The 2021 Ford Explorer Struggles in 3 Key Areas

The 2021 Ford Explorer has arrived with a few significant upgrades. It does seem to be better than the 2020 model. However, the Ford Explorer still has some work to do. If it wants to compete with rivals, improvements need to be made in three areas. 

Is the 2021 Ford Explorer a good SUV? 

Yes, the Ford Explorer is a great SUV. It has plenty of power, an abundance of cargo space, and Edmunds calls it a pleasure to drive. Being called a pleasure to drive may not be the most exciting compliment, but hey, at least they didn’t describe it with a negative. 

What’s new for the 2021 Ford Explorer? Well, a few more convenience features come standard on different trim levels. The XLT now gets heated seats, and the Limited has eight-way power-adjustable front seats. 

2021 Ford Explorer parked
2021 Ford Explorer | Ford

The new Sport Appearance package is now available on the XLT trim and includes 20-inch aluminum wheels that are coated in Carbonized Grey paint, a mesh grille, dual exhaust outlets, faux skid plates, and more. 

Also, you can get started in the 2021 Explorer for about $32,225, making it a competitively priced mid-size SUV with three rows. But before you make your final decision on the Explorer, consider the three areas it struggles with. 

1. The 2021 Explorer doesn’t have the best ride quality 

In the Edmunds review, they mention that the Ford Explorer is loud. It has a lot of wind noise at highway speeds. This can make it frustrating when trying to have conversations. Also, you may have to crank your radio up to hear it. 

2020 Ford Explorer Limited in the wild
2020 Ford Explorer Limited | Ford

RELATED: Consumer Reports Recommends Avoiding the 2020 Ford Explorer

It has a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is pretty good. However, it seems to lag while shifting gears. However, on a positive note, the handling and balance has been dramatically improved with rear-wheel drive. 

Also, the towing stability has been improved as well. When properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 5,300 lb. This is with the 3.6-liter V6 engine that pumps out 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. 

2. The interior is lacking 

This poor interior quality of Ford vehicles is becoming somewhat of a trend. The Bronco and F-150 have complaints about interior comfort as well. Car and Driver mentioned that the interior is a bit cheap with the use of hard plastics and other cheap materials. 

2021 Ford Explorer Interior
2021 Ford Explorer Interior | Ford

Edmunds also noted that the interior is lackluster. It has a mediocre design, which is disappointing for the price. Higher trim levels of the Ford Explorer quickly climb to over $50,000 but don’t have a luxurious interior quality to match. 

3. The third row is tiny 

Part of the Ford Explorers’ appeal is the third-row seat. However, it’s tiny back there. Older children and adults may feel like the seat is too low to be comfortable. Also, Edmunds shared that the seats get progressively less comfortable. 

The middle row seems to be lacking in space compared to rivals. Also, rear door access can be difficult if there isn’t enough space for them to open past the first detent. However, the second-row seats do automatically fold forward with the touch of a button. That’s a convenient feature, but the button access is in the hatch area.