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A red 2021 Ford Explorer pulling a horse trailer down the road at a local farm.

What’s the Towing Capacity of the 2021 Ford Explorer

Posted at Wed, Jul 14, 2021 10:15 AM

Known for its remarkable performance and superior handling, the 2021 Ford Explorer is an ideal vehicle for towing, hauling, and driving in all road conditions. A maximum towing capacity of 5,600 pounds and a maximum tongue-load of 560 pounds ensures this powerful SUV can meet all your towing needs. 

The Explorer is spacious enough to fit the whole family with seating for up to seven and has an easy-entry second row to enable passengers to easily enter and exit the vehicle and tri-zone climate control to enable custom temperatures in all three rows of seating. The whole family will be able to ride in comfort. With abundant cargo space and enough power to tow a boat or camper, the 2021 Explorer will make a great family vehicle.

If you're considering a 2021 Ford Explorer, this towing capacity guide will help you determine what features best meet your individual requirements. Call Planet Ford Dallas at (844) 990-1942 with any questions.

2021 Ford Explorer Trim Levels

A red 2021 Ford Explorer pulling a horse trailer down the road at a local farm.

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The 2021 Ford Explorer offers seven trim levels and 12 configurations to help you customize your SUV to your preferences. The trim levels are Base, XLT, Limited, Timberline, ST, King Ranch, and Platinum. The ST and Timberline trims are both four-wheel drive, while the other trims offer the option for either two- or four-wheel drive.

Ford Explorer Towing Capacity by Engine

The maximum towing capacity of the Ford Explorer is impressive, ranging from 5,300 pounds to 5,600 pounds, depending on the engine and trim level. The Explorer's total cargo and load capacity will also be affected by weight distribution, total passengers, and other accessories.

The 2021 Explorer offers three engines, and all of them are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission with available Selectshift capability. The 10-speed transmission delivers better performance and acceleration capabilities than a six-speed transmission, allowing for smooth shifting and operation even while towing.

2.3-Liter EcoBoost I-4

The 2.3-liter turbocharged Ti-VCT EcoBoost I-4 engine comes standard on the base, XLT, and Limited trims. This turbocharged engine generates 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. When properly equipped, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost can tow a maximum of 5,300 pounds. 

3.0-Liter EcoBoost V-6

The standard 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine is twin-turbocharged. The V-6 in the Platinum trim produces 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, and the ST trim delivers 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. The properly equipped ST trim 3.0-liter V-6 engine can tow a maximum of 5,600 pounds.

3.3-Liter Hybrid V-6

The 3.3-liter Hybrid V-6 is a gasoline-electric hybrid engine that delivers 318 horsepower and 322 pound-feet of torque. When properly equipped, this impressive hybrid engine can tow a maximum of 5,600 pounds.

Class III Trailer Towing Package

The available Class III Trailer Towing Package paired with the 3.3-liter Hybrid V-6 is necessary in order to achieve the maximum towing capacity of 5,600 pounds on your 2021 Ford Explorer. The towing package includes a Class III frame-mounted hitch, an engine oil cooler, a seven-wire harness, and four- and seven-pin trailer connectors. The Trailer Towing Package enables drivers to easily and properly connect all trailer lights and is recommended for all Ford vehicles that are used for towing.

Additional Ford Explorer Features

Here are some additional features you can opt for in your 2021 Ford Explorer.

AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (RSC)

The AdvanceTrac with RSC system uses sensors to monitor vehicle stability and improves the control of the vehicle on difficult driving surfaces such as gravel, ice, snow, or wet pavement. This gives the Explorer improved stopping power, traction, and stability and better handling under all driving conditions. AdvanceTrac also helps you maintain control in case of wheel slippage, understeering, or oversteering. Roll Stability Control monitors the vehicle and adds extra protection, such as reducing vehicle power and automatic braking to reduce the risk of rollover and restore stability.

Towing and Trailer Sway Control

Ford's towing and trailer sway control builds on the AdvanceTrac with RSC system to add even more stability and increase control when towing heavy loads by automatically braking and adjusting engine power.

Terrain Management System

The available advanced Terrain Management System was released in 2020 and offers the option of seven different types of drive modes to maximize engine performance. It's available with two-wheel drive or intelligent four-wheel drive. The modes enable you to customize the power to the driving conditions. Simply turn a dial to activate any mode, and the available 12.3-inch digital cluster will show helpful animated graphics to guide your use.

The seven selectable drive modes of the Terrain Management System are:

  • Normal: Use for everyday driving with two-wheel operation on standard terrain.
  • Trail: Improves performance on muddy, rutty, and uneven off-road surfaces.
  • Deep Snow/Sand: Allows for wheel slippage when on soft driving surfaces and narrow trails and engages four-wheel drive and the electronic locking differential.
  • Slippery: This mode is used when driving on snowy or icy roads and engages four-wheel drive.
  • Sport: Used for enhanced on-road driving, Sport Mode increases throttle response and allows for faster acceleration.
  • Tow/Haul: Use whenever towing or hauling, this mode enhances performance when transporting heavy cargo.
  • Eco: Eco Mode maximizes fuel efficiency and extends driving range.


The 2021 Explorer is equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360 technology helps drivers navigate safely with a rear-view camera, lane assistance to prevent drifting out of the proper lane, automatic emergency braking, a blind spot assistance system, intelligent adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Parking Assistance

For those times when you must park in tight or difficult spots, the available Active Park Assist helps navigate either parallel or perpendicular parking with a simple push of a button. It detects the parking spot and informs the driver of when to stop and shift to neutral, at which point Active Park Assist takes over and does the rest to put you safely in your parking spot.

The 2021 Ford Explorer is an ideal vehicle when towing large loads, thanks to its powerful towing capacity and superior handling. If you want to take an Explorer for a test drive or learn more about this vehicle or any Ford vehicles, please contact us at (844) 990-1942, and our helpful team of experts will be happy to assist you.

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