The most expensive version of the 2021 Ford Explorer three-row SUV now comes with more accessible variants, Ford announced on Thursday.
The performance-oriented Ford Explorer ST that launched in 2020 gets a new entry point with the Explorer Enthusiast ST. It uses the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that makes 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque (on 93 octane gas) as the regular ST, but costs $49,995 including a $1,245 destination fee. That's $4,080 cheaper than the Explorer ST.
It comes with the same 10-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel drive and a tow package with a capacity of 5,600 pounds. The Enthusiast ST has quad chrome exhaust tips, 20-inch aluminum wheels, and side mirrors with projection lights. The inside has leather seats, silver accent stitching, a heated steering wheel, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
It lacks the power side mirrors of the ST, the Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker sound system, and the heated bucket seats in the second row. However, it comes with the suite of driver-assist systems Ford calls Co-Pilot360 that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, automatic high beams, and a rearview camera with a built-in lens washer.
Additionally, the top Platinum trim can now be had with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Last year, it only came with all-wheel drive. The rear-wheel-drive Platinum is $2,000 less at $53,725.
2021 Ford Explorer Platinum Hybrid
Also, for the first time, the Platinum trim can be had as a hybrid in rear-wheel drive only. It uses a 3.3-liter V-6 with an electric motor and 1.5-kwh battery pack that combine to make 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque. At $54,330, the hybrid is only $605 more than the Platinum RWD. Other Explorer Hybrids with rear-wheel drive have an EPA rating of 27 mpg city, 29 highway, 28 combined. Non-hybrids with a turbo-4 get 24 mpg combined.
This is the second time Ford has significantly adjusted pricing downward on the Explorer, which was redesigned for 2020 and had prices reaching nearly $60,000. Last year, Ford shaved about $3,000 off the 2021 Explorer to better compete in a cutthroat class where every automaker has a three-row SUV, and some such as Kia, GM, and Ford have two.
The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST, Platinum RWD, and Platinum Hybrid go on sale this summer.