The 2021 Ford Explorer ranks 18 out of 23 Affordable Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Ford Explorer, as well as reliability and safety data.
The 2021 Ford Explorer is ranked:
#18 in Affordable Midsize SUVs
#18 in Affordable SUVs with 3 Rows
#30 in Affordable Crossover SUVs
While the 2021 Ford Explorer has a high-quality cabin, test drivers are let down by its confusing tech features and cramped rear seats.
The 2021 Ford Explorer comes with a V6 engine that critics say provides plenty of power for most driving situations. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is optional on front-wheel drive models, while the Explorer Sport comes with a turbocharged V6 that reviewers praise for its ample power. The EPA reports that the base 2021 Explorer gets 13/27 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class. Four-cylinder Explorer models get 20/28 mpg, which is very good for a three-row SUV. Many test drivers note that the Explorer feels larger and more cumbersome to drive than other SUVs in the class. However, they appreciate its comfortable ride and accurate steering.
Most auto writers say that the 2021 Ford Explorer’s cabin is built with first-rate materials. The Explorer seats seven, or six when equipped with second-row captain’s chairs, and critics report that the second and third rows are fairly cramped. Some also write that wide door sills make entry and exit difficult, while others mention that rearward visibility is poor from the driver’s seat. The Explorer offers a bit less maximum cargo space than many competitors, though some auto writers say that there’s still a useful amount of room behind the third row. Test drivers report that the available MyFord Touch infotainment system has received updates that make it more intuitive, but they note that it can be distracting to use while driving, and that the systems found in most rival SUVs are still easier to use. The 2021 Ford Explorer is available with features like a rearview camera, Ford’s voice-activated Sync system (with Bluetooth and a USB port), the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, proximity key, push-button start, parallel park assist, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and a power liftgate.