For 30 years, the Ford Explorer has been one of America’s go-to family vehicles. Ford transitioned the Explorer from a traditional SUV to a car-based crossover in 2011, and has now redesigned and greatly improved it for 2020. The new Explorer keeps familiar styling and three rows of seats, but adds advanced new powertrains and an unusual rear-wheel drive architecture.
Another famously family-friendly brand is Subaru. Its vehicles are known for their hardy utility, everyday comfort, high degree of safety, and standard all-wheel-drive. But until last year, Subaru didn’t sell a direct family-focused Explorer competitor — coming no closer than an unsuccessful model called the Tribeca, which tried to be fancy rather than spacious. The Subaru Ascent expands the brand’s traditional strengths into a big eight-passenger crossover. Which one is best for you — the 2020 Subaru Ascent or the 2020 Ford Explorer?