh look for the upcoming 2020 model year.

The 2020 Outback will be offered in the Base, Premium, Limited, and Touring trim levels, each coming standard with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower. For those looking for more power, Subaru has replaced the optional 3.6-Liter V6 engine with a brand new turbocharged 4-cylinder. The turbocharged 4 boasts 260 horsepower, as opposed to 256 horsepower for the outgoing V6. As expected, all 2020 Subaru Outback models will come with an all-wheel drive powertrain standard.

Inside the cabin, Subaru has bestowed the Outback with a brand new 11.6-inch vertically-oriented touchscreen in the center of the dash. This feature will come standard on all trim levels except the Base. Thicker glass, and redesigned door seals are also rumored to make the interior much quieter than the outgoing model.

Additionally, Kelly Blue Book states that “Adaptive cruise control with lane-centering, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and a driver-attention monitor are standard on all Outback models. Additional available active-safety features include blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking intervention. A new front-view monitor uses a camera mounted low in the grille to provide a 180-degree forward view, useful for when pulling out from between buildings or other cars or for a close-up look at potential obstacles when off pavement.”

Subaru has yet to reveal pricing for the 2020 Outback, however we should know more as we get closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date this fall.


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