Ford Authority

Ford Explorer Paddle Shifters Will Not Be Standard On All 2021 Models

We’ve reported a few key details about the 2021 Ford Explorer in recent weeks, including some very interesting pricing changes. Now, Ford Authority has learned that Ford Explorer paddle shifters with SelectShift capability, which allows the driver to choose between fully automatic shifting or semi-automatic, clutch-less shifting, will not be standard equipment on all 2021 models.

2020-2021 Ford Explorer - Paddle Shift Availability
Base XLT Limited Limited Hybrid ST Platinum
2020 S S S S S S
2021 N/A A1 A2 S S S
  1. Included with optional Class III Trailer Tow Package.
  2. Included with optional Class III Trailer Tow Package on Limited High Package (301A).

These Ford Explorer paddle shifters were standard equipment on all 2020 models, including Base, XLT, Limited, Limited Hybrid, ST, and Platinum trims. However, for the 2021 model year, the paddle shifters are only standard equipment on Limited Hybrid, ST, and Platinum trims, and are not available on Base trim Explorers.

Buyers can get the paddle shifters on XLT models when equipped with the Class III Trailer Tow Package, or on Limited models equipped with the Class III Trailer Tow Package and Limited High Package (301A).

These changes likely came about as part of the cost-cutting measures that went into the 2021 Explorer designed to bring starting prices down. As we reported back in August, all 2021 Explorer trim levels receive price cuts across the board, which, on average, makes the crossover $2,572 more affordable than the 2020 model.

These pricing reductions coincide with a few other minor changes to the 2021 Explorer, including a few new exterior colors and a handful of enhancements to the interior of the Explorer ST, as well as the removal of roof rails from the ST’s standard equipment list. Additionally, the XLT Sport model will return in 2021, and recent spy photos seem to indicate that an off-road focused model – possibly an FX4 model – is in the works.

Production of the 2021 Explorer is already underway at the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant, where the Explorer is built alongside the Lincoln Aviator. The sixth-generation Ford Explorer is all-new from the ground up, and rides on the same Ford CD6 platform as the Aviator.

We’ll have more on the Explorer soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Explorer news and ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Mortimer Duke

    Cost cutting to profitability rather than creating more and better value rarely ends up working well. Hopefully history isn’t destined to repeat itself with Explorer

    1. Alex Luft

      It’s not cost-cutting to profitability. It’s cost-cutting to deliver a lower base price for the consumer. The consumer is the one that wins here.


    How do you shift a 2021 Ford explorer without power shifters then


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