Ford Authority

2021 Ford Explorer ST Removes Roof Rails From Standard Features List

The 2021 Ford Explorer ST will feature a key change in its standard equipment list. Starting with the 2021 model year, the roof-rack side rails will become optional equipment.

Ford Explorer ST (2020 model shown)

Ford Explorer ST (2020 model shown)

On one hand, removing the rails as a standard feature will give the 2021 Ford Explorer ST a cleaner look befitting its sporting pedigree. After all, we are talking about a family-hauler that packs a 400 horsepower punch.

On the other hand, the roof rails were standard for the 2020 model year on all Explorer models from the XLT and above, so it’s not exactly a positive to have basic equipment cut from a high-trim machine like the Explorer ST.

Either way, those looking to carry extra cargo or recreational equipment on top of their sporty, three-row Ford crossover will need to pony up a few more dollars to do so.

That said, the removal of the roof rails seems to be strategic, since the 2021 Explorer family is getting a price cut averaging $2,500 compared to 2020 models. The 2021 Ford Explorer ST, specifically, will become $2,135 less expensive. Other changes to the 2021 Ford Explorer ST will include several enhancements to the interior in the form of High Gloss Black interior trim in the cockpit and door panels.

Meanwhile, other 2021 Explorer models – including the XLT and Limited – will continue offering roof rack side rails as standard equipment.

The change makes us wonder how many units of the 2021 Explorer ST will actually be ordered and arrive at dealers without the roof rails, and how important roof rails are to Explorer ST buyers.

Orders for the 2021 Explorer family opened back in July and production is set to start in just two weeks.

So, did FoMoCo make the right decision in dropping the roof rails from the standard features list on the 2021 Ford Explorer ST? Cast your vote in the poll below, and sounds off in the comments section.

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  1. trailhiker

    Used them on my ’96 once a year for a christmas tree.
    They were nice to hold onto while balancing on the tires as I was waxing the top of the Explorer though.

    1. Rick

      I like the rails on the truck on my 2020 explorer st it gives it character it shows it strong & fast and you never know when your going to need it. My 2008 xlt had iti
      was very useful in hauling mattress & others things.i am glad that I got it Standard on the 2020.

  2. Shelby30

    Yes get rid of them. I have them on my 2017 Sport and the clips break and they flop around. There are many complaints on the internet about them braking and very little help from Ford. They need to go, plus it would look nicer.

  3. RJHodder

    I could do without them. Much cleaner look and I don’t foresee using them on my ST. Now offer an active exhaust for the love of all that is holy!

    1. Jeremy S.

      RJ how much do you want for yours? They are a $250 option on the 2021’s. I’ll buy them from you.

  4. Lori Thompson

    I am changing from a large minivan with lots of space to a Ford Explorer ST and I will need the roof racks to attach the luggage Carrier so I can go on vacation and I do not want to have to pay extra for it.

  5. Luis

    I just bought a 2021 ST and was going to transfer my crossbars onto the rails when I realized there were none. Shame on me for not noticing but pics I’ve seen prior to buying all had roof racks and I assumed as an suv it would have.
    Now need to get some. Ugh!

    1. Rafic G Hanna

      If anyone knows where we can get them please let us know, cause the dealer not even have them as accessories or not even he can order it too, I’m really disappointed spending almost 60k and beautiful suv and not having the roof racks.

      1. Jeremy S.

        Were you able to find any? If so where and how much? I’m in the same situation!

    2. Jeremy S.

      Luis were you able to get the rails? If so where from and how much?

    3. Jim Slayton

      Did you get roof rails installed in your 2021 ST? We just bought a 2022 ST and now have the same issue, no rails on our SUV. I am wondering if you did get them, any challenges or suggestions on our journey? They are telling me they need to drill through the roof.

  6. Royden Christensen

    i’ve spent 2hrs looking for the ford ST side rails on line and see nothing. Ford, please help. My dealer had no idea


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