With the recent redesign for the 2020 model year, the three-row Ford Explorer is one of the most up-to-date models in the fast-growing class and surely one of the best picks in the segment. The alternatives include also recently all-new Subaru Ascent, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride as well as popular Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder and Chevy Traverse.
The newest Explorer offers seats for six or seven and strong powertrain range including turbocharged four-cylinder and V-6 units as well as the hybrid option. The model is also attractive from the outside and well-detailed inside the cabin. The interior is also very quiet while the model provides great handling and ride. Ford also equips the Explorer well from the base version and offers various performance upgrades as well as the newest tech and safety systems.
As for the next 2021 Ford Explorer, the changes will be limited to the equipment regrouping and new color options. Ford will likely offer a special edition version and new package options. The plug-in hybrid version released in Europe could arrive in the US as some reports suggest but Ford said previously that PHEV version isn’t planned to be launched in the States at this point. We shouldn’t exclude this version as it will arrive sooner or later.
2021 Ford Explorer: Design
Following the recent redesign, the 2021 Ford Explorer version won’t bring a radical design or styling upgrades and if the PHEV version arrives it will be almost identical to other versions. Ford will likely offer new color options for the fresh Explorer and we should expect new package options or special edition version with unique exterior and interior treatment.
Entering to the six-generation version the Explorer transitioned to the new, rear-wheel-drive-based platform shared with the Lincoln Aviator. Thanks to the lightweight CD6 architecture the new Explore is about 200 pounds lighter while riding on the 7 inches longer wheelbase and has 198.8 inches in length. The new platform makes it drive better as well and allows electrification of the powertrains.
From the visual point of view, the Explorer will continue unchanged to the new model year. The newest generation Explorer isn’t much different visually and in shape compared to the previous version but more chiseled body lines and new front and rear fascias make it more modern.
Inside the cabin, the Explorer will return in the same form introduced with the recent redesign. The model will provide up to 87.5 cubic feet of the cargo storage or 18.7 cubic feet behind the rear row. All versions will come well-equipped and buyers will have various upgrades at disposal.
The base Explore will come standard with the 18-inch wheels, LED lights, dual-zone climatic control, a power liftgate, 8-way power driver’s seat, soft door panels and dash padding, cloth upholstery, etc. The standard equipment will also include driver information display, an 8-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi hotspot, satellite radio, six speakers, etc. There will also be Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite with systems such as lane departure warning and mitigation, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams.
Moving to the upper trim, the model will add keyless entry and ignition, upgraded upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, etc. There will also be options like the LED fog lights, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistant, navigation and more.
The top grades will switch to the leather upholstery and larger 20- or 21-inch wheels adding also heated and ventilated seats, ambient interior lighting, digital instrument panel and more. The options will also include a 10.1-inch touchscreen, massaging front seats, Bang & Olufsen sound system, etc.
2021 Ford Explorer: Powertrains
The 2021 Ford Explorer will repeat the powertrain options from the current version while some sources claim that plug-in hybrid version could appear.
The base Explorer will be powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine combined with the 10-speed automatic transmission used on all versions. There will be the rear- and all-wheel drive options and available power of 300 hp with 310 pound-feet of torque.
The hybrid version will use a 3.3-liter non-turbo V-6 combined with the modular 10-speed automatic transmission and 44-hp electric motor. The total output is 318 hp and torque of 322 pound-feet.
Buyers will also have a chance to opt for the high-performance Explorer with the 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 engine under the hood. In one application this engine will provide 400 hp and 415 pound-feet of torque. A detuned version will deliver 365 hp and 380 pound-feet for torque.
The possible PHEV version should use a similar setup as the model available in Europe. A 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 engine combined with 99-hp electric motor produces 444 hp and 620 pound-feet of torque.
2021 Ford Explorer: Release, Price
The 2021 Ford Explorer will appear in the later phase of 2020. The model should start from around $36,000 and close to $60, 000 for the best-equipped version. The PHEV would cost even more if appears.