The gatekeepers at the Ford Motor Company have graciously decided to lower the barrier of entry to performance-oriented 2021 Explorer ST. Dubbed the Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST, the new trim delivers the same underhood goods as the regular all-wheel-drive ST in a cheaper, rear-drive package. It sounds like a win to us, even if Ford’s decision to forgo the EnthusiaST name is an SUV-sized missed opportunity.
Punny naming schemes aside, the Explorer Enthusiast ST is a solid value—at least on paper. The standard Explorer ST starts at $54,075, and the Enthusiast ST knocks more than $4,000 off that number, with a starting sum of $49,995. That price includes the same turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 from the all-wheel-drive Explorer ST, which continues to pump out 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. The top speed is 143 mph (something only those who live near a race track ought to care about).
The exterior of the Explorer Enthusiast ST is a spitting image of the Explorer ST. This includes everything from its aggressive front and rear fascias to its ST badging to the quad exhaust tips. The Explorer Enthusiast ST also includes Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 driver assist tech (blind-spot detection, lane keeping assist, automatic headlamps with automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and more), while the interior is trimmed in leather, and includes kit such as a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and heated steering (with ST logos on it).
The Enthusiast ST isn’t the only late addition to the 2021 Explorer line, as the Explorer Platinum trim also gets a few powertrain additions, including rear-drive and gasoline-electric hybrid options. Opt for a hybrid Explorer Platinum and plan on dropping $53,085. The gas-powered rear-drive Explorer Platinum, meanwhile, starts at $52,480.
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