With a premium look and luxury interior, this is the most refined Explorer yet.
Ford has long used the King Ranch to signify its most luxurious F-150 pickup line, but a little more than a year ago, the Blue Oval decided to apply the same fancy treatment to the Expedition model too. Thanks to a teaser that Ford released yesterday, we knew that a third King Ranch model would be added to the lineup, and now it's arrived. Meet the 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch edition. Billed as "the most refined Explorer yet", this should be just the ticket for those with families who want a little something special from their SUV.
"In 1853, Captain Richard King bootstrapped the King Ranch in the harsh landscape of southern Texas until it became a shining example of agricultural and livestock innovation and success," said Lee Newcombe, Ford Explorer marketing manager. "Ford Explorer families can now enjoy a piece of the King Ranch's renowned craftsmanship and the multigeneration legacy that still thrives 168 years after its founding."
As with past King Ranch models, the interior is where you really see the money. Hand-stitching and mahogany-colored Del Rio leather-trimmed seats with perforated front and second rows feature prominently alongside a center console that boasts a Masa Del Rio leather armrest.
An instrument panel with genuine Sapele wood appliques is also included, as is a specially-tuned Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker premium sound system. There's also a 10.1-inch center touchscreen infotainment display and the availability of multi-contour seats with "active motion massaging functionality". These seats are offered as part of the Premium Technology package, and we're sure there will be a few other premium options to further enhance luxury in the SUV.
From the outside, you can tell this model apart by its unique badges, Stone Gray mesh grille insert, and 20-inch aluminum wheels with Running W center caps. You also get a liftgate scuff plate and a set of four chromed exhaust tips.
Under the hood, you'll find the familiar 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine producing 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. Both four-wheel-drive and RWD configurations are on offer, along with a 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission as seen on many other Ford products. Maximum towing capacity is rated at an impressive 5,600 pounds with the standard Class III Trailer Tow package.
What about tech and safety? Well, you still get Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite that is standard on all Explorer models, along with Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+. This features adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centering. You also get evasive steering assist, voice-activated infotainment with navigation and smartphone-like interfaces, SiriusXM satellite radio with Travel Link, and traffic sign recognition.
Pricing starts at $52,350 for the RWD version and two grand higher for the 4WD model, with availability at local dealerships starting in the spring. Ford also announced that the Explorer will be offered with the XLT Sport Appearance package, so if that pricing is too high for you, there may be a good middle ground to take advantage of.