2021 Ford Explorer

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2021 Ford Explorer Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: October 27, 2020

Adarsh Sharma's image
Adarsh Sharma

Automotive Journalist


When it's a talk about SUVs with strong build quality and performance, then the brand Ford is the first name that comes to mind. Known for its sturdy SUVs and the quality they carry, Ford has been doing quite well in the SUV segment lately. Speaking of which, the 2021 Ford Explorer is just around the corner and will carry some tweaks like a heated steering wheel as an optional feature for lower trims, heated front seats standard on XLT, and eight-way power-adjustable front passenger's seat on Limited, ST and Platinum models. There will also be more differences in the prices of the trims from the previous year model.

2020 Ford Explorer wallpaper
2021 Ford Explorer's prices slashed across the range

The 2021 Ford Explorer lineup will see a price-cut of $540 on the base model and $3,770 on the top-tier Platinum. So the Base RWD trim will come in at an MSRP of $32,225, while the Explorer Platinum AWD will cost $54,480. Note that these prices exclude a $1,245 destination and delivery charge, which is the same as last year. The Ford Explorer has tough competition from the likes of Hyundai Palisade, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander. Though Ford Explorer is a decent car to go for in the mid-size SUV segment, the Hyundai Palisade is not something to be overlooked. Here’s our take on the 2021 Ford Explorer that is soon going to be on sale in the market.

See detailed review »

Pros

Spacious cabin and cargo

All-wheel-drive offers improved handling

Refined powertrain choices

Cons

Cheap material used in interior

Expensive than rivals

What's New?

Heated seats standard on XLT

8-way power-adjustable front passenger seat on Limited, ST and Platinum

XLT Sport Appearance Package available on XLT


2021 Ford Explorer Latest Update

2021 Ford Explorer Review: Trims, Prices, Performance, Interior, and Rivals Comparison

2021 Ford Explorer Review: Trims, Prices, Performance, Interior, and Rivals Comparison

The 2021 Ford Explorer is here and it gets some significant updates. Ford has gone ahead and significantly slashed the prices of this midsize SUV, and the lineup now starts at $32,225. Nevertheless, F ..

By Joel Sam Santhosh June 06, 2020

2019 Ford Explorer Review- Trims, Prices, Interiors, Towing Capacity, Features, and Rivals Explained

2019 Ford Explorer Review- Trims, Prices, Interiors, Towing Capacity, Features, and Rivals Explained

Midsize SUVs generate quite a lot of sales numbers for their makers and Ford has been riding high since they introduced the Explorer in the market. For 2019, Ford is bundling a plethora of features on ..

By Charan Narain Khandelwal May 13, 2020

2011 Ford Explorer Review- Trims, Specs, Engine, Pricing and Competition Compared

2011 Ford Explorer Review- Trims, Specs, Engine, Pricing and Competition Compared

Ford Explorer has gone through a remarkable journey since its inception in the 90’s. Now, in its fifth generation, the Explorer SUV has dropped its old body on frame chassis that used to be based on ..

By Saurav Kumar May 12, 2020

2014 Ford Explorer Review- Trims, Features, Engine, Pricing and Competition Compared

2014 Ford Explorer Review- Trims, Features, Engine, Pricing and Competition Compared

Now in its fourth year, the 2014 Ford Explorer has come a long way to what we see. Just like last year’s model, the SUV is based on a unibody chassis platform and drops its old truck-based chassis ..

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2013 Ford Explorer Review- Trims, Features, Engine, Pricing and Rivals Compared

2013 Ford Explorer Review- Trims, Features, Engine, Pricing and Rivals Compared

The 2013 Ford Explorer is a part of the fifth generation lineup. Just like last year’s model, the SUV has adopted a new design philosophy and shed its old truck-based chassis layout. With the new Sp ..

By Saurav Kumar May 12, 2020

Pictures & Videos

interior
Videos
2021 Ford Explorer Review video
2021 Ford Explorer Exterior video
2021 Ford Explorer Safety video

Styles

2021 Ford Explorer in Agate Black color 2021 Ford Explorer in Atomic Silver color 2021 Ford Explorer in Blue Metallic color
Agate Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.6

Engine And Performance

8.2

Fuel Economy

8.1

Interior

7.6

Exterior

9.5

Safety

8.0

Competition

9.1

8.6

OVERALL RATING

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Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Ford Explorer Base

Base

power
308 hp @ 6800 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
25 combined

$32,765 - $34,765


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $32,765 MSRP (22/25/29) 308 hp @ 6800 rpm, 3.6 L, V-6, Premium unleaded (recommended)
8-speed Automatic w/SelectShift all wheel drive 5
4dr SUV 4WD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $34,765 MSRP (16/18/23) 300 hp @ 5500 rpm, 2.3 L, Inline 4, Flex-fuel (unleaded/e85)
10-speed Automatic w/SelectShift all wheel drive 7

2021 Ford Explorer XLT

XLT

power
318 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Flex-fuel (unleaded/e85)
mpg
18 combined

$36,675 - $38,675


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
XLT 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $36,675 MSRP (16/18/23) 318 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2.3 L, V-6, Flex-fuel (unleaded/e85)
10-speed Automatic four wheel drive 7
XLT 4dr SUV 4WD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $38,675 MSRP (16/18/23) 300 hp @ 5500 rpm, 2.3 L, Inline 4, Flex-fuel (unleaded/e85)
10-speed Automatic w/SelectShift all wheel drive 6

2021 Ford Explorer Limited

Limited

power
318 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Flex-fuel (unleaded/e85)
mpg
18 combined

$48,130 - $50,130


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Limited 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $48,130 MSRP (16/18/23) 300 hp @ 5500 rpm, 2.3 L, Inline 4, Flex-fuel (unleaded/e85)
10-speed Automatic w/SelectShift rear wheel drive 6
Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $50,130 MSRP (16/18/23) 318 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2.3 L, V-6, Flex-fuel (unleaded/e85)
10-speed Automatic rear wheel drive 5

Expert Review

8.6

Overall Rating


Launched in the 90s, the Ford Explorer is quite a popular crossover in the US market, especially among family-oriented buyers. It is a mid-size crossover that was introduced as a truck-based SUV. However, Ford has almost completely transformed it into an SUV which offers great comfort, performance as well as best-in-class capabilities.

New XLT Sport Appearance Package available on 2021 Ford Explorer XLT

Offered with two different engine options, the Explorer is one of the few vehicles in its segment that comes mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox. The 2021 Ford Explorer shall be mostly a carryover model, except for some features being shuffled and new XLT Sport Appearance Package being offered on XLT. Hence, let’s have a look at what you can expect from the 2021 Ford Explorer.

Ford Explorer looks sporty for a three-row SUV
Top models of Ford Explorer get quad chrome exhausts

8.6/10
Features

8.2/10
Engine and Performance

8.1/10
Fuel Economy

7.6/10
Interior

9.5/10
Exterior

8.0/10
Safety

9.1/10
Competition


2021 Ford Explorer Features

8.6/10

The 2021 Ford Explorer has five trims in the lineup. Starting with the Base, the lineup consists of XLT, Limited, Sport, and Platinum. As already mentioned, the SUV will be cheaper to own for the model year 2021. With prices starting at $32,225, the 2021 Explorer will be $540 cheaper than the 2020 model. It also gets plenty of refreshed features. So in all, the 2021 Ford Explorer seems like quite a bargain.

Model

Base

XLT

Limited

ST

Platinum

MSRP (RWD)

$32,225

$34,000

$44,710

N/A

N/A

MSRP (AWD) $34,225 $36,000 $46,710 $52,605 $54,480

Key Features

Lane-keeping

System

10-way Power Driver’s Seat

Auto-dimming Rearview Mirror

Hill Descent Control

Active Park Assist 2.0

 

Air Filtration System

LED Signature Lighting

Forward Sensing System

Class III Trailer Tow Package

Illuminated Front Scuff Plates

 

Rearview Camera w/Washer

Intelligent Acess w/Push-button Start

Heated Steering Wheel

Intelligent 4WD w/Terrain Management

Twin-panel Moonroof

 

Remote Start

Second-row Captain's Chairs

Ambient Lighting

Voice-activated Navigation

Sony Premium Stereo w/12 Speakers

 

8-way Power-adjustable Front Seats

Roof Rack Side Rails

Universal Garage-door Opener

 

Quad Chrome Exhaust Tips

 

Ford Pass Connect 4G LTE Wi-Fi

hotspot

 

Dual Chrome Exhaust Tips

 

Satin Chrome Lower Bodyside Cladding Inserts

The Base Trim starts at $32,225 and is loaded with some standard features like Ford Pass connect 4G LTE Wireless hotspot, remote start, air filtration system, and Lane-keeping assist. The next variant is XLT trim with a price tag of $34,000. It is equipped now equipped with heated seats as standard, while 8-way power-adjustable front passenger's seat is optional. It also includes 10-way Power Driver’s seat, Intelligent Access with push-button start, and LED signature lighting. The Limited Trim with a price tag of $44,710 offers some more premium features like an Auto-dimming Rearview mirror, Forward Sensing System, Heated Steering Wheel with leather wrapping, Ambient lighting, and many more.

Ford Explorer Platinum gets AWD as stand-alone choice

That 8-way power-adjustable front passenger's seat feature has been made standard on all Limited and higher trims. The ST Trim is considered to be the most precise. It is equipped with all the standard features and also some more premium ones, like Intelligent 4WD with Terrain management, and Voice-Activated navigation all for $52,605. The top-end trim Platinum, priced at $54,480, carries Sony premium stereo with 12 speakers, illuminated front scuff plates, Active Park Assist 2.0, quad chrome exhaust tips, and many other premium features.

2021 Ford Explorer Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

Ford is known for providing luxury, performance, and comfort in their cars. The Explorer fulfills all those expectations of the customer. It is known for its premium cabin and powerful engine which performs with rage and takes down the road easily. Ford has never disappointed the customers with its SUV segment and Explorer is also maintaining the stage. Hence, the 2021 Ford Explorer will continue the legacy for a reliable and dependable product with at par ownership costs.

How Reliable is the Ford Explorer, and how is it Priced in different States?

Ford never let their customer feel down in terms of driving experience, quality, and reliability. The 2020 Explorer has not been rated yet by J D Power, but the 2019 Explorer’s rating is great. In terms of driving experience, it is rated 80 out of 100 and for quality and reliability 78 out of 100. The overall rating of the Explorer is 79 out of 100 which shows the strength of this car.

Rating Category

Score (out of 100)

Overall Score

79

Quality and Reliability

78

Driving Experience

80

Resale

82

Dealership Experience

78

The Ford Explorer has consistently served their customer with satisfaction with premium quality materials and powerful performance. On average, the cost of the Explorer is around $32,800. But due to differences in taxation, the prices do differ. Have a look below for a clearer picture.

Models

Ford Explorer

Honda Pilot

Toyota Highlander

Hyundai Palisade

Washington

$35,500

$34,524 $34,058 $36,005

Florida

$35,398

$36,049 $34,757 $38,415

California

$32,760

$32,645 $34,322 $42,095

New Jersey

$32,350

$37,150 $35,014 $40,110

Arizona

$34,040

$33,006 $33,821 $45,295

Till now for the 2020 Ford Explorer, 4 recalls have been recorded by NHTSA. They were related to the fuel system, parking brake, electrical system, and seats. In terms of overall safety rating, this car is rated 5 stars out of 5 by NHTSA. This rating shows the superior and high standard safety quality is offered by Ford in the Explorer.

What is the Ownership Costs of the Ford Explorer like?

In terms of the ownership cost, on an average, the Explorer will pull $59,458 in 5 years. The cost is high but this car is worth it. As the Ford Explorer has been updated recently, it has become quite a sophisticated machine. This, in turn, has increased its maintenance costs as well as running repairs. But that is only in relation to its older models.

Category

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Total

Insurance

$765

$792

$819

$848

$878

$4,102

Maintenance

$190

$320

$741

$1,161

$1,613

$4,025

Repairs

$0

$0

$131

$313

$456

$900

Taxes & Fees

$2,250

$111

$111

$111

$111

$2,694

Financing

$2,417

$1,943

$1,439

$900

$325

$7,024

Depreciation

$14,364

$2,676

$2,531

$2,970

$2,814

$25,355

Fuel

$1,513

$1,558

$1,605

$1,653

$1,702

$8,031

Real Cost to Own

$21,499

$7,400

$7,377

$7,956

$7,899

$51,479

When viewed in isolation, it does fine for itself. You can check if your vehicle is a part of the recall with the VIN on the NHSTA website. In terms of the ownership costs, it is at par with the segment and not on the higher side, considering the segment it is placed in. Its repairing costs are also not very high but the Ford Explorer does not manage to escape the depreciation pit.

What is the Warranty Coverage on the Ford Explorer?

The warranty period offered with this bulky SUV is a little disappointing. The Limited warranty period is just 3 years or 36,000 miles, which is less comparatively. The Powertrain warranty cover is decent with 5 years or 60,000 miles. But when it comes to complimentary scheduled maintenance then Ford is just out of the game by not providing it.

Criteria

Period

Limited Warranty

3 years/36,000 miles; whichever is earlier

Powertrain Warranty

5 years/60,000 miles; whichever is earlier

24-Hour Roadside Assistance

N/A

By not offering the complimentary scheduled maintenance, Ford can surely lose some of its customers. The rivals do offer a decent period for complimentary maintenance. Otherwise, the Limited and Powertrain warranty period is acceptable.

What is the Miles Per Dollar Costs of the Ford Explorer? 

Taking into account that the Explorer's ownership costs amount to $7,135 in the first year, keeping aside the depreciation, its MPD amounts to 0.475. That is quite good for an SUV its kind.

2021 Ford Explorer Buying Advice

The Ford Explorer is continuously applying changes with its upcoming models. It is worth buying as this bulky SUV has a lot to offer. The built quality and the performance of this vehicle is the next level. When it comes to safety, then no one can beat this car in the mid-size SUV segment. Limited trim offers the most value for money among the trim lineup. The 2.3L turbocharged inline-4 engine gives this car a powerful performance and this can also perform well at bumpy roads.

Should I Buy a Used Ford Explorer?

Buying a used car can help you save money, but in terms of Explorer, this can be a difficult choice. The current generation model will almost cost you the same as a new one but if you go for the 2019 model, you may miss out on a lot of features. If the design is not your concern, and if you just want to buy an SUV with great features, then a used Ford Explorer will be a good choice. The one who is looking for the latest technology and updated safety features, the used car will not serve you that.


Also Read:

Which Ford vehicles get the latest SYNC 4 for 2021?

What is 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy?

2021 Ford Explorer Engine and Performance

8.2/10

Most Explorer models are equipped with a 2.3L turbocharged inline-4 engine. It generates a massive 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque and comes mated with 10-speed automatic transmission. The RWD configured drivetrain is offered in the base trim, while you also get an option of the AWD for a more dedicated off-road experience. The Platinum trim is equipped with a 3.0L V6 engine which can generate massive power of 365 hp, and for ST trim it is fine-tuned to generate 400 hp. 

The 3.0L V6 on the ST model makes 400hp

If sufficiently equipped with a trailer tow package, the V6 engine can pull up to 5,600 pounds. While both engines are quite capable on and off the road, it is the V6 engine that is capable of putting a big smile on your face. On the other hand, the turbocharged 4-cylinder motor feels quite adequate for daily use. But it is in no league for offering a sporty performance. Due to the Explorer being a large and heavy SUV, the throttle response from the turbo-four feels a bit dull too.

Models

2021 Ford Explorer

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Hyundai Palisade

MSRP

$32,225

$31,650

$34,600

$31,775

Engine

2.3L Turbocharged

Inline-4

3.5L V6

3.5L V6

3.8L V6

Drivetrain

RWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

10-speed Automatic

6-speed Automatic

8-speed Automatic

8-speed Automatic

Power 

300hp@5,500rpm

280hp@6,000rpm

295hp@6,600rpm

291hp@6,000rpm

Torque 

310lb-ft@3,500rpm

262lb-ft@4,700rpm

263lb-ft@4,700rpm

262lb-ft@5,200rpm

The 2021 model will offer the same range of engines, and hence, the pros and cons of its performance shall remain the same. In the engine segment, no one can beat Explorer. The vehicle has a clear win with decent power and great performance. The 10-speed automatic transmission will also remain in the 2021 Explorer. The Toyota Highlander follows the Ford Explorer with its great power of 295 hp and 263 of torque. The Explorer also offers RWD with its base model, whereas, rivals like the Honda Pilot offer FWD.

How impressive is the 2021 Ford Explorer's Acceleration and Braking Performance?

The bulky Ford Explorer has great acceleration and even the base trim is quick. The base trim completes a 0-60 MPH sprint in 6.8 seconds and the quarter-mile flag is reached in 15.3 seconds. This record is impressive for such a mid-size SUV. Even with the heavy body, it also manages to stop in a shorter time.

The Ford Explorer SUV accelerates from 0-60 MPH in 6.8 sec

When braking from 60 MPH, it just stops within 121 feet equipped with a front brake of 12.8 inches and rear brakes of 12.8 inches. The overall performance of the Explorer is very much at par with the segment and it offers one of the best acceleration figures in its segment.

Models

2021 Ford Explorer

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Hyundai Palisade

0-60 MPH 

6.8 sec

6.1 sec

7.2 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile 

15.3 sec

14.7 sec

15.5 sec

15.8 sec

Top Speed 

143 MPH

130 MPH

118 MPH

130 MPH

60-0 MPH

121 ft

117 ft

128 ft

N/A

The Ford is the champion even with its maximum top speed of 143 MPH. But the Honda Pilot defeats the Explorer by completing the 0-60 MPH run in just 6.1 seconds. The Highlander and Palisade are way behind. So, overall Explorer takes the lead.

How compliant is the Ride Quality of the 2021 Ford Explorer?

The Ford Explorer is not particularly a sporty SUV. It becomes quite apparent when you begin to drive it that the focus is more towards comfort. It soaks up the nastiest of the bumps without breaking a sweat and also without feeling too bouncy.

Ford Explorer offers great maneuverability all around

Around the corners, body roll is noticeable but is not so much to cause discomfort. The chassis feels most at home on freeways at high speeds. In the city, its responsive steering makes it feel a lot lighter than it actually is. So maneuverability is never compromised.

How much can the 2021 Ford Explorer Tow?

The Ford Explorer gets two different powertrains, and its towing capacity will depend on the option that you choose. With the 300hp four-cylinder motor, the Explorer can tow a maximum of 5,300 pounds. But when setup to its limit, i.e., with the optional towing package, Class III Tow Package, the SUV can tow up to 5,600 lbs.

Models

2021 Ford Explorer

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Towing Capacity 

5,600 lbs

3,500 lbs

5,000 lbs

5,000

Such numbers put it at the top amongst its rivals. Then again for 2021, the SelectShift capability including paddle shifters comes with the Class III Tow Package on XLT and Limited variants. The same has been made standard on ST and Platinum trims. In comparison, only Toyota Highlander and Hyundai Palisade come close. The Honda Pilot takes the last spot with its 3,500 lbs towing capacity.

2021 Ford Explorer Fuel Economy

8.1/10

The fuel economy of the Ford Explorer is much better than the rivals. In the city, it offers 21 MPG, and 28 MPG when out on the highway. With the 19.2 gallons of fuel tank capacity, this car manages to offer a decent range of 501 miles combined. This makes it quite a capable vehicle for undertaking long-distance journeys. The mileage figure is also class-leading which makes it a popular choice among price conscience buyers.

Models

2021 Ford Explorer

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Hyundai Palisade

MPG (City)

21

19

21

19

MPG (Highway)

28

27

29

26

MPG (Combined)

24

22

24

22

Fuel Capacity 

17.9 gallons

19.5 gallons

17.9 gallons

18.8 gallons

Range (City/Hwy/Combined) 

376/501/430 miles

371/527/429 miles

376/519/430 miles

357/489/413 miles

The fuel economy numbers of the Ford Explorer are the best in the segment, as the table above clearly suggests. Even being such a bulky and heavy SUV manages to provide a sufficient amount of mileage. But the larger fuel tank of the Honda Pilot puts it at the top in mileage terms by offering the best-in-class range overall.


Also Read:

How does Ford Explorer fare against the GMC Terrain?

Is the Chevrolet Equinox a better choice than the Ford Explorer?

2021 Ford Explorer Interior

7.6/10

The interior of the Ford Explorer is quite simple but appealing. The comfort offered for front and rear seats are decent but even the third-row passengers will not suffer, thanks to enough leg space. Even stepping into the third-row gets easy with some button function mechanism that folds the second-row out of the way. 

The Ford Explorer provides comfortable seating in all rows

The dashboard looks intriguing with a 10.1-inch vertical infotainment display available only with ST and Platinum trim. The center console of Explorer is beautifully designed and lined with premium materials. The cabin is kept spacious, and with ambient lighting, it feels soothing. But this feel is offered from the Limited trim onwards.

Models

2021 Ford Explorer

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Seating Capacity

7

8

8

7

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.7/61.8/43.0

40.1/62.0/40.9

41.2/50.3/42.0

40.7/61.2/44.1

Second Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.5/61.9/39.0

40.2/62.0/38.4

39.4/58.7/41.0

40.1/60.8/42.4

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.9/54.6/32.2

38.9/44.6/31.9

36.1/55.0/27.7

37.8/55.2/31.4

The space offered in Ford Explorer is decent and comfortable in comparison to the segment. The Hyundai Palisade does carry more legroom in all rows, other than the third because of its long wheelbase. Overall, the Ford Explorer offers great space for front, second and third rows. Some of the notable comfort features are listed below:

  • Tilting and telescopic steering column
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Memory driver’s seat
  • Power driver’s seat
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Cooled Front seats
  • Rear-Seat Entertainment

How indulging is the 2021 Ford Explorer’s Infotainment?

The Ford Explorer will offer a standard 8-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Also, the Ford Pass connect 4G LTE Wireless hotspot is available with all the trims. The Limited trim even carries Voice-activated Navigation.

A 10.1-inch infotainment unit is offered on Ford Explorer ST and Platinum

The ST and Platinum trim will get a 10.1-inch vertically-oriented display. For the top-end trims, the Sony premium stereo with 12 speakers is offered. Rear seat entertainment system is also offered with every trim. It comes loaded with the following tech:

  • AM/FM Stereo HD Radio
  • Speed-Sensitive Volume Control
  • Auxiliary Audio Input and USB With External Media Control
  • Satellite Radio Service
  • USB Connection
  • Sony Premium Brand Speakers including a Subwoofer
  • Smart Device Integration
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot
  • Navigation System
  • Onboard Hands-Free Communication System

How much Cargo can the 2021 Ford Explorer carry?

Behind the third row of seats of the Ford Explorer, you get 18.2 cubic-feet of storage, which is quite good for a car in this category. By folding the third-row down, you get access to 47.9 cubic-feet of cargo space. Then further folding down the second-row opens up 87.8 cubic-feet of the same.

Models

2021 Ford Explorer

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Cargo Capacity

18.2

16.5

16.0

18.0

That way, the Explorer turns out to be the most capacious three-row SUV in this comparison. The amount of space offered after folding down each subsequent row is the maximum in the case of Ford Explorer. The 2021 model should continue to be just as practical.

2021 Ford Explorer basic SUV dashboard
2021 Ford Explorer basic SUV infotainment screen
2021 Ford Explorer basic SUV instrument screen
2021 Ford Explorer basic SUV cockpit area
2021 Ford Explorer basic SUV center console
2021 Ford Explorer basic SUV front seats
2021 Ford Explorer basic SUV seats

2021 Ford Explorer Exterior

9.5/10

The 2021 Explorer will get a new XLT Sport Appearance Package in its lineup. There will also be new wheel choices ranging from 18-inch to 21-inch. The new carbonized gray-painted 20-inch wheels get on board with matching grille and hood lettering definitely add a bit more flair to this already flashy ride. Its quad chrome exhaust tips surely change the rear look and make it more alluring and sporty.

Ford Explorer SUV has a bold and imposing stance 

The SUV has an athletic stance, thanks to the slimmer headlights, sharp character lines, and tapered roof. Overall, the Explorer looks quite imposing and offers quite a lot of road presence for the price. The 2021 Explorer will essentially be the same car, and hence, we do not expect many changes on the exterior of the upcoming model.

Models

2021 Ford Explorer

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Curb Weight 

4,345 lbs

4,036 lbs

4,145 lbs

4,127 lbs

Length 

198.3”

196.5”

194.9”

196.1”

Width 

78.9”

78.6”

76.0”

77.8”

Height 

69.9”

70.6”

68.1”

68.9”

Ground Clearance 

7.9”

7.3”

8.0”

7.9”

Wheelbase 

119.1”

111.0”

112.2”

114.2”

The dimensions of the Ford Explorer are the biggest in this comparison. That very well explains its spaciousness inside. The stance of this bulky SUV is taller and wider than the rivals. Its ground clearance of 7.9 inches is also above average. The Palisade has a similar clearance but is not quite as off-road capable. Overall, the Explorer also leads to the exterior dimension segment. Some notable exterior features include:

  • LED Taillights
  • LED Headlights
  • Twin Exhausts  
  • Quad Exhausts  
  • Heated Rear View Mirror  
  • Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror  
  • Twin-Panel Moonroof
2021 Ford Explorer SUV three quarter view
2021 Ford Explorer SUV three quarter view
2021 Ford Explorer SUV rear view
2021 Ford Explorer SUV rear three quarter view
2021 Ford Explorer SUV right side view
2021 Ford Explorer SUV wheel
2021 Ford Explorer SUV grille and headlamp

2021 Ford Explorer Safety

8.0/10

The safety features offered in the Ford Explorer are best in the segment. Also, the build quality of Ford’s vehicle is incredible. The 2020 Explorer received ratings of 5 out of 5 for overall safety by NHTSA. Some of the standard features of this vehicle for the driver and front passenger include Advance Trac with RSC (Roll Stability Control) and Curve Control, Post-Collision Safety system, and safety canopy system with side curtain airbags. Some of the other features are mentioned below:

  • Front, Rear, and Third Row Head Airbags
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • Post-Collision Safety System
  • Traction Control
  • Stability Control
  • Front and Rear Ventilated Disc Brakes
  • LED Headlamp
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring

2021 Ford Explorer Competition

9.1/10

2021 Ford Explorer Vs Honda Pilot

The Ford Explorer is a great performer in all the sectors but Honda Pilot also stands close in competition. The fuel economy of Pilot is decent compared to Explorer and it is also the quicker three-row SUV to race to the 60 MPH mark.

Honda Pilot

But overall the Explorer takes the lead with its powerful performance, comfortable interior, and most importantly its safety features. It can also tow a lot more, 1,100 pounds more to be exact, than the Honda Pilot. The Explorer's range of configurations is also more extensive.

2021 Ford Explorer Vs Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander is too far behind in the competition with Ford Explorer. Though the capability and ability of the Highlander are distinct in its ways, they are not quite at par with that of the Explorer. The Highlander is reliable, like most Toyota cars, but the Explorer is too.

Toyota Highlander

To top it all off, the Ford offers a great interior, bulky exterior, better ride quality, great fuel economy, and better safety options. It also does not trade its performance and capabilities for a compromised fuel economy So, Explorer is a clear winner here.

2021 Ford Explorer Vs Hyundai Palisade

Hyundai Palisade is a long-wheelbase vehicle with a great third-row space. The interior of Palisade does look more premium than Explorer, But, Palisade does lag behind in terms of ride and quality driving.

Hyundai Palisade

However, overall, the Ford Explorer defeats the Palisade in every aspect. The power offered by Explorer, the handling, safety features, and sassy look of Explorer do stand out from Palisade.

2021 Ford Explorer Final Verdict

If you are looking for an SUV which is full of power and comfort both at the same time, then the 2021 Explorer is a perfect package for you. The base trim starts with a budget price of $32,225 and offers a lot of standard features. The 2.3L turbocharged engine will never let you feel low on power. The cabin space for passengers in all the rows is also decent and the materials used are also of a decent quality. The main highlight of Explorer is its safety. It will keep you and your family safe at all times. Ford has much more to offer at this price segment than the rivals. So, if you are looking for a car with a powerful engine and luxury cabin, the Ford Explorer will not disappoint you.

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2021 Ford Explorer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many miles does a Ford Explorer usually last?

Explorer has always been an owner's delight. A Ford Explorer usually lasts well over 100,000 miles.

What is the top speed of a Ford Explorer?

The top speed of a Ford Explorer is 143 miles per hour. 

What's the average annual maintenance cost of a Ford Explorer?

The annual maintenance cost of a Ford Explorer is around $626. 

What's the warranty package on offer with the latest Ford Explorer?

Though there have been no official subtleties about the warranty package of the Ford Explorer, since its essentially a carryover model, we expect it to get the same warranty package as the 2020 model. Below is a breakdown of the Ford Explorer's warranty packages:

  • Bumper to Bumper – 3 years/30,000 miles
  • Powertrain – 5 Year/60,000 miles
  • Safety Restraint System – 5 year/60,000 miles
  • Corrosion (Perforation only) – 5 years/unlimited miles
  • Diesel Engine – 5 years/100,000 miles
  • Emissions – Up to 8 years/80,000 
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2021 Ford Explorer Overall Reviews


WB

Willie E. Bennett

2020 Ford Explorer

4dr SUV 4WD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A)

9

User Overall Rating

Posted On: October 7, 2020

2020 Ford Explorer

Pros - Handling, leather seats, sound system

Cons - Gps, touch screen

Overall Review

9 /10 Overall Rating

Handling is the best part of the whole driving dynamics. It feels more like a car and less like an SUV. Super easy to maneuver even in congested places.

8/10
Features
9/10
Interior
8/10
Design
9/10
Safety
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Deal Value
10/10
Dealer Review

AJ

Alex M. James

2020 Ford Explorer

Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A)

9

User Overall Rating

Posted On: October 7, 2020

A decent SUV

Pros - Style, visibility

Cons - Stiff ride, engine noise

Overall Review

9 /10 Overall Rating

I expected better from Ford. It is unbearable to drive for long durations of time. Ride quality is stiff and I feel every bump road has no matter if it's big or small.

8/10
Features
10/10
Interior
8/10
Design
10/10
Safety
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Deal Value
9/10
Dealer Review

MG

Mark S. Garner

2020 Ford Explorer

Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 10A)

10

User Overall Rating

Posted On: October 7, 2020

The BEST SUV ever!

Pros - Power, acceleration, fast

Cons - Nothing

Overall Review

10 /10 Overall Rating

Doesn? get any better than this. It has an amazing throttle response. Just a little press on the accelerator and it gets going. The power is more than enough for all the fun. Love it!

10/10
Features
10/10
Interior
10/10
Design
10/10
Safety
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Deal Value
10/10
Dealer Review

Read all Reviews

Used Ford Explorer for Sale

Car Name Deals Starting Price Number of Listings
2021 Ford Explorer 0 Great Deals Out of 199 $31,730 199 Listings
2020 Ford Explorer 127 Great Deals Out of 27193 $22,950 27193 Listings
2019 Ford Explorer 52 Great Deals Out of 1538 $21,136 1538 Listings
2018 Ford Explorer 118 Great Deals Out of 2965 $16,791 2965 Listings
2017 Ford Explorer 406 Great Deals Out of 8176 $8,900 8176 Listings
2016 Ford Explorer 134 Great Deals Out of 2147 $8,900 2147 Listings
2015 Ford Explorer 94 Great Deals Out of 1447 $8,350 1447 Listings

Top User Reviews

9

User Overall Rating

2020 Ford Explorer

Handling is the best part of the whole driving dynamics. It feels more like a car and less like an SUV. Super easy to maneuver even in congested places.

by Willie E. Bennett

9

User Overall Rating

A decent SUV

I expected better from Ford. It is unbearable to drive for long durations of time. Ride quality is stiff and I feel every bump road has no matter if it's big or small.

by Alex M. James

10

User Overall Rating

The BEST SUV ever!

Doesn? get any better than this. It has an amazing throttle response. Just a little press on the accelerator and it gets going. The power is more than enough for all the fun. Love it!

by Mark S. Garner

8

User Overall Rating

When did plastic get this expensive?!

Having a Ford Explorer is a mixed bag, to be honest. On one hand, I really like the driving dynamics, particularly transmission. And on the other, I absolutely hate the interior!

by Randy B. Phillips

8

User Overall Rating

Ford in 2020

When talking about driving experience I? say it is pretty decent for most parts. It is not exactly the fastest SUV but it gets the job done. The only bad thing I found and the reason I said ?for most parts?is the gas mileage. It is far lower than what was claimed.

by Jason D. Briggs

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