2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST: Silly name signifies more performance for less money

The performance and looks of the Ford Explorer ST can now be enjoyed for less money thanks to the arrival of a new Explorer Enthusiast ST model.

New for the 2021 model year, the Explorer Enthusiast ST is priced to start at $49,995, including destination, making it over $4,000 cheaper than the regular ST.

You still get the Explorer ST’s sporty looks and 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 rated at 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. You also get a 10-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, and a tow package with a capacity of 5,600 pounds.

2021 Ford Explorer ST

2021 Ford Explorer ST

What you don’t get are some of the Explorer ST’s luxury items, like power side mirrors, heated bucket seats in the second row, and 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.

That doesn’t mean the Explorer Enthusiast ST is completely stripped out. There’s still leather trim, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and 20-inch aluminum wheels. Multiple electronic driver-assist features are also fitted as standard, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot and cross traffic warning, and a rearview camera with built-in lens cleaner.

Ford has made several other additions to the Explorer lineup for 2021. There is a new King Ranch model, which is a first for the Explorer nameplate. There’s also a new XLT Sport Appearance Package.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum Hybrid

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum Hybrid

For buyers after the luxury-oriented Platinum, the addition of a new rear-wheel-drive option helps bring the price down to $53,725. All-wheel drive is still available for about $2,000 extra.

And finally, the Platinum can also be ordered with the Explorer’s hybrid powertrain for the first time. Previously it was only offered with a slightly detuned version of the Explorer ST’s powertrain. The hybrid powertrain pairs a 3.3-liter V-6 with an electric motor for a combined 318 hp and 336 lb-ft of torque, and in the Platinum it is only available with rear-wheel drive. It’s priced to start at $54,330. There aren’t any gas mileage figures but other Explorer models with the same setup return an EPA-rated 27 mpg city, 29 highway and 28 combined.

The new 2021 Explorer models will reach dealerships this summer.

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