Ford Debuts Lower Cost 2021 Explorer ‘Enthusiast ST’ That Drops Some Features: News

You still get the same 400 horsepower engine, but it drops one of the equipment packages

The Enthusiast ST brings the high-performance Explorer to a wider audience by dropping the price from the full-blown model. (Photos: Ford)

Ford announced some changes to the 2021 Explorer lineup Thursday.

The new Ford Explorer is still fresh, so this model year we just expected some trim changes. The most significant change in the lineup is a new variant called the Enthusiast ST. It’s a more affordable way to get into the popular high-power Explorer ST, but at a lower price tag. Specifically, the Explorer Enthusiast ST comes in at $49,995 (including Ford’s $1,245 destination charge). That brings the price down by a substantial $4,080, mainly by way of cutting out some of the arguably unnecessary luxury features that came standard before.

Like the full-on Explorer ST, the Enthusiast ST still packs a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 making 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. That comes paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission, with the added oomph bumping this family hauler’s top speed to 143 mph. It also retains the 5,600-pound towing capacity (when properly equipped with a Class III hitch through the Trailer Tow Package). Dollar for dollar, you aren’t losing any capability to the more expensive ST.

The de-contented Explorer Enthusiast ST loses the standard model’s 401 “High” equipment package. That omits the 12-speaker B&O sound system, wireless charging, Active Park Assist 2.0 and 360-degree camera system. You do still get a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, quad chrome exhaust tips and all the same ST badging.

New Explorer Platinum RWD and hybrid options

It’s not just the ST that gets a less expensive option — so does the top-end Platinum trim. Ford is now including a rear-wheel drive option for the Platinum, so you’ll have the option to skip all-wheel drive if you don’t need it. That brings the price down a bit to $52,480, and also includes the 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6.

Beyond that, $54,330 will get you the Ford Explorer Platinum Hybrid, with a 3.3-liter V6 drivetrain. As you’d expect, this is the most fuel efficient of the bunch, returning 23 City / 26 Highway / 25 Combined mpg according to official EPA figures. Now, you can have the best of both luxury and efficiency, if you have the cash.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST, rear-wheel drive Platinum and Platinum Hybrid will arrive at dealers this summer, joining the recently announced King Ranch trim.