2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST – More For Less

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
2021 ford explorer enthusiast st more for less

The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST has the same 3.0-liter, 400 horsepower EcoBoost engine, with 415 lb-ft of torque, just like the Explorer ST. What it also has is a lower starting price, $49,995.

Ford made this happen was by creating a new Standard Equipment Group for the ST, combining the engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and sport-tuned suspension. 143 MPH is where the Enthusiast ST tops out, faster than any at this price. Also standard is a trailer towing package good to 5,600 pounds, neither of which we could test.

The Explorer Enthusiast ST has leather seats, a digital dash cluster, and a heated sports-style steering wheel. ST logos on the seats and the steering wheel are included at no extra cost, along with chrome exhaust tips, 20-inch wheels, and sideview mirrors with ST lamps. Ford ‘who’s my’ Co-Pilot360 technology provides blind spot information, cross-traffic alerts, and a keep-it-in-your lane nanny. Flush tech goodness, you get hill start assist, auto headlamps that’ll still blind oncoming traffic, and emergency braking that detects pedestrians even before they decide to cross the street.

Then there’s forward collision warning, and post-impact braking. Post-impact braking senses when to hit the binders hard. Rear-ended on I-880 in the Bay Area years ago, I had room in front of me to allow my car to roll forward. It wasn’t until I was about to hit the car in front of me that I applied the brakes. Why forward collision warning, versus a rearward warning that another car is about to hit you? Wouldn’t it be better if it judged the approaching speed of another vehicle and the distance between yours and theirs?

Ford has two more models, the Platinum with the same engine and rear-wheel-drive, and a Platinum Hybrid. The Platinum RWD is a bargain if you don’t need 4WD, although Ford didn’t give us this price. They did say the full hybrid-electric Platinum Hybrid starts at $53,085.

All three new models, the Enthusiast ST, Platinum RWD, and Platinum Hybrid, can be ordered now. Why wait until deliveries begin this summer?

[Image: Ford]

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2 of 24 comments
  • EBFlex EBFlex on Apr 09, 2021

    It’s a shame that, instead of addressing the major quality issues that continue to plague the absolute garbage vehicles that come out of Chicago, Ford slightly decontents a Explorer Sanitary Towel and sells it as some sort of amazing value that’s still over $50k. This company is a ship without a rudder. For $50-$55k you can get far more capable and reliable vehicles. Heck for LESS you can get far higher quality and far more reliable vehicles with more options to boot (Telluride/Palisade).

  • Petey Petey on Apr 12, 2021

    These things aren't supposed to be "fun", they re just "Funner." What i mean by that, is they re funner then whatever else you were going to buy. Such as a sienna, pilot, or acadia. Hell yeah id take the twin turbos and sport suspension tuning over the alternatives. If i was looking for "funner."

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂