For 2021 the Ford Explorer gets for the first time a King Ranch trim grade to offer a more colorful and stylish option to what has become widely panned as a hum drum lineup of offerings when it comes to interior and exterior style.

Ford says they listened to “customer feedback” which signaled that buyers wanted a more premium feel the Explorer inside and out. The answer is a number of small tweaks across the board to elevate the interior trims, but a new trim grade was in order to really liven up the show.

To wit, the 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch gets the full cowboy western store treatment to its interior, reminiscent of what you find in the popular model of the F-150 and Super Duty F-Series trucks.

The makeover starts with the rich two-tone mahogany-colored Mesa Del Rio leather seat trim with obligatory King Ranch brand sewn in at key locations. The dash panel, steering wheel, center console and door panels too get soft stitched leather trims with accent stitching.

Really adding some visual punch is the genuine Sapele wood trims across the dash and steering wheel along with gloss black and bright metallic finishes all around. Based loosely on the Platinum trim grade, the King Ranch comes near fully loaded with feature content.

You can option the Premium Technology Package which adds the sexy massaging multi-contour seats and the tablet style portrait 10.1-inch infotainment system backup up with a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.

The exterior of the Explorer King Ranch however only gets a few differentiating features. Up front is a
stone gray grille and added are 20-inch cast aluminum wheels with King Ranch logos along with logos at the doors and rear hatch.

A small piece of trim on the bumper and fake chrome exhaust tips complete the look which in my opinion is hardly a step up from and XLT from across the parking lot. Ford could have really added some pizazz here but failed to do so I think.

Standard is the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 with 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque which flows through Ford’s well done 10-speed automatic transmission. Unlike the Platinum trim grade, you can have rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel drive as a drivetrain option.

Regardless of two or all-wheel drive, standard is the trailer tow package that comes with a Class III reciever and enables a towing capacity of 5,600 pounds.

Because the 2021 Explorer King Ranch is available with two-wheel drive, it starts at $52,350 with the all-wheel drive version starting at $54,350, just a few ticks less than the full-tilt Platinum grade. Ford says they will go on sale in the spring.