2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV

MSRP $54,740

Ranked #16 in Suv

7.6

Overall Rating

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2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 6, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Ford Explorer is known for its rave happy engine, and the 2021 Ford Explorer ST takes performance even more seriously. ST is the sportier trim for Ford vehicles, and it means better performance and handling. The 2021 Ford Explorer ST has all the practical advantages of a mid-size SUV, and in addition, you get fun driving the SUV for times that you want to enjoy the driving experience. There are no major changes in the 2021 Ford Explorer ST from last year’s model. Ford has only given some minor updates to the 2021 model.

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Pros

Impressive acceleration

Balanced ride and handling

Spacious cargo area

Cons

Lack of good insulation

Mediocre interior quality

Infotainment controls are unintuitive

What's New?

Option for 8-way power-adjustable front passenger seat

No major changes for the ST trim


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$54740

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

6

top speed

143 mph

drivetrain

all wheel drive

engine type

displacement

183 cu.in.

horsepower

400 hp @ 5500 rpm

torque

415 lb.-ft.. @ 3500 rpm

transmission

10 speed Automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

13.6/12.6 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

119.1 in.

length

198.8 in.

width

78.9 in.

height

70.2 in.

curb weight

4701 lbs.

ground clearance

8.2 in.

capacity

passenger volume

152.7 cu ft.

cargo volume

87.8 cu ft.

towing capacity

5600 lbs.

payload capacity

1805 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.6 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

13.9 sec.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

ST$54,740 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV in Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clear Coat color
Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clear Coat

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

7.0

Engine and Performance

7.5

Fuel Economy

4.0

Interior

7.6

Exterior

7.0

Safety

8.0

Competition

9.1

7.6

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.6

Overall Rating


The 2021 Ford Explorer ST is powered by a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 engine that offers good power figures. The engine never hesitates while accelerating and the performance is better than most of the other mid-size SUVs in the segment. The 4WD drivetrain helps the Ford Explorer 2021 instability on all kinds of surfaces, and you get a good balance between ride and handling. 

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV front angle view
2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV rear angle view

7.5/10
Engine and Performance

4.0/10
Fuel Economy

7.6/10
Interior

7.0/10
Exterior

8.0/10
Safety

9.1/10
Competition


2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV Features

The 2021 Ford Explorer ST offers good features for its price and the all-black interior gives a sportier look to it. The standard safety tech offered is also very generous for the segment. The starting MSRP of $52,605 for the sportier ST trim offers good value, considering the performance on offer.

Trim

2021 Ford Explorer ST

MSRP (4WD)

$52,605

Key Features

In addition to Limited 300A

 

20-inch alloy wheels

 

8" SYNC 3 touchscreen for infotainment 

 

Bang & Olufsen audio system

 

Heated seats with 8-way adjustable driver seat

 

Leather upholstery

 

Heated steering wheel with ST badge

 

12.3-inch digital productivity screen

The 12.3-inch digital productivity screen shows all the vehicles related information, and it also offers a decent level of customization. You also get special treatment inside the cabin for ST trim, like the ST badging on the steering wheel.

We recommend

The new Ford Explorer ST has good features on offer as standard. As the ST trim is focused on sportiness and performance, we recommend going for the Agate Black color for the exterior. You can also opt for the XLT Sport Appearance Package to enhance the exterior looks. It includes 20-inch carbonized gray-painted 10-spoke wheels, a gray-painted grille, and other additions to the exterior to enhance the sportiness of the vehicle.

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV Engine and Performance

7.5/10

The 2021 Ford Explorer ST is powered by a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which is the most powerful engine in the line-up. It produces 400 horses’ worth of power and 415 lb-ft of torque. The power is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that is very refined and delivers power to all four wheels. The power delivery is very smooth and the engine is also very refined. The acceleration comes very early and the power band is very wide. The moment you put your foot down on the gas, you can feel a nice surge of power.

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV driving view

The transmission does a great job of keeping the Ford Explorer ST in the right gear at all times. The sound from the exhaust is also sporty and gives good confidence when you push the engine harder. It takes only 5.2 seconds to reach a speed of 60 mph from a standstill, which is very impressive for a mid-size family SUV. 

Models

2021 Ford Explorer ST

2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS

2021 Dodge Durango R/T

MSRP

$52,605

$43,700

$45,305

Engine

3.0L twin-turbocharged V6

3.6L naturally aspirated V6

5.7L naturally aspirated V8 

Drivetrain

4WD

FWD

RWD

Transmission

10-Speed Automatic

9-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

Power (hp @ RPM

400 hp @ 6,000 

310 hp @ 6,800 

360 hp @ 6,000 

Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)

415 lb-ft @ 2,500 

266 lb-ft @ 2,800 

390 lb-ft @ 4,300 

0-60 MPH (seconds)

5.2

6.9

6.7

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

13.8

15.5

15

Top-Speed (MPH)

143

130

145

The 2021 Ford Explorer leaves all the competitors behind when it comes to performance. The 2021 Dodge Durango R/T comes second in the 60 mph run in 6.7 seconds, and the Chevrolet Traverse RS comes last in the comparison taking 6.9 seconds to complete the 60 mph sprint.

How well does the 2021 Ford Explorer ST handle?

The new Ford Explorer ST is the most sporty handling SUV of the Ford Explorer lineup. The bigger wheels and sporty suspension help the 2021 Ford Explorer ST handle well in all driving conditions. The driving dynamics are well thought of, and the steering wheel feels the connected feel while driving. The steering responds accurately to the inputs and changing lanes is very easy for the size.

The ride quality is also well balanced in the 2021 Ford Explorer ST. However, you feel a bit of firmness compared to the standard trims because of the larger wheels and retuned suspension. Still, it manages to deliver a good combination of ride and handling. 

How good is the braking performance of the 2021 Ford Explorer ST?

When it comes to a performance-focused vehicle, brakes play a very crucial role as you need strong brakes to stop the vehicle efficiently in case of an emergency. The Ford Explorer ST is equipped with good braking hardware to take care of the braking in any situation. It uses 13.6-inches rotors for the front wheels and 12.8-inches rotors for the rear wheels. The brakes are able to stop the 2021 Ford Explorer ST from 60 mph in 114 feet. You get nice progressive feedback from the brakes, and predicting the stopping distance is very easy. 

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV brake rotor

Models

2021 Ford Explorer ST

2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS

2021 Dodge Durango R/T

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

13.6

12.6

15.7

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

12.8

12.4

13.8

Curb Weight (lbs)

4,701

4,362 

5,176 

60-0 (feet)

114

127

113 

The 2021 Dodge Durango R/T has a slightly better braking performance compared to the Ford Explorer ST, as it manages to stop from 60 mph one foot earlier. It is worth considering that the Dodge Durango R/T is heavier than the other two vehicles in the comparison here. Dodge manages to achieve better braking performance by using the largest brake rotors compared to the other two. The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS comes last despite being the lightest of the lot. 

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV Fuel Economy

4.0/10

The 2021 Ford Explorer ST delivers very impressive fuel economy for a performance-focused mid-size SUV. It manages to deliver 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and a combined fuel economy of 20 miles per gallon. The economy figures are good for a mid-size SUV that accelerates so well. It gives you a perfect blend of performance and fuel economy. Combine this fuel economy with a fuel tank of 21.8 gallons, and you get a good range for long journeys.

Models

2021 Ford Explorer ST

2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS

2021 Dodge Durango R/T

MPG (City)

18

18

14

MPG (Highway)

24

27

22

MPG (Combined)

20

21

18

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

21.8

19.4

24.6

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

392.4/523.2/436.0

349.2/523.8/407.4

344.4/541.2/442.8 

The bigger engine on the Dodge Durango R/T doesn’t help in fuel economy figures. It delivers the worst fuel economy in comparison, but the biggest fuel tank that can store 24.6 gallons of gas manages to deliver a good range. The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS delivers the best fuel economy for the comparison but the smallest fuel tank takes away from the long-range.

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV Interior

7.6/10

The interior of the Ford Explorer is a decent place compared to the rivals. You get a lot of tech inside the cabin. The space inside the cabin is also very good. It is a mid-size SUV and you never miss on practicality. The first and second rows are very spacious and comfortable for long journeys. However, the third row is not spacious enough for adults as the seats are very close to the floor.

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV front seats

You get ample storage space inside the cabin, and you also have enough ports to charge your devices. The black color in the interior looks good as it adds to the sportier look to the interior. The materials used inside the cabin don’t feel very premium and the competition offers better quality.

Models

2021 Ford Explorer ST

2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS 

2021 Dodge Durango R/T

Seating Capacity

7

7

7

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

40.7/ 61.8/ 43.0

41.3/62.1/41.0

39.9/58.5 /40.3

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

40.5/ 61.9/ 39.0

40.0/62.2/38.4

39.8/57.7/38.6

Third Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.9/ 54.6/ 32.2

38.2/57.5/33.5

37.8/50.4/33.5

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

18.2

23.0

17.2

The 2021 Ford Explorer offers good enough space in the trunk with all the seats in place. Still, the Chevy Traverse RS has better cargo space than the other two mid-size SUVs in the comparison. Here are some of the interior features of the 2021 Ford Explorer ST:

  • Spacious front and second row
  • Good space in the cargo area
  • Ergonomic cabin with easy to use controls
  • 8-way power-adjustable driver seats
  • Leather upholstery
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control

What’s there to keep you entertained in the 2021 Ford Explorer ST?

Ford features an 8" SYNC 3 touchscreen for the infotainment system which sits vertically on the dashboard and feels even bigger in size. You can also go for an optional 10-inch touchscreen system to upgrade the infotainment screen. The screen is very responsive, though there is scope for improvement in the intuitiveness of the screen. You get many connectivity options to stay connected on the go. 

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV infotainment screen

The infotainment system offers connectivity options like WiFi Hotspot connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, and other standard connectivity options. You also get compatibility for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The audio is handled by a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system that is great for listening to music on the go. The screen also supports inbuilt navigation. Here are some of the infotainment features of the Ford Explorer ST:

  • 8" SYNC 3 touchscreen infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto 
  • 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system
  • Inbuilt navigation
  • SiriusXM radio

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV Exterior

7.0/10

The Ford Explorer ST has not changed much from the last year’s model, and the design language remains the same. Still, it looks astonishing from the outside, and it retains the same old road presence. The color options also remain the same and you get the same extra bits for the ST trim. You get an ST badging on the front grille which helps people distinguish that it is the sportier trim. The blacked-out exterior elements also add up to the sportiness from the outside and remain specific to the ST trim.

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV 

Models

2021 Ford Explorer ST

2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS

2021 Dodge Durango R/T

Curb Weight (lb)

4,701

4,362

5,176 

Length (inches)

199.3

204.3

200.0

Width (inches)

78.9

78.6

75.8

Height (inches)

70.2

70.7

70.1

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.3

7.2

8.1

Wheelbase (inches)

119.1

120.9

119.8

The 2021 Ford Explorer ST is the widest car in the comparison and the wheelbase is also at power with the competition. You also get the best ground clearance with the Explorer ST. The 2021 Explorer ST looks beautiful in the Agate Black or the Atlas Blue color like last year’s model. Here are some of the exterior features of the 2021 Ford Explorer ST:

  • 20" alloy wheels with an optional 21” alloy wheels
  • Automatic LED headlights
  • LED Daytime Running Lights
  • Blacked out exterior elements
  • Deep Tinted Glass
  • Speed Sensitive Variable Intermittent Wipers
  • Power Liftgate Rear Cargo Access

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV Safety

8.0/10

The 2021 Ford Explorer ST comes loaded with standard safety tech and features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has rated the 2021 Ford Explorer ST five out of five stars in their crash test ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave the 2021 Explorer a good safety score in all the safety aspects. Ford offers good safety features to all the trims of the Explorer as standard.

The 2021 Ford Explorer ST features advanced driver assistance features like Ford Co-Pilot 360. There are many other safety features and advanced driver assistance features like lane-keeping alert, lane departure warning, Ford Co-Pilot360 - active park assist 2.0 rear parking sensors, and Ford Co-Pilot360 - pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, and Ford co-pilot 360 - reverse brake assist. Here are some of the advanced safety tech offered with the 2021 Ford Explorer ST:

  • Active park assist 2.0 rear parking sensors
  • Pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection
  • Reverse brake assist
  • Standard forward-collision warning
  •  Automated emergency braking
  • Tire pressure monitoring sensor

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV Competition

9.1/10

2021 Ford Explorer ST vs. 2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS

The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS is Chevy’s contender for a performance-oriented mid-size family SUV. Although it offers decent performance and great driving dynamics, it falls behind the Ford Explorer ST when it comes to performance. The Ford Explorer ST offers better ride and handling balance, and the acceleration is also better. The Chevrolet Traverse RS comes at a more affordable price than the Ford Explorer ST, so that is an area where the Chevy goes ahead. Still, the 2021 Ford Explorer ST comes out as a better package between the two.

2021 Chevrolet Traverse RS

2021 Ford Explorer ST vs. 2021 Dodge Durango R/T

The 2021 Dodge Durango R/T offers more space inside the cabin and the cargo area is also better. Durango R/T comes with a bigger 5.7L naturally aspirated V8 engine, but the acceleration is not as good as the Ford Explorer ST as the Dodge is heavier. The Dodge Durango S/T takes the lead in the third-row space and the fact that it comes at an MSRP of $45,305 makes it $7000 cheaper than the 2021 Ford Explorer ST. But when you see a whole package of better performance, better mileage, better ride, and handling, then the 2021 Ford Explorer ST takes the lead by quite a margin.

2021 Dodge Durango R/T

 

2021 Ford Explorer ST SUV Final Verdict

The Ford Explorer ST offers a great package as it delivers both performance and practicality at the same time. The balance between ride and handling is impressive. You get impressive acceleration and good fuel economy. The standard safety tech and features are also offered very well. The cabin is spacious and can easily accommodate your family members. Considering all these factors, the 2021 Ford Explorer ST comes out as a compelling package for the segment.

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