Consumer Reports Recommends Avoiding the 2021 Ford Explorer

Ouch, that’s gotta hurt! The 2021 Ford Explorer is having a pretty rough time because Consumer Reports recommends avoiding it for other SUVs. But now we’re winding if the Ford Explorer is really that bad. 

Consumer Reports doesn’t back the 2021 Ford Explorer 

A blue 2021 Ford Explorer ST parked in the city
2021 Ford Explorer ST | Ford

According to Consumer Reports, it’s best to avoid the 2021 Ford Explorer for other SUV options. Despite its recent redesign, Consumer Reports classifies the Explorer as a middling SUV in a category with strong competitors. For example, the 2021 Kia Telluride and 2021 Mazda CX-9 are listed as options to buy instead. 

The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque seemed to have rough shifts during testing. The powertrain is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Also, the ride was stiff and less compliant compared to rivals. 

Consumer Reports also noted that the Explorer has a disappointing fuel economy. It gets an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and up to 24 mpg on the highway. The Ford Explorer Hybrid model ups these figures to 27 and 28 mpg. 

On a positive note, the Explorer has a spacious and quiet cabin with agile handling. Plus, tons of safety features come standard. But its below-average reliability score can’t be ignored. 

How reliable is the Explorer? 

The 2021 Ford Explorer has a predicted reliability rating of one out of five. That’s well below average. This rating is based on how vehicles performed in the past to indicate how they’ll hold up in the future. 

Consumer Reports gathers data from actual owners through surveys sent out to subscribers. The surveys include 17 potential trouble spots ranging from the transmission, engine, breaks, and power equipment for owners to report. 

Based on this info, 2016, 2017, and 2020 models have the most issues reported. The main problems seem to be with the transmission, brakes, engine, paint, power equipment, and in-car electronics. The data for the 2021 model hasn’t arrived, so we aren’t sure if these problems have improved. 

The 2021 Explorer has had two recalls. One was for the improper deployment of the side airbag, and the other was for a loose motor mount that may cause the axle to disconnect from the engine. So, these problems were likely remedied. 

The Explorer has a low satisfaction rating 

2021 Ford Explorer
2021 Ford Explorer interior | Ford

Will the 2022 Ford Explorer Timberline Prevent Declining Sales?

To make matters worse, the 2021 Ford Explorer has a low owner satisfaction rating. It scored a three out of five. It only got a 34 out of 100 in the value category. This means that most owners felt like they didn’t get what they wanted relative to the price they paid. 

It received 75/100 for comfort, including the seats, climate, control, noise, and ride. Also, it got a 79/100 for the driving experience that includes acceleration and handling. But these factors didn’t improve the Explorer’s overall score of 42 by much. 

But the 2021 Ford Explorer is still worth considering. It may have corrected the issues reported on previous models. We suggest taking one for a test drive to see how it feels against more popular competitors.