2021 Ford Explorer

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
7 photos

Ford Explorer highlights

Customer rating


  • Quick acceleration from the different engine options
  • Capable rear-wheel-drive platform
  • Plenty of cargo space


  • Lots of wind noise
  • Climate controls take some getting used to
  • Interior materials are disappointing

Mileage (EPA estimate)

16 city, 23 highway, 19 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

7 photos

Plan an adventure with this three-row SUV

Freshly redesigned for the 2020 model year, the 2021 Ford Explorer is a capable three-row SUV with room for your whole crew and power to boot. Plus, the 2021 Explorer is also available as a plug-in hybrid if you're looking for less trips to the pump. An available AWD system lets you choose from seven different traction settings, and the 2021 Ford Explorer is loaded with practical touches, like easy-exit second-row seats and four feet of space between the interior wheel wells.

All Ford Explorer years

What is new for the 2021 Ford Explorer?

  • The Explorer is available in a variety of new trims, including the King Ranch and Timberline.
  • Explorer trims have been upgraded with Leatherette & Cloth as standard equipment this year.
  • The Base trim now comes with Rear Air Conditioning and Satellite Radio Ready as standard equipment.
  • The XLT trim now comes with Front Seat Heaters as standard equipment.

2021 Ford Explorer trims

Curious how Ford Explorer trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities




Limited Hybrid: 



Ford Explorer photos

5 reasons to buy the 2021 Ford Explorer

1. The right engines for the job

2021 Ford Explorer Review: Engine | CarMax

Regardless of what you need or want from a three-row SUV, the 2021 Ford Explorer has the engine and drivetrain to get the job done. The Explorer offers four competent powerplants, like a hybrid 3.3L V6 engine or a heart-thumping, 400-hp turbocharged 3.0L V6. All engines come paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. No matter what you're looking for, the 2021 Ford Explorer has an excellent engine for the task.

2. Capable towing

2021 Ford Explorer Review: Trunk | CarMax

Do you have a boat, trailer, or RV that you enjoy taking out for some weekend fun? The 2021 Ford Explorer has the hauling power for a variety of trailer needs. The standard, turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine on the RWD 2021 Ford Explorer offers an estimated 5,300 lbs of towing capacity, when properly equipped.

 Max out the 2021 Explorer's towing capacity at an estimated 5,600 lbs. with the turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine, when properly equipped.

3. Room for the whole crew

2021 Ford Explorer Review: Third Row | CarMax

Are you taking the soccer team to the game? Or maybe you're looking for a vehicle to take your crew and your pets to a campground, cottage, or resort. No matter who or what you need to carry, the 2021 Ford Explorer has the space and seating you need. There's a whopping 152.7 cubic feet of passenger volume—plenty of room for the seven people the Explorer seats. Toss your luggage into the 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, and away you go.

4. Lots of configurable space

2021 Ford Explorer Review: Cell | CarMax

The 2021 Ford Explorer boasts an interior that can adjust to your storage needs. The easy-folding second- and third-row seating can be configured several dozen ways. If you're picking up something long, short, wide, or tall, the interior of the 2021 Ford Explorer offers plenty of room. Fold down all the seats for an impressive 87.8 cubic feet of cargo volume. There are also four feet of space between the interior wheel wells, which means common construction materials will lay flat.

5. Modern technology

2021 Ford Explorer Review: Dashboard | CarMax

If the latest in driver-assistance and infotainment technology is one of your must-haves, you'll love the 2021 Ford Explorer. An optional tablet-like 10.1-inch touchscreen takes center stage on the console. A wireless charging pad cuts down on wires and keeps your devices powered. An available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is standard on all 2021 Ford Explorers and supports up to 10 devices.

You can start your 2021 Explorer remotely, or right from your smartphone.

Similar vehicles

If you're interested in the 2021 Ford Explorer, you should also check out these similar vehicles from Previous generation years.

Image of Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2017-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is well-suited for zipping the family around town, on long trips out of the city, or taking the grandkids to the campsite. A powerful 3.3L V6 has all the grunt for fun weekends away as well as more practical errands. In addition, an available AWD system improves grip by intelligently putting power to the wheel with the most grip. In corners, it gently applies the brakes to the inside wheels, improving turning performance.

Standard equipment in a 2017-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe include:

  • A five-inch touchscreen and a rearview camera

  • YES Essentials stain-resistant cloth seats

  • LED running lights and taillights

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

Above Average

RepairPal gave the Ford Explorer an overall reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Above Average. This rating ranks Ford Explorer 23rd out of 32 among Midsize SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer features and specs

Platinum 2WD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • 20 Inch Plus Wheels
  • A/C Seat(s)
  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Automated Parking
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bang & Olufsen Audio
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Cruise Control
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Leather Seats
  • Memory Seat(s)
  • Navigation System
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Parking Sensors
  • Power Folding Third Row
  • Power Hatch/Deck Lid
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Air Conditioning
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear Seat Heaters
  • Rear Sunshade
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Sync System
  • Third Row Seat
  • Tow Hitch
  • Traction Control
  • Turbo Charged Engine
  • Full Roof Rack
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Quad Seats
  • Rear Entertainment System
  • Running Boards
  • Seat Massagers

Drive Wheels

Rear Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type

Turbo Gas

Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 43"/M 39"/R 32.2"

Head room

F 40.7"/M 40.5"/R 38.9"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity


Max towing capacity

530/5300 lbs.



2021 Ford Explorer FAQ

More about the 2021 Ford Explorer

Color options

Exterior colors:

  • Agate Black

  • Atlas Blue

  • Carbonized Gray

  • Iconic Silver

  • Infinite Blue Metallic Tinted Clearcoat

  • Oxford White

  • Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat

  • Star White Metallic Tri-coat

  • Stone Gray

Interior details

  • 18.2 cubic feet of trunk space

  • Seven-passenger seating

  • Three-passenger third-row bench

  • Optional 10.1-inch touchscreen

  • Dual USB charge ports in the second row

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