Trucks & SUVs

Are Ford’s Giant Discounts on Its Most Problematic SUV Worth the Trouble?

How much will it take for drivers to dismiss the 2020-2021 Ford Explorer’s infamous problems? Ford must believe the answer is $5,500.

The American automaker has recently used tremendous discounts and flashy gimmicks to help sell the Explorer. This three-row SUV could use some positive PR after a tumultuous year. And while temporary, Ford’s latest markdown and incentives could help reignite interest in the once-heralded model.

Just how impressive are the Explorer’s discounts? We’ll break down the latest Ford deals, where you can find them, and how long they’ll last. Additionally, we’ll analyze the 2020-2021 Ford Explorer’s most significant issues, so you can determine if buying this SUV for less is worth the hassle.

Why should you be concerned about buying a 2020-2021 Ford Explorer?

A silver 2021 Ford Explorer with a bag mounted on its roof rack driving down a dirt road
The 2021 Ford Explorer in action | Photo via Ford

This midsize SUV suffers from a myriad of problems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled the 2020 Explorer 10 times. 

Most of these issues will likely have already been remedied by the dealer or manufacturer before you purchase a new model. However, drivers may not have very much confidence in this vehicle’s dependability due to its sheer amount of issues.

This reasoning is a significant factor in why Consumer Reports gave the Explorer a 1% rating in predicted reliability.

Here’s why you may still want to consider buying this SUV

The 2020-2021 Ford Explorer isn’t perfect, but it has its bright spots. For instance, it features one of the most potent powertrain lineups in its class.

A 400-hp twin-turbo V6 engine powers the performance-focused Explorer ST. This model is perfect for anyone who has a strong urge to bring their family SUV to the track. Even the upscale, feature-rich Platinum trim makes 365 hp, helping it to tow up to 5,600 pounds when properly equipped.

Plus, with an impressive list of standard driver-assistance technologies, the Explorer is a considerably safe vehicle. The base model features smart safety systems, such as blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking. Meanwhile, shoppers can add more advanced technologies such as adaptive cruise control and lane centering.

What Explorer deals is Ford currently offering?

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If recalls don’t scare you off, then you may be looking to take advantage of some seriously low prices on 2020-2021 Ford Explorers. However, these deals are only available for a limited time in select markets.

According to Ford Authority, the American automaker is targeting four major U.S. city hubs for its latest offerings. Only shoppers around New York City, Miami, LA, and Detroit can take advantage of these incentives.

New York buyers will reap the most considerable benefits – getting a $5,500 total cash discount on 2020 Explorers. Meanwhile, Ford reduced these savings to $2,500 for LA shoppers. Notably, these areas aren’t receiving access to deals on 2021 Ford Explorer models.

In Miami, you can get a $2,750 total cash discount and 0% APR for 72 months on 2020 Ford Explorers. Alternatively, you could opt-out of the financing incentive to gain an extra $750 discount. Ford is also offering a $1,250 reduction and 1.9% APR for 60 months on 2021 Explorers.

Finally, Detroit drivers can choose between a $2,000 total cash discount on a 2020 Explorer or $1,500 on a 2021 Explorer.

Ford is running these deals through early March 2021, and they are available on Base, XLT, Limited, ST, and Platinum models.

Is Ford’s latest Explorer deal worth the trouble?

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Ford lists the 2021 Explorer’s starting MSRP at $32,225 and the 2020 model at $32,765. So, at its best, this current deal drops the vehicle’s price well below that of the 2021 Kia Telluride – one of the industry’s favorite models.

Kia’s three-row SUV begins at $32,190 – a relatively low price for the class. Most buyers would be better off shopping for a new Telluride, as it comes with a longer warranty and much better predicted reliability scores.

However, if you need a new three-row SUV at a bargain-basement price, then the 2020-2021 Ford Explorer may be your only option. Unfortunately, you’ll have to travel to New York, LA, Miami, or Detroit to get in on this deal. For most drivers, the savings aren’t worth the hassle.