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Old 04-10-2021, 05:29 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast St Debuts As New Performance Suv Trim Level



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There is no denying the fact that Americans love SUVs. For whatever reason, we just canít seem to get enough of the hulking family haulers here in the States. And when it comes to SUVs, none have ever been as popular as the Ford Explorer. For the 2021 model year, the Blue Oval has decided to create a trio of new offerings aimed at the value-minded customer. Highlighting the group of new offerings is the all-new 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST. With all of the visual and performance tweaks of the full-blown Explorer ST, this new entry level model could prove rather enticing for customers. Hereís what you need to know:

The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST is the new base package within the Explorer ST lineup, ringing in at just $48,750. Despite being significantly cheaper than its sibling, this performance SUV is skimping on content by any means. Under the hood drivers will find the same 3.0L EcoBoost V6 as the Explorer ST, making an equal 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. That engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The suspension is also borrowed from the more expensive ST, as are the upgraded front and rear fascias. In fact, the only things the Explorer Enthusiast ST really lacks compared to the Explorer ST are power side mirrors, heated second row bucket seats, and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. Furthermore, the Trailer Tow Package is standard on the Enthusiast ST model, bringing towing capability of up to 5,600 pounds.

Inside the 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST customers will find ST-badged leather seats with perforated inserts, a heated sport-style steering wheel with paddle shifters, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Not a dramatic downgrade from the more expensive ST model, which is clearly Fordís plan. Considering how popular the ST model has become, weíre not surprised to see the automaker move it down market slightly with a new trim offering.

ďThe market continues to grow for performance SUVs, and the ST currently accounts for nearly 20 percent of sales,Ē said Ford SUV marketing manager Craig Patterson. ďWith our new Explorer Enthusiast ST, weíve made this Explorer performance SUV an even better value for more customers to enjoy, while maintaining the same exterior styling and performance Ė for an uncompromising, exciting ST driving experience.Ē

Ford has also debuted a new RWD variant of the Explorer Premium, which was previously only available in AWD configuration. This helps to drive the base price down to $52,480 for folks who donít need all-weather capabilities. Speaking of the Ford Explorer Premium, the trim level will now also be available as a hybrid for the first time in 2021. This hybrid SUV is slated to start at $53,085.

Ford was clear upon the release of these new Explorer models that these offerings were shaped by customer demand. While this can sometimes lead to bad decisions, it doesnít appear to be the case this time around. The Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST is particularly interesting, though we still struggle with branding exercise as a whole. All three new Ford Explorer models are available for order through your local dealer now.
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Old 04-10-2021, 05:58 PM   #2
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The market continues to grow for performance SUVs
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But perhaps the biggest change on Forester power is that the turbocharged XT trim is out on the redesigned Forester, meaning that the 250-HP version of the SUV is out.

It was fun while it lasted.
I can't tell what to believe because the manus are trying to either kill the thing or justify the thing and will say just about anything.
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Old 04-11-2021, 04:09 PM   #3
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I can't tell what to believe because the manus are trying to either kill the thing or justify the thing and will say just about anything.
Think its just buyer demographics. Very few people had a want big enough to buy a forester XT and its horsepower was still just adequate, nothing awe inspiring and lack luster handling. The Forester cabin size compared to a vehicle like the Explorer is also vastly different. The Explorer is significantly larger and thus kind of makes it a hard comparison.

These full size Suv's that we are seeing with rather high horsepower numbers are actually rather fun to drive. 400hp / tq in a 3 row SUV that sits relatively low (for an SUV) would still make for a rather fun vehicle. When you start getting into X3M / X5M and Porsche territory, you're getting a capable performance vehicle that can handle the duty of an SUV. Granted, it's not the performance of a performance car, but they are still fun in other ways.

Now, if Subaru were to offer a Forester with the engine, trans and diffs of the STi with some serious off road suspension, that would be worth looking at. However, the market for such a vehicle would be so damn small that it's not worth it.

Think of it this way. When dad and mom are shopping for a vehicle to fit their kids and all their sport gear into, it makes a happy medium to get an SUV that has some solid power behind it. Mom gets the large size similar to a minivan, dad gets something that is moderately fun and not embarrassing to be in. The upper Trim Ford vehicles are also pretty damn nice inside and comfortable to ride in.

My Lariat has been in the shop for nearly 2 months after some kid hit me (parts back ordered) and I have a loaner 2020 Chevy Sierra 1500 (base model im assuming). It's crazy how night and day difference there is in ride quality between the two vehicles. Hell, even my 2017 XLT rode night and day different than this 1500.

Before owning my First Ford (2017 F-150), I never imagined being in a Ford let a lone a large vehicle. Due to the nature of my work, I was more or less forced into buying a truck and I honestly don't think I would ever step out of a Ford / Lincoln SUV or Truck going forward. Only caveat to that would possibly be an X5M or Cayenne.
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Old 04-11-2021, 06:16 PM   #4
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dad gets something that is moderately fun and not embarrassing to be in.
Iíll never understand this. Youíre married, with children. You donít have to be embarrassed about anything. Having your ego in inanimate objects is straight There is nothing embarrassing about a minivan. itís the better vehicle for this kind of duty. Itís the real tool. The SUVís are image fakery. Theyíll never see an inch of dirt. At least the dude rolling the Sienna or Odyssey is real. Fake life is for fake people.
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Old 04-12-2021, 08:50 AM   #5
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I don't like "performance" CUVs/SUVs - I've driven them, they suck and drink fuel waaay too quickly; I'd rather have a people mover and a fun toy.

My wife and I are talking about getting a minivan, truck, a fun toy car and dumping our current cars. Ever since I got rid of the wagon we've been needing more cargo space; two kids & their stuff takes up a lot of room. Her hatch isn't big enough, my trunk isn't big enough. The roof rack and a roof box with decent capacity and/or a receiver, tray & storage bin combo options are very limited as well.

We both hate crossovers, and they are crap compared to a minivan anyways.
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Old 04-12-2021, 09:00 AM   #6
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Iíll never understand this. Youíre married, with children. You donít have to be embarrassed about anything. Having your ego in inanimate objects is straight There is nothing embarrassing about a minivan. itís the better vehicle for this kind of duty. Itís the real tool. The SUVís are image fakery. Theyíll never see an inch of dirt. At least the dude rolling the Sienna or Odyssey is real. Fake life is for fake people.
Eh, the explorer really isnít meant for off road, itís pretty low to the ground. Seems like they used the explorer for the Ford Flex replacement.

And while Iíll agree that the image thing is stupid, you canít ignore itís real. Iíll drive a minivan, no shame. Those chairs are the most comfort seats Iíve driven in. With my first med job Iíd ship my equipment and have to use a minivan to haul between hospitals. Also was ****ing lovely for mid day naps.

But you and I donít care about image and ego with cars. Itís simply a vehicle. But there are way too many men who attach their penis to a vehicle. Hell, even women are becoming ďIím too cool for minivan.Ē
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Old 04-12-2021, 11:02 AM   #7
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Eh, the explorer really isnít meant for off road, itís pretty low to the ground. Seems like they used the explorer for the Ford Flex replacement.
The last FWD based Explorer was essentially a lifted Flex. It kinda explains why the Flex died as it was a duplicate product in their lineup. The Flex was not a minivan substitute that they initially intended. All they did with the new Explorer was create a RWD version to complete with the Durango, another vehicle that is not intended for off-road, despite having a low range option. As for a RWD ST, I see it as an option, just like a RWD Durango with the V8. These are vehicles that replace the big ol' large sedans of the past.
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Old 04-12-2021, 11:34 AM   #8
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I agree with the increase of performance SUV. I picked up a slightly used x3 M40i and I gotta say that it is a BLAST to drive! I think we will definitely see an increase in performance SUVs in the near future. Especially since most companies are using forced induction get meet EPA standards.
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Old 04-12-2021, 12:30 PM   #9
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I agree with the increase of performance SUV. I picked up a slightly used x3 M40i and I gotta say that it is a BLAST to drive! I think we will definitely see an increase in performance SUVs in the near future. Especially since most companies are using forced induction get meet EPA standards.
Those m40i engines respond really well to a simple tune
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:59 PM   #10
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But you and I donít care about image and ego with cars. Itís simply a vehicle. But there are way too many men who attach their penis to a vehicle. Hell, even women are becoming ďIím too cool for minivan.Ē
80-90% of the population. Theyíre f-yards.
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Old 04-12-2021, 03:55 PM   #11
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It's got some orange trim? ARE U ****ING KIDDING ME? WHERE DO I SIGN.

And let's move goalposts. It's what we do here.

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You may not think of an SUV or a hybrid as having quick acceleration, but the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime defies expectations. It achieves the 0 - 60 mph sprint in a mere 5.7 seconds. This is the quickest acceleration time for a four-door Toyota model.
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Old 04-12-2021, 04:12 PM   #12
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When decent cars cost $50,000 and salaries are fairly flat, you're going to see more and more people trying to get a single "do everything" car. I'd much rather have a real performance car and a normal SUV/Truck but that's a lot of cash to have sitting around in depreciating assets. An SUV that doesn't suck to drive makes a lot of sense for a lot of people.
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Old 04-12-2021, 04:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by godfather2112 View Post
Think of it this way. When dad and mom are shopping for a vehicle to fit their kids and all their sport gear into, it makes a happy medium to get an SUV that has some solid power behind it. Mom gets the large size similar to a minivan, dad gets something that is moderately fun and not embarrassing to be in. The upper Trim Ford vehicles are also pretty damn nice inside and comfortable to ride in.



Exact reason why I got the ST. Traded the minivan after the lease was up. Very happy with it.
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Old 04-12-2021, 05:18 PM   #14
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An SUV that doesn't suck to drive makes a lot of sense for a lot of people.
It's impossible to sit that high and have that much weight to turn with and NOT have it suck. That's what I don't get. Once you get to a certain level of compromise, you might as well just give up the ghost entirely and go strictly for practical. That point is definitively before thinking "I need an C/SUV."

SUVs can't be fun if you've ever experienced an actual performance car or any real track time. Except maybe in straight lines. It's ostentatious to have something like a cayenne turbo, or a track hawk, or whatever top tier "performance" SUV, so I more understand that. Flamboyant ego gonna ego. But what's with all these plebs buying middling trims that are just horrendous compromises? Just give it up already.
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Old 04-12-2021, 05:36 PM   #15
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It's impossible to sit that high and have that much weight to turn with and NOT have it suck. That's what I don't get. Once you get to a certain level of compromise, you might as well just give up the ghost entirely and go strictly for practical. That point is definitively before thinking "I need an C/SUV."

SUVs can't be fun if you've ever experienced an actual performance car or any real track time. Except maybe in straight lines. It's ostentatious to have something like a cayenne turbo, or a track hawk, or whatever top tier "performance" SUV, so I more understand that. Flamboyant ego gonna ego. But what's with all these plebs buying middling trims that are just horrendous compromises? Just give it up already.
Weíre not talking about track cars here. Almost anything on the road sucks in comparison to a spec Miata on a track.
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Old 04-12-2021, 05:47 PM   #16
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We're not talking about track cars here. Almost anything on the road sucks in comparison to a spec Miata on a track.
I'm fully aware I have some odd imaginary line in my head where if you can't get something close enough, it's just not worth pursuing any more. I'm not a half-assed attempt kinda guy and I struggle to envision the kind of normie who simultaneously loves cars, but has to settle for sharing a car with his wife/family, but can't manage to just toss in the towel and COMPLETELY settle. Seems like the most nit-picky **** out there.

"No, I'll never give up my sports car!"
"But honey, we NEED a NEW car for our baby!"
"Why don't you get a new car?"
"Because we both po' and don't make enough money for that lul"
"Fine... but it has to be the sportier edition!"

Lolwut? Who likes cars and can't find a will and way to keep at least one proper one around? Some kinda city dweller "we don't have the parking spaces!" garbage... Like I said, if that's the sad reality of your life, just give it up altogether instead of trying to hold onto whatever tiny iota of perceived "manhood" you wish you still had.

Pre has it right. If you're a car person, you buy used and get a whole fleet going for each purpose.
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Old 04-12-2021, 07:18 PM   #17
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I'm fully aware I have some odd imaginary line in my head where if you can't get something close enough, it's just not worth pursuing any more. I'm not a half-assed attempt kinda guy and I struggle to envision the kind of normie who simultaneously loves cars, but has to settle for sharing a car with his wife/family, but can't manage to just toss in the towel and COMPLETELY settle. Seems like the most nit-picky **** out there.

"No, I'll never give up my sports car!"
"But honey, we NEED a NEW car for our baby!"
"Why don't you get a new car?"
"Because we both po' and don't make enough money for that lul"
"Fine... but it has to be the sportier edition!"

Lolwut? Who likes cars and can't find a will and way to keep at least one proper one around? Some kinda city dweller "we don't have the parking spaces!" garbage... Like I said, if that's the sad reality of your life, just give it up altogether instead of trying to hold onto whatever tiny iota of perceived "manhood" you wish you still had.

Pre has it right. If you're a car person, you buy used and get a whole fleet going for each purpose.
I have a similar opinion - My 2006 WRX wagon was my "going from a fun car to a family car that's still fun" it was pretty good at being a fun car, but epic at being practical/family car; it was fun enough, and responded well to modification, while being not too heavy (considering cargo and people capacity).

I tried to do another "one car" situation, juggled with the idea of two vehicles, but after running the numbers decided to do the IS350. It is not fun enough or practical enough, it crosses my "imaginary line" and thus will not be a long term car. IF it were a wagon, several hundred pounds lighter, a manual, or some combination of those things, it would have made the cut, but it's not, and it feels like the wrong combination of not useful enough and not fun enough for me.

I'm looking at a 4dr truck and a toy for fun times, wife is looking at moving up to a minivan from her hatchback as well, even though we only have two kids, my wagon was just the right size for hauling kids & stuff, without it we need something bigger. We both hate CUV's, if we're going to get a soul crushing vehicle, we'd prefer the one with more cargo & people room.

These "performance" CUVs just suck to drive, unless you're comparing them to a garden variety BOF 1/2 ton pickup truck.

drive what you like.
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Old 04-12-2021, 07:53 PM   #18
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I've got a 4Runner for its practicality and my GTI as the sort of fun commuter car. Plus an XJ as my off-roader. My 4Runner($35k) and my GTI($20k) both together new cost about what one of those hideously overpriced Explorer STs(start @$55k) does and they both perform their roles better than the one size fits all Exploder does.

No amount of power in the 4Runner is going to make it fun to drive, it's just not going to happen. If I want to drive like a dick, I'll just take the GTI.
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Old 04-12-2021, 08:24 PM   #19
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Lolwut? Who likes cars and can't find a will and way to keep at least one proper one around? Some kinda city dweller "we don't have the parking spaces!" garbage...
That's basically southern California. I couldn't find a 3 car garage in a house that wasn't a **** hole and in a desireable area of San Diego under $1.5mm last year.

It's very common for people to have a one-trick pony vehicle. Personally, I want an enjoyable daily driver and end up using sports cars like SUVs, so basically the opposite of the sports SUVs.
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Old 04-13-2021, 08:59 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by BeepBoop View Post
It's impossible to sit that high and have that much weight to turn with and NOT have it suck. That's what I don't get. Once you get to a certain level of compromise, you might as well just give up the ghost entirely and go strictly for practical. That point is definitively before thinking "I need an C/SUV."

SUVs can't be fun if you've ever experienced an actual performance car or any real track time. Except maybe in straight lines. It's ostentatious to have something like a cayenne turbo, or a track hawk, or whatever top tier "performance" SUV, so I more understand that. Flamboyant ego gonna ego. But what's with all these plebs buying middling trims that are just horrendous compromises? Just give it up already.
Just curious but have you driven any of the following:

Macan Turbo
Cayenne Turbo
X3 m40i or X3M
X5 M50i or x5m
Jeep SRT
Ford Explorer ST


If you legitimately have not driven a ďperformanceĒ suv, you have 0 room to really give any opinion. If you have driven them, then itís simply not your jam and move on. But for a lot of people, it checks the box when forced to have a single vehicle.
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Old 04-13-2021, 09:51 AM   #21
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I own an X3MC and I'm not going to blow smoke up anyone's ass here as driving a performance SUV is not the same as a sports car. Sitting up high while great on the street for providing a commanding view isn't as ideal on the track. Fortunately few people track their vehicles so this isn't as big a deal. I can't comment on Explorers and Jeeps but the X3M feels just like driving a raised M3. It corners like it's on rails and will outmaneuver most cars easily while leaving them in the dust on straights. It does feel unnatural at first taking corners fast in an SUV but once I got used to it I'm throwing it in corners like I would my old M2 and you can even get the rear wheels to step out. This is my first SUV and I have spent my entire life driving cars so I do miss the feeling of sitting in a low performance car but I feel the X3M is a great compromise as I still get driving thrills but never have to worry about scraping my front end on steep inclines/declines, parking blocks and I can drive it all winter without fear of scraping on snow ruts/banks, etc. Ownership has been by far the most worry free compared to my previous cars because of these factors.
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Old 04-13-2021, 10:28 AM   #22
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If you legitimately have not driven a "performance" suv, you have 0 room to really give any opinion. If you have driven them, then it's simply not your jam and move on. But for a lot of people, it checks the box when forced to have a single vehicle.
I've driven an SRT8 Cherokee, yes. And I've ridden (as a passenger) in that same one plenty of times. Also ridden in a Cayenne a few times (though never in anything more than leisure drive scenarios).

The only time I've ever seen a cayenne even driven in a performance setting is at an SCCA event where it was 1/1 in it's own stock class. It had slicks, was a turbo, and looked... like a ****ing SUV looks when it attempts to drive like a real car... It also turned horrible times (the driver was a good driver strictly doing it for the memes).

They can try, but I personally just wouldn't. "ticking a box" in a long list is not the same thing as having only a few boxes ticked. I hope when I get old, or if I'm forced to reconcile practicality, I have the wherewithal to just give up gracefully instead of kicking and screaming as my dignity is slowly withered away

Last edited by BeepBoop; 04-13-2021 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 04-13-2021, 10:37 AM   #23
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I don't like "performance" CUVs/SUVs - I've driven them, they suck and drink fuel waaay too quickly; I'd rather have a people mover and a fun toy.

My wife and I are talking about getting a minivan, truck, a fun toy car and dumping our current cars. Ever since I got rid of the wagon we've been needing more cargo space; two kids & their stuff takes up a lot of room. Her hatch isn't big enough, my trunk isn't big enough. The roof rack and a roof box with decent capacity and/or a receiver, tray & storage bin combo options are very limited as well.

We both hate crossovers, and they are crap compared to a minivan anyways.
My coworker has three kids of her own, plus the two that came with her new husband. She drives a used Odyssey. Yesterday we were discussing the 2021 Toyota Sienna and how cool it looks and the legit features it has. She's not really into the minivan image, but she concedes it's just the most practical choice when you have FIVE kids. The newest minivans are looking really slick. I'm single with zero kids and I wouldn't have a problem getting a minivan, along with a sports car. The sports car would have to be proper though.

We've already discussed in other threads how some would love a Crosstrek "WRX", but I'm in the camp of "a high-riding CUV/SUV is not a sports car". However, I am happy there are choices for those who want them. They make it possible for the more niche, "impractical", sportier vehicles to exist eventually.

Everyone has different expectations, experiences, and comfort zones that determine what their view of what "sport" actually means. Kind of like how outside of cars if one person isn't used to exercising then the idea of going on a day hike is overwhelming. Whereas the person who goes to the gym every other day might see someone who only goes on day hikes every weekend as only moderately active. I know people who think the Crosstrek is very zippy and the throttle is sensitive. And some on here would try to convince you that if you buy something without a turbo or less than 200whp that you have a death wish. Perspective is everything.

To add to godfather's question to BB, I drove my boss's Cayenne around town once and it was pretty zippy. But I wouldn't say that the Cayenne was sporty.
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Old 04-13-2021, 11:36 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by BeepBoop View Post
I've driven an SRT8 Cherokee, yes. And I've ridden (as a passenger) in that same one plenty of times. Also ridden in a Cayenne a few times (though never in anything more than leisure drive scenarios).

The only time I've ever seen a cayenne even driven in a performance setting is at an SCCA event where it was 1/1 in it's own stock class. It had slicks, was a turbo, and looked... like a ****ing SUV looks when it attempts to drive like a real car... It also turned horrible times (the driver was a good driver strictly doing it for the memes).

They can try, but I personally just wouldn't. "ticking a box" in a long list is not the same thing as having only a few boxes ticked. I hope when I get old, or if I'm forced to reconcile practicality, I have the wherewithal to just give up gracefully instead of kicking and screaming as my dignity is slowly withered away
I kinda feel like youíre missing the point. Most people never see a track in their life. Hell, most people with performance cars never see a track in their life. Not everyone has the finances to afford a family, home, a daily driver and also a fun car. For those people, it makes absolute sense to potentially own a ďperformanceĒ suv. Driving an SUV doesnít have to be boring and there are offerings that make them rather exciting to drive. I donít know why this is unacceptable or stupid for people to want to have.

If weíre going to be brutally honest, a car that sees the track shouldnít be driven on the street. A track car should have a fully welded cage, appropriate suspension, certified race seats and harnesses, a fire suppressant system or extinguisher at a minimum, etc etc.

Itís a rather elitist or at least ignorant view to criticize people who cannot afford multiple purpose vehicles and instead compromise on one that can fulfill most of their wants and needs.

If I didnít have a need for my truck, Iíd likely have an X3MC (maybe a x5mc) and also an M2. Why a ďperformanceĒ suv when I have an M2? Simple. I prefer a larger daily that I can throw stuff in the back but also donít want my daily to be stale and boring.

While I doubt the Escape ST handles all that well, there is still fun to be had with a vehicle that has some power behind it. Hell, look at all the red light racers in their Tesla performance models. Those fools are just WOT pull fan boiís but there is nothing wrong with that. At least not to me.
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Old 04-13-2021, 12:43 PM   #25
cbk57
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I know people buy high performance SUVs, fords marketing department is apparently capable of perceiving that as well so they say we want one too. I still think that they are stupid, a waste of money, and a third best option. If I need an SUV I don:t need or want 400 hp unless I am pulling boats or trailers in which case a diesel is probably a better tool for the job. If I need to haul one or two mor people maybe I would go high performance wagon. If I need to haul more than that I am back to a high performance SUV probably a bad choice as then you need a suburban or something. I just think no matter what a SUV sport does, there is something else that does the same things better. However, I must be wrong because back to my first sentence lots of people are buying them. Lots of people do stupid things though, like smoke, wear bell bottoms, finance cars, have credit cards. . .(i am guilty of some of these).

I suspect that a SUV sport does one thing better than anything made, if you want to do 0-60 in five seconds and run headlong into a crash test barrier at the other end, you probably have a winner.
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