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2021 Ford Explorer SUV Consumer Reviews

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Pros
Cons
3 out of 5 stars

Great features but build quality is lacking

Sawgrass Road Ranger, 02/12/2021
Limited 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A)
26 of 27 people found this review helpful

As someone who has driven a 2020 Dodge Durango, GMC Acadia and the Ford Explorer over the past year, I got a pretty good comparison between the different models. The Ford Explorer just reached 30,000 miles around a month ago. First the good. I think the Explorer handles nice, the Ecoboost 2.3L engine gives you enough power and the fuel economy was pretty good, I averaged around 26Mpg on the highway cruising around 75Mph. I think Ford is definitely ahead both GM and FCA in technology and features. The LED headlights were great, the Adaptive Cruise with Lane Keeping Assist keep the vehicle in the lane and a comfortable distance from cars ahead. I really like the Auto Hold feature which holds the brake pedal at stop lights, the kick to open tailgate I used quite a bit, the ambient lighting was a nice feature. Overall, the vehicle is definitely well thought out with nice technology features throughout. Now for the bad. There is little mystery that Ford was having major quality control issues building this vehicle, with significant numbers requiring rework at their IL plant. This vehicle is a all new design and we all know cars are known to have issues in the first couple of years of a new model. Mine was no exception. I had random gremlins pop up on the vehicle. Here is the list: Auto Hold would fault out at random. It would then recover on its own with no explanation. The backup camera started working intermittently, then mostly not working at all. The camera quality is definitely poor, especially at night. I could barely see my driveway at night when backing up when it was working. It was so snowy and grainy at night it was practically unusable. The GPS on the car would randomly stop working. Looking at built in Navigation system, it was comical seeing that I was driving over water and out to see or into the Everglades. I just got used to seeing a GPS with a Red circle and a line through it at random. I have always been neutral on the SYNC system Ford uses in their vehicles. It was never stellar but never bothered me much either. This one uses SYNC Version 3. This one however is painfully slow. I'm not talking about nit picky slow. I'm talking sloooooooow. Countless times I had started the car and left the parking lot, and was literally driving down the road, and the system was still booting up. It is obvious the system CPU is completely inadequate to run this system. Bluetooth system. Since travel a lot on the road, I transition in and out of the car on the phone a lot. The Bluetooth on this car would most of the time pick up the call and transfer it to the car system, but you had no audio. You would have to disconnect and then reconnect the call most of the time. It was clunky, unreliable and frustrating. Compare than to the GM cars I have driven, and the Bluetooth transfers calls seamlessly, every time. And now the worst part. The 10 speed transmission on the Explorer is brand new and untested. I thought it was a bit busy but mostly competent, although a tad sluggish and reluctant to up shift in Normal mode. Its main function in life is to keep the fuel economy respectable, and it accomplishes that. It has one major problem however. It is notoriously unreliable. The transmission on my car started making grinding and howling noises around 27,000 miles. Mostly in the lower gears, 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The problem got progressively worse over the next 3000 miles. At around 30,000 miles on a chilly day (upper 30's), the car gave me a Transmission Fault and refused to go into gear. It eventually recovered after I let the engine run and drove with its usual noises. I drove it another 300 miles or so and it got progressively worse until it sounded like metal crunching and was dropping out of gear and slipping. It basically had a complete transmission failure at 30,000 miles. Since this vehicle was a company issue and I would have swapped it out at around 36k miles, I ended up switching early to another vehicle. So, I just wanted share my experience with it here. I drive mostly highway miles and the miles reflected about a year worth of driving. My personal opinion is that the transmission would have lasted fewer miles in typical city driving and I never towed anything with the vehicle and it mostly carried only myself on board, so minimal passenger load. I hope Ford figures out the issues, especially the transmission problem. Until they do, I can't recommend anyone buying this vehicle or owning it out of warranty. These transmission issues are common and well known. Hope this helps for anyone considering putting this vehicle on their shopping list.

Safety
4 out of 5 stars
Technology
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Interior
4 out of 5 stars
Comfort
4 out of 5 stars
Reliability
1 out of 5 stars
Value
4 out of 5 stars
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1 out of 5 stars

Serious issues

Jarrod , 02/22/2021
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A)
136 of 148 people found this review helpful

Hit 660 miles Feb 9th, check engine light comes on with every warning the truck could possibly give. Grinding noise, steering wheel shaking and lost all acceleration. Coasted to almost stop and truck abruptly stops and completely shuts off. Will not restart. Towed to dealer they couldn't find anything wrong. Hit 890 miles today and boom exact same issues. Recorded it this time. Truck towed to different dealer due to where it broke down. Not happy

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1 out of 5 stars

Nightmare

Shadi s, 01/25/2021
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 10A)
130 of 149 people found this review helpful

Brand new 2021 limited explorer out of commission with less than 200miles😩 car says overheating won’t drive.. take it to Ford dealer they tell the tow truck they have no space😡 so they sell the vehicles but don’t want to service them... they blamed COVID

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2 out of 5 stars

Explorer ST-Good for cops but not the public.

JayC, 05/04/2021
ST 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 10A)
43 of 51 people found this review helpful

Your money would be spent better elsewhere. The electronics are horrible in this. The radio stations don't change and lock up all the time and Sync is slow and sporatic. You listen and do what Ford wants, not what you want. The vehicle hits the brakes all the time when backing without a soul around. The ride is absolutely terrible here in Michigan-you feel every expansion joint and every bump and then some in this. I watch my passengers shake while driving. Not a long hauler or daily driver. This family vehicle is begging for some kind of ride control. It's embarrassing having spent so much for this. The plastic trim is coming off around the wheel wells and isn't painted without an option to paint. The street pack 21s are too big for this vehicle-too much unsprung weight. The power is there though. It is a strong puller but you pay at all the pumps. Don't even think of getting 20mpg to the gallon. Not happening. Try 17-18 driving mellow. The seats are not sporty and there's very little bolster support. Steering feels very heavy. Wind and road noise are there, not overwhelming but there. Cheap plastic interior abounds. B & O stereo is good though but not liking the non-integrated ipad someone just threw in there which doesn't work well at all. The HVAC and wipers work well if the electrical is working. Lots of space to put spare parts. Been in for repairs for electronic and tranny related issues. Fingers crossed.

Safety
5 out of 5 stars
Technology
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Interior
2 out of 5 stars
Comfort
1 out of 5 stars
Reliability
1 out of 5 stars
Value
2 out of 5 stars
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5 out of 5 stars

Pilot or Explorer

Rick Bernard, 12/17/2020
ST 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 10A)
58 of 70 people found this review helpful

Had a 2019 Honda Touring awd. Traded on Explorer ST awd In comparison the Explorer has a more stylish interior, more room, better seating, better backup camera, auto hold brakes, way better stereo, Fords Auto adaptive cruise control will bring you to a stop. Honda disengages at 20mph. Explorer looks mean on outside blacked out. paid 10,000 more but have 400hp and everything I described. The ST wont disappoint. What I dont like us the lack of gauges displayed in the digital dash. no oil, volts, trans temp only in tow mode. no launch control.

Safety
5 out of 5 stars
Technology
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Interior
5 out of 5 stars
Comfort
5 out of 5 stars
Value
5 out of 5 stars
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