After coming from a full redesign in 2020, the Ford Explorer returns with minor changes for 2021. It’s a midsize SUV that delivers a smooth, comfortable ride with its powerful engine and three rows of seating.
The 2021 Ford Explorer is a midsize three-row SUV with seating for seven or six, with optional second-row captain’s chairs. The front seats are spacious and comfortable, though there is less room in the rear seats. Cargo space gives you 18.2 cubic feet behind the third row, 47.9 cubic feet with the third row folded down, and up to 87.8 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down. Cloth upholstery and power-adjustable front seats are standard; and leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, front sport seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, power-folding third-row seats, and massaging front seats are available. A power liftgate comes standard; and an available hands-free liftgate and a cargo management system that adds under-floor storage and a reversible cargo floor is an option. The Explorer is available in base, XLT, Limited, ST, and Platinum trim levels.
Safety and Technology
The Ford Explorer has an impressive list of safety and tech features, including a highly rated SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen that quickly connects to your smartphone with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Six speakers, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and four USB ports are also standard. Available features include a 10.1-inch touch screen with a portrait layout, a 12.3-inch customizable driver display, a 14-speaker Bank & Olufsen sound system, a rear-seat entertainment system, and wireless device charging. For added assistance, the Explorer comes with Ford Co-Pilot360 technology and driver-assist features to add ease and safety to your driving. Standard safety features include blind spot monitoring, rearview camera, lane-keep assist, forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and auto high-beam headlamps.
The Ford’s standard turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with 300 hp comes with a smooth and sturdy 10-speed automatic transmission and a rear-wheel-drive platform. There are two available twin-turbocharged V6s that put out 365 and 400 horsepower and are also paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive comes standard in the two highest trims, but you can add four-wheel drive to the other trims for added cost. The base engine is not short on power, but the V6 options are quicker. Estimated fuel economy is 21/28 mpg in the city and on the highway with its base engine and 18/26 mpg city/highway with the twin-turbo V6 engines. When properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 5,600. The base Explorer has a starting price of $33,000 and ranges to a starting price of $59,000 for the Platinum.
The 2021 Ford Explorer comes with some powerful engines that will carry your heavy load and cargo, while delivering a smooth and comfortable ride. It also has a long list of standard features that include several active safety technologies and an intuitive infotainment system.