One feature will no longer be standard.
Some good news arrived in August when we learned that the 2021 Ford Explorer is set to receive a nice price cut. The 2020 Explorer began at $32,765 but for the new model year that will apparently drop to $32,225. That $540 reduction may sound welcome, but it's actually the highest trim that'll receive the most significant cut. The Explorer Platinum is getting a massive $3,770 slashed off last year's $58,250 starting point. All other trims (aside from the Base model) are getting a $3,670 drop.
That is definitely good news but it does come at a, ahem, price.
Ford Authority is claiming the 2021 Explorer base model will no longer come with paddle shifters, a feature that allows drivers to choose between full or semi-automatic shifting, or clutch-less shifting. Those who want an Explorer XLT will find the paddle shifters are available but only when equipped with the Class III Trailer Tow Package. Meanwhile, Limited, Hybrid, ST, and Platinum trims still come standard with those shifters. So, why the change?
The most likely reason is because of those general price drops. Ford wants to make the Explorer a more attractive purchase compared to the competition and reducing prices across the board is an excellent way to start.
Combined with other incentives, consumers are even more likely to get a good deal. But cutting prices also means some potential re-packaging that involves removing previously standard features. Paddle shifters were apparently the first to go for the Base trim. Making them optional on the popular XLT is another justifiable sacrifice.
Additional changes for the 2021 Explorer include a few new exterior colors and some supposed upgrades to the ST. Also, the XLT Sport trim is expected to return though we don't know just yet what it will include. Rumor also has it an off-road-focused Explorer FX4 model is in on the way. We'll hopefully receive all of the official details from Ford in the very near future.