Explorer cargo space
The 2017 Ford Explorer has an impressive cabin in the top Platinum trim, which features plenty of high-end materials. However, the lower trims don't really stand out. The interior styling is generally dull, and the materials quality falls short of some class rivals.
Seating in the Explorer is not impressive either. Drivers may be disappointed by the limited visibility, and the second-row seats have limited room, which also makes it difficult to install rear-facing car seats. Like many 3-row SUVs, the Explorer's third row will feel cramped to most adults. The cargo hold provides average room for a midsize SUV, and the available hands-free liftgate is a convenient feature.
The Explorer's interior technology is better for 2017 thanks to the newly available SYNC 3 infotainment system. SYNC 3 has a responsive touch screen that responds to smartphone-style gestures, and there are easily reachable physical controls for some climate and audio functions. And speaking of audio functions, the available Sony stereo systems deliver excellent sound quality.
- "From a fit and finish perspective, though, the interior is well-trimmed and tightly assembled. The materials used are attractive and luxurious, with a soft-touch dashboard and precise-feeling controls." - Edmunds
- "While the interior of Platinum models is awash in fancy trim, with real wood, matte aluminum, and glossy plastic featuring prominently, lesser Explorers have seen a mild revision, too." - Car and Driver (2016)
The Explorer comes standard with cloth upholstery and seats seven in the base model. Second-row bucket seats that drop the seating capacity to six are available. Other available seating features include leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated second-row seats.
The Explorer's cabin is well-insulated from outside noise. The front seats have ample space, but opinions differ about how much support they provide. Forward visibility is somewhat limited as well. The second-row seats are generally comfortable, but they aren't overly spacious, and the limited room can make it difficult to install a rear-facing car seat. The third-row seats don't have very much room for anyone other than children, but that isn't uncommon for a 3-row SUV.
Parents will appreciate the Explorer's several LATCH connectors. There are two sets of connectors in the second row and one in the third. The second row's LATCH connectors can be tricky to locate, but the seats do fit securely. The seats also fit well in the third row, but tie-down anchors in the cargo hold are easily confused with LATCH connection points.
- "Ford has done an excellent job keeping road, engine and wind noise out of the cabin, and all but the rearmost occupants felt the seating was both comfortable and supportive." - Kelley Blue Book
- "The Explorer's seating could be a bit disappointing for families looking for maximum space. Second-row comfort is decent, but overall it's not as roomy (particularly for installing rear-facing child safety seats) as you'd expect for a vehicle of this size. The third-row accommodations, meanwhile, very much depend on the second-row design. If you get the standard fixed bench, there's not much third-row legroom, allowing only small children to fit comfortably. Opting for the sliding second-row captain's chairs opens up considerably more legroom; however, we'd note the Explorer is reduced to six seat belts in that configuration." - Edmunds
- "Strangely enough, the simple act of people moving is the activity that the 2016 Ford Explorer finds most difficult. To begin with, the high front cowl obstructs the vision of the driver in a very noticeable way, and this goes for taller drivers, not just short ones. Then there are the very short bottom cushions for the front seats, which don't provide comfortable leg support, much less a feeling of security." - Automobile Magazine (2016)
Standard features in the Explorer include a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, Ford's SYNC voice control interface, a rearview camera, a USB port, and Ford's MyKey.
Available features include push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a twin-panel moonroof, multiple Sony audio systems, satellite radio, navigation, front and rear parking sensors, parallel and perpendicular park assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with a 6.5- or 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Siri Eyes Free.
Perhaps the most notable standard feature is MyKey, which is sure to be a favorite of parents. With MyKey, you can set speed and volume limits for the vehicle, which means you can enforce some rules for your teen driver whether you're in the car or not.