Towing with the 2.3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Towing with the 2.3


Well-Known Member
December 8, 2022
Reaction score
City, State
Spring, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
2020 Explorer Limited RWD
Got in some towing with the Explorer last week. I'd towed this trailer empty a few times, but this week was a real test on the tow-ability of the Explorer.
Short version, it handled it great! Did about 800 miles total with it & never had any issues. Even had a few occasions where I had to overtake, just had to do a bit of additional planning ahead.
Worst part was getting 8mpg on the outbound trip [very windy & rarely got above 8th gear] and between 9-10mpg on the trip back. Lot of drag with the Mule being a lot taller than the truck.

It squatted the rear a bit, but not terribly. We did have the trailer tongue scrape a bit on the ranch roads, where the center is a lot higher due to heavy trucks wearing down the tore paths.



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Beautiful pictures. I'm amazed you only got single digit fuel economy for a good part of the trip.

We were running around 75mph in higher winds on the trip out, which really put a hit on it, and a lot of hills.
Kept it to 70mph max on the trip back & it was less climbing with less wind than the outbound trip. Get it up close to 10mpg & was able to get in 9th & 10th gear for a while.

Approximately how heavy was the trailer?

I rode in my brother's Sierra while he was towing his Corvette and he was getting like 14-15mpg.

Mule shows about 1600lbs, per Kawasaki
Plus a couple coolers, gas cans & a tool box in the back.
Trailer is maybe about 1k if I had to guess

A lot of the MPG hit is probably that the top of the hood of the Mule is about equal with the top of the Explorer roof, puts almost the whole Mule windshield as drag.
Here's a side profile shot, even with the trailer slightly downhill sloped, the Mule is a lot taller than the Ex.

Next time, I'll probably take our Expedition Max & see how much better it does with the towing. The extra ground clearance will definitely make the drive in from the highway & getting around the ranch easier.