2020 Ford Explorer to offer digital detox mode

Ford concedes drivers need a break from looking at screens.

Properly equipped, the 2020 Ford Explorer comes with a long list of tech features that includes a digital instrument cluster, and a vertical touchscreen embedded into the center stack. Ford recognizes screens take up a lot of real estate on the Explorer's dashboard, so it added a Mindful Mode to let drivers digitally detox.

When engaged, Mindful Mode removes most of the information displayed on the 12.-3 inch, driver-configurable digital instrument cluster. It leaves only the data that drivers need to have in front of them, like the current speed, the current speed limit, and how much fuel is left in the tank. Everything else fades into a blue background, so the driver can take a break from processing information displayed on a screen. Ford's research shows the feature will be popular among Explorer owners.

"People are increasingly aware of and alarmed by their device dependency. Yet if there's one opportunity throughout the day to reduce your exposure to digital demands, it's when you're driving. Ford's new Explorer can serve as a sanctuary from chaos and distraction," said Sheryl Connelly, Ford's global consumer trends and futurist, in a statement.

Of course, the best way not to stare at a screen while you're driving is not to order a car with one. Ford hasn't released full pricing and specifications for the 2020 Explorer yet, but we know the digital instrument cluster is either found on the list of extra-cost options, or included on upmarket trim levels. More affordable variants carry on with analog gauges and a much smaller information screen.

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