2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid

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  • Overview

    A white 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid is angled left.

    Hybrids are widely popular among drivers for a variety of reasons. Some drivers prefer to drive more environmentally friendly vehicles than gasoline or diesel-powered options, while others simply enjoy reaping the benefits of the hybrid’s impressive fuel economy. After all, hybrids are known for traversing an impressive number of miles long before it’s ever time to refill the tank. So, is that the case for the new 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid?

    The Explorer is one of Ford’s best-selling SUVs and has been since its introduction in the early 1990s when it replaced the unpopular Bronco II. The first-generation Explorer shared many similarities with the Bronco II but, unlike its predecessor, made a lasting impression thanks to its more versatile four-door configuration. This was exactly what drivers were looking for, and the Explorer quickly became the SUV of choice among loyal Ford customers.

    Fast forward three decades and Ford has assured the world of its commitment to offering the latest in technology and powertrains with the introduction of the 2020 Explorer Hybrid. With the new hybrid SUV earning high praise, Ford changed very little for the 2021 model. Here’s a closer look at the 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid’s performance, technology, and safety features that set it apart from its hybrid competitors.

    27 / 28

    Fuel Economy (city / hwy mpg)

    318

    Horsepower (hp)

    87.7

    Cargo Space (cu.ft.)

    Starting at

    $49,855

  • Performance

    A white 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid is shown parked next to a family eating on the pier.

    The 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid comes with a 3.3-liter V6 engine under the hood. The engine is paired with a 1.5-kWh battery and a 35-kW electric motor with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Like the gasoline-powered Explorer, the Explorer Hybrid comes with standard rear-wheel drive and has the option of all-wheel drive. Choosing all-wheel drive reduces fuel efficiency slightly but provides greater traction and helps deliver more power since all four tires work to move the car forward. 

    Power

    The hybrid powertrain delivers a combined 318 horsepower and 322 lb-ft of torque, putting it slightly ahead of the 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque found in the standard gasoline Explorer. The engine automatically works in the most efficient mode, utilizing the battery at lower speeds like in parking lots or city streets and the gasoline engine at higher speeds like on the highway. Drivers can also select between Normal, Sport, Eco, Slippery, and Tow/Haul modes to improve performance, handling, and traction in various conditions.

    Towing

    Thanks to its powertrain, the 2021 Explorer Hybrid is the only hybrid in its class that can tow 5,000 lbs. This is impressive since standard, non-hybrid Explorers have a maximum towing capacity of 5,600 lbs. With other hybrid SUVs like the Toyota Highlander pulling a maximum of 3,500 lbs, the Explorer Hybrid is undoubtedly the best in its class if you want to be able to hitch a trailer to your SUV. It even includes the Pro Trailer Backup Assist system from the Ford F-Series trucks!

  • Technology

    A close up is shown of the mirror and blind spot monitoring icon on a 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid.

    Technology is at the forefront of the 2021 Explorer Hybrid and extends from connectivity to the suite of safety features known as Ford’s Co-Pilot 360. The 8-inch touchscreen in the center dashboard is the hub of connectivity, and the Explorer comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The vehicle also features FordPass Connect and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that ensures drivers are connected wherever their adventure takes them. Additional technology includes access to SiriusXM Satellite Radio, SYNC 3 with an optional voice-activated touchscreen navigation system, and an impressive Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker sound system. 

    Driver-Assist Safety Features

    The most notable technology features are found in Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 suite. The first feature in the suite is automatic high-beam headlamps that detect low visibility conditions and automatically adjust the headlamps. The technology is also designed to sense oncoming traffic and automatically dims the headlamps when needed so as not to blind other drivers. This ensures the driver can keep his or her hands on the wheel without worrying about turning the high beams on and off as needed.

    The Co-Pilot suite also features a Lane-Keeping System that ensures drivers stay in their lane by detecting when the vehicle drifts out of its lane without the use of a turn signal. If the vehicle drifts out of its lane repeatedly, the technology alerts the drivers with an icon that it might be time for a break from behind the wheel. The hybrid also has Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, which is an upgrade on standard Explorers. This technology is truly impressive that slows the vehicle when it detects traffic ahead has slowed or stopped and even includes Speed Sign Recognition.

    Blind Spot Warnings and Automatic Braking

    The hybrid also includes a rear-view camera that gives drivers a clear view of the environment behind the vehicle when in reverse. Ford takes this technology a step further by adding a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross-Traffic Alert. This alerts drivers to vehicles in the blind spots and, when in reverse, the presence of cross-traffic that can potentially lead to a collision.

    Since the Explorer Hybrid offers the best towing ability in its class, it’s no surprise Ford enhanced the BLIS with Trailer Coverage. This gives drivers greater confidence when towing heavy loads since changing lanes can be extremely tricky with limited visibility. The BLIS alerts drivers to blind spots not only around the vehicle but also around the trailer. 

    Another feature is Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, which scans the road and alerts drivers to pedestrians or vehicles. To prevent potential collisions, the feature alerts the driver with a warning and an audible sound while pre-charging the brakes to ensure the vehicle can stop quickly.

    SYNC 3 and Alexa

    Last in Ford’s technology suite is Ford+Alexa. Ford does everything possible to ensure drivers remain connected when they’re behind the wheel, which is why they introduced Alexa to the lineup. The SYNC 3 technology now features Amazon’s Alexa, which allows drivers to utilize the app to access navigation, Amazon shopping, traffic and weather data, and much more. Drivers can even connect the vehicle to their smart-home devices.

  • Luxury

    A 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid is shown with a woman driving in the tan interior.

    Aside from its performance and technology, the 2021 Explorer Hybrid is also popular because of its plush interior. Since the hybrid is only available in the Limited trim option, the vehicle comes with plenty of luxury, beginning with heated and ventilated leather seats. The interior also features a tri-zone electronic automatic temperature control that ensures the driver and passengers are all comfortable regardless of the temperature outside.

    Convenience Features

    Other features that add comfort and luxury to the hybrid include a heated steering wheel to ensure the driver’s hands stay warm even in the coldest temperatures. The hybrid also comes with a wireless charging pad, multiple USB ports, an integrated key fob, and Intelligent Access with push-button start that makes starting the hybrid easier than ever. Additional amenities include a universal garage door opener, remote start, power windows and doors, ambient lighting, and second-row sun blinds. Drivers can upgrade to a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel as well as a twin-panel moonroof that brings the outdoors into the cabin by giving the driver and passengers a view of the sky above.

    Flexible Seating

    The Limited’s interior configuration adds comfort to the Explorer with standard second-row captain’s chairs or bucket seats. The captain’s chairs even feature power-assist fold and E-Z Entry technology with a console that ensures passengers in the second row have plenty of space to store their drinks, snacks, and gear. The third-row seat is a standard 50/50 manual split-fold bench seat that can be upgraded to a Power-Fold third-row that gives drivers the option of fitting seven people or extra cargo when, at the push of a button, the seat folds down. This makes hauling both passengers and cargo incredibly easy!

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