In recent months, Consumer Reports has bestowed a lot of love on the Ford Edge, naming it one of the most reliable mid-size crossovers, one of the best and most affordable used vehicles for teenagers, one of the best SUVs available for less than $40,000, one of the best mid-size crossovers with standard safety features for under $35k, and a top 10 best SUV on sale today. However, the 2021 Ford Explorer didn’t fare quite as well, making Consumer Reports‘ most recent list of two- and three-row SUVs to avoid.
CR recommends avoiding the 2021 Ford Explorer in the mid-size three-row crossover segment, calling it a “middling SUV in a category with some strong competitors,” even though it was just redesigned for the 2020 model year. CR notes that the Explorer’s base 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 doesn’t offer a fuel economy advantage over its V6-powered competition, and found the 10-speed automatic transmission to be a bit rough when changing gears.
Outside of those quibbles, Consumer Reports found the 2021 Explorer’s ride quality to be a bit stiff, and its research has uncovered that the model offers “well below-average predicted reliability.” Of course, it isn’t all bad, and there are some positive attributes to point out. The latest Explorer provides a roomy and quiet interior and sportier handling than its foes, the latter of which is a trade-off for the stiffer ride.
The 2021 Explorer also comes equipped with a host of standard safety features including Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection, and Blind Spot Warning (BSW). Unfortunately, those qualities aren’t quite enough to persuade Consumer Reports to recommend the Explorer, and it finds the 2021 Kia Telluride to be a more compelling option thanks to its superior ride quality, strong powertrain, predicted reliability, and solid value.