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2021 Ford Explorer gets the upscale King Ranch treatment

Ford is bringing the Western-themed King Ranch treatment to the hot-selling Explorer for the first time. Created by popular demand, the Explorer King Ranch gains numerous trim-specific upscale accents inside and out.

As has typically been the case, the exterior modifications are relatively subtle. King Ranch models gain 20-inch wheels, a mesh grille finished in Stone Gray, quad exhaust tips, and a sprinkling of W-shaped brand emblems. It’s what’s inside that counts here. Ford added two-tone Del Rio leather upholstery as well as Sapele wood trim on the dashboard and on the steering wheel. W-shaped brands appear on the seatbacks and on the center armrest.

Motorists who want to complement the old-school look with cutting-edge technology can order the optional Premium Technology package. It bundles multi-contour front seats with a massage function, a 10.1-inch touchscreen on the center stack, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system tuned specifically for the Explorer’s cabin.

Power for the King Ranch comes from a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 that develops 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. It spins the rear or the four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission; Ford points out the King Ranch is the only Explorer offered with the V6 and rear-wheel-drive. The SUV can tow up to 5,600 pounds thanks in part to a standard Trailer Tow package, while the Co-Pilot360 suite of technology brings numerous electronic driving aids.

Ford stores across the United States will begin receiving the 2021 Explorer King Ranch in the spring, about 20 years after the firm’s first King Ranch-branded model, the 2001 F-150, made its debut. Pricing starts at $52,350 for the rear-wheel-drive model and $54,350 for the four-wheel-drive version. Looking ahead, the King Ranch will be joined in showrooms by a more off-road-oriented Explorer that might be called FX4 or Timberline.

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