Road-Test/Review | 2021 Explorer King Ranch | Giddy Up

SID297

OWNER/ADMIN
Administrator
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
53,213
Location
Myrtle Beach, SC
Road-Test/Review | 2021 Explorer King Ranch | Giddy Up

Explorer_KR_03.jpg


Western chic gives way to urban panache. When I think of Ford’s King Ranch trim level my mind instantly goes to a Charcoal Blue Metallic Crew-Cab PN-96 F-150. That truck introduced many to the King Ranch brand, and the unique and beautiful Castano saddle leather that covered the seats. The look, feel, and smell of that era of King Ranch interior was completely unique in the automotive world. Unfortunately; far too few buyers took to time to read the literature that accompanied their new purchase, where they would have learned the unique care procedures required to maintain those fantastic saddle leather seats. You’re going to need to invest in products like these (not necessarily SVTP recommendations) :




That’s why you rarely see one of those trucks with an interior that looks half-way decent. After that fiasco Ford overcorrected and dumbed down the King Ranch interior to something that just resembled a traditional Western styled truck. Thankfully Ford’s designers have bounced back and have found a happy middle ground with the interior of our recent 2022 Ford Explorer King Ranch test vehicle. The seats are swathed a nice quality leather that looks and smells great, without requiring the specialized attention of the old saddle leather. It’s a bit less authentic, but way more user friendly. I’d call it a win for 99.5% of buyers.


Check out our Full Review Video. The WOT runs are fun, especially when exploring some back roads.


Outside, the rig has the same classic King Ranch styling we’ve come to expect from Ford. It’s classy, but not ground breaking. The Star White Metallic Tri-Coat paint absolutely pops in the sunlight and the 20 inch aluminum wheels fill out the wells nicely. I feel the use of unpainted plastic wheel flares and lower cladding is out of place at this price level, but it doesn’t look bad when new and shiny. Fit and finish are good, but don’t ask me to turn wrenches on it. The engine bay is jam packed with tubes and hoses. It’s amazing how such a small engine (internally know as part of the Nano family) can take up so much space.

Explorer_KR_01.jpg


The front end styling of the U625 6th Generation Ford Explorer is a massive upgrade over the U502 5th Gen models.


However, I have to give Ford credit for making the move back to a RWD biased platform for the Explorer. It’s not too often we see a nameplate lost to the darkness of the FWD abyss make its way back to the light. Speaking of light, Ford as seen fit to start installing more lightweight mega-castings in the structure of this SUV. The massive cast strut towers are an impressive addition, and I hope this is the start of a trend for Ford. Mega-castings solve a lot of issues with unibody structure, and they are becoming much more prevalent in certain premium auto brands. Hopefully we see some make their way into the S650 Mustang.

Explorer_KR_02.jpg


This is the most common environment you'll find an Explorer in these days, the concrete jungle.


On road, the Explorer handles exactly as you would expect a premium 3-row mid-size SUV to handle. It is smooth and confidence inspiring, but by no means a performance machine. It’s the kind of vehicle you can drive all day without getting overly fatigued, have peace of mind sending your wife out with the kids in it, and still be able to smoke unsuspecting commuters when you light off the twin turbos on the 3.0L EcoBoost. That last part is especially true if you have some custom tuning loaded up.

Explorer_KR_04.jpg


This is a good looking rig, especially in a place like this.


I didn’t get to spend a ton of time with the King Ranch Explorer, but I did get a good sense of what I’d like to see out of this platform. I’m really interested in sampling an Explorer in the new Timberline trim level. I think that would be somewhat of a return to the Explorer’s roots as a comfortable family SUV that can still handle some trails and haul a cooler you your favorite fishing spot. If there’s one thing Ford has excelled at with the Explorer, it’s in offering it in a flavor to suit nearly everyone’s taste. I just happen to prefer Rocky Road to Butter Pecan. I’m just glad to have the option, and I’ll take mine with two-scoops of turbo please.

Explorer_KR_05.jpg


The metallic Star White paint and massive polished wheels are a great combination.

Explorer_KR_08.jpg


I'm not crazy about plastic side cladding, but it is functional.

Explorer_KR_09.jpg


There's an engine in there somewhere under all that stuff.

Explorer_KR_10.jpg


Working on the turbos on one of these rigs is just an absolute treat.

Explorer_KR_11.jpg


Mega-Castings such as this one are the way of the future. Expect to see many more these and extrusions in the future.

Explorer_KR_12.jpg


Ok, this just looks right.

-SID297
Photos by StacyStangz
(the good ones) and the Author (the ones shot with a potato)
 

CobraBob

Authorized Vendor
Established Member
Premium Member
Single Barrel Sirs
Joined
Nov 17, 2002
Messages
101,025
Location
Cheshire, CT
Nice work on the video, Sid.

The sticker price isn't that bad. That's a nice full-size SUV. The wood trim maybe looks more like real wood because it has a matte/dull finish vs. a satin or semi-gloss finish that looks fake. Nice leather seats, although I really prefer the suede finish that I have in my G70. It cooler in the summer in the heat, and warmer in the winter when you climb in out of the cold. Nice SUV and nice package!
 

7998

Don't Care
Established Member
Malt Liquor Mafia
Joined
Mar 12, 2008
Messages
3,573
Location
PA
Good review Sid. What kind of mpg's did you see? I know $60k isn't cheap by any stretch but you do get the massaging seats, B&O, and a lot of other nice luxuries you don't find at that price point.
 

SID297

OWNER/ADMIN
Administrator
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
53,213
Location
Myrtle Beach, SC
Good review Sid. What kind of mpg's did you see? I know $60k isn't cheap by any stretch but you do get the massaging seats, B&O, and a lot of other nice luxuries you don't find at that price point.

I didn't have enough time to drive it around enough to get any real world mileage figures.
 

CobraBob

Authorized Vendor
Established Member
Premium Member
Single Barrel Sirs
Joined
Nov 17, 2002
Messages
101,025
Location
Cheshire, CT
What was the single most noted thing you liked about the leather seats, compared to other models. Is the leather itself that much different, for example? I know you stated how impressed you were with the seats, but just wondering what one thing impressed you the most. Quality? Feel? Smell? Color?
 

SID297

OWNER/ADMIN
Administrator
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
53,213
Location
Myrtle Beach, SC
What was the single most noted thing you liked about the leather seats, compared to other models. Is the leather itself that much different, for example? I know you stated how impressed you were with the seats, but just wondering what one thing impressed you the most. Quality? Feel? Smell? Color?

Easily the smell.
 

BlueSnake01

Well-Known Member
Established Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
9,345
Location
SoCal
Good review Sid. What kind of mpg's did you see? I know $60k isn't cheap by any stretch but you do get the massaging seats, B&O, and a lot of other nice luxuries you don't find at that price point.
I wouldnt call the B&O a highlight, its really a Ford system with B&O "tune". It sounds good for what it is but not great. We own a Platinum Explorer with the 14 speaker set up, so practically the same vehicle options, and wished the system lived up to its name.
 

7998

Don't Care
Established Member
Malt Liquor Mafia
Joined
Mar 12, 2008
Messages
3,573
Location
PA
I wouldnt call the B&O a highlight, its really a Ford system with B&O "tune". It sounds good for what it is but not great. We own a Platinum Explorer with the 14 speaker set up, so practically the same vehicle options, and wished the system lived up to its name.

I'm impressed with the one in my '21 F150 the one in my '19 F150 not so much.
 

CobraBob

Authorized Vendor
Established Member
Premium Member
Single Barrel Sirs
Joined
Nov 17, 2002
Messages
101,025
Location
Cheshire, CT
Easily the smell.
I remember you emphasizing that. I, myself, really love the smell of rich leather in a vehicle. If that smell could be bottled in a leather cleaner, I'd buy some tonight. LOL.
 

Blk04L

. . .
Established Member
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
10,478
Location
South Florida
How was the 3.0?

With ford using it for the aviator and explorer now and soon to be ranger and bronco raptors I hope they got any qc down pat.
 

B7BlownSnake

Active Member
Established Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
724
Location
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
How was the 3.0?

With ford using it for the aviator and explorer now and soon to be ranger and bronco raptors I hope they got any qc down pat.
Definitely bulletproof. The only part of the Explorer I've heard of zero issues.

This includes numerous guys running E85 and making 550ish awhp and a few running upgraded turbos and making mid-600 awhp. Now the transmission isn't always happy in those 600+ hp trucks, but the Explorer uses the 10R60 (not the 10R80 in all the others with the 3.0) and those with issues are doing repeated launches at the strip. Not a big concern for Bronco Raptors!
 

BlueSnake01

Well-Known Member
Established Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
9,345
Location
SoCal
I'm impressed with the one in my '21 F150 the one in my '19 F150 not so much.
I see the 21 F-150 have an option for the B&O Unleashed. Thats not an option on the Explorer's. Explorer can have the B&O with 12 or 14 speakers with 980 total watts. So pretty much like your older 19 F-150


How was the 3.0?

With ford using it for the aviator and explorer now and soon to be ranger and bronco raptors I hope they got any qc down pat.
Still burns lil oil but overall, its an upgrade over the 3.5 Ecoboost. It's a tad louder when driving which is not a bad thing for me and best of all, doesnt have the infamous water pump inside engine.
 
Last edited:

Blk04L

. . .
Established Member
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
10,478
Location
South Florida
Definitely bulletproof. The only part of the Explorer I've heard of zero issues.

This includes numerous guys running E85 and making 550ish awhp and a few running upgraded turbos and making mid-600 awhp. Now the transmission isn't always happy in those 600+ hp trucks, but the Explorer uses the 10R60 (not the 10R80 in all the others with the 3.0) and those with issues are doing repeated launches at the strip. Not a big concern for Bronco Raptors!

I see the 21 F-150 have an option for the B&O Unleashed. Thats not an option on the Explorer's. Explorer can have the B&O with 12 or 14 speakers with 980 total watts. So pretty much like your older 19 F-150



Still burns lil oil but overall, its an upgrade over the 3.5 Ecoboost. It's a tad louder when driving which is not a bad thing for me and best of all, doesnt have the infamous water pump inside engine.

Thank you both for the info.
Was debating picking up a ST soon. Didn't see too much horror stories on forums. On FB some stories but I feel some FB pages can have over dramatic posters.
 

Users who are viewing this thread



Top