There is no denying the fact that Americans love SUVs. For whatever reason, we just can’t seem to get enough of the hulking family haulers here in the States. And when it comes to SUVs, none have ever been as popular as the Ford Explorer. For the 2021 model year, the Blue Oval has decided to create a trio of new offerings aimed at the value-minded customer. Highlighting the group of new offerings is the all-new 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST. With all of the visual and performance tweaks of the full-blown Explorer ST, this new entry level model could prove rather enticing for customers. Here’s what you need to know:
The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST is the new base package within the Explorer ST lineup, ringing in at just $48,750. Despite being significantly cheaper than its sibling, this performance SUV is skimping on content by any means. Under the hood drivers will find the same 3.0L EcoBoost V6 as the Explorer ST, making an equal 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. That engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The suspension is also borrowed from the more expensive ST, as are the upgraded front and rear fascias. In fact, the only things the Explorer Enthusiast ST really lacks compared to the Explorer ST are power side mirrors, heated second row bucket seats, and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. Furthermore, the Trailer Tow Package is standard on the Enthusiast ST model, bringing towing capability of up to 5,600 pounds.
Inside the 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST customers will find ST-badged leather seats with perforated inserts, a heated sport-style steering wheel with paddle shifters, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Not a dramatic downgrade from the more expensive ST model, which is clearly Ford’s plan. Considering how popular the ST model has become, we’re not surprised to see the automaker move it down market slightly with a new trim offering.
“The market continues to grow for performance SUVs, and the ST currently accounts for nearly 20 percent of sales,” said Ford SUV marketing manager Craig Patterson. “With our new Explorer Enthusiast ST, we’ve made this Explorer performance SUV an even better value for more customers to enjoy, while maintaining the same exterior styling and performance – for an uncompromising, exciting ST driving experience.”
Ford has also debuted a new RWD variant of the Explorer Premium, which was previously only available in AWD configuration. This helps to drive the base price down to $52,480 for folks who don’t need all-weather capabilities. Speaking of the Ford Explorer Premium, the trim level will now also be available as a hybrid for the first time in 2021. This hybrid SUV is slated to start at $53,085.
Ford was clear upon the release of these new Explorer models that these offerings were shaped by customer demand. While this can sometimes lead to bad decisions, it doesn’t appear to be the case this time around. The Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST is particularly interesting, though we still struggle with branding exercise as a whole. All three new Ford Explorer models are available for order through your local dealer now.