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#12

in Affordable Large SUVs

MSRP: $30,700 - $43,100
Invoice: $28,935 - $40,191
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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Ford Explorer Interior

Test drivers say that the 2015 Ford Explorer features an attractively trimmed cabin, which features high-quality switchgear and premium, soft-touch materials. However, some also note that the materials aren’t quite as nice in the second and third rows. The Explorer’s rear rows also disappoint reviewers with limited passenger space, and many critics report that the available MyFord Touch infotainment system is difficult to use. 

  • "Considering the price, the Explorer's interior is pretty well-trimmed. Materials are attractive and luxurious, with a soft-touch dashboard and precise-feeling controls." -- Edmunds
  • "Cabin materials are good, with low-gloss materials and padding where it matters up front. Rear passengers get cheaper textures, and all positions suffer poor forward visibility due to short windows, a high belt line and thick A-pillars." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "Interior appointments are a strong suit, with good seat comfort and a solid array of comfort and convenience features -- once you figure out the basics of managing it all through the relatively non-intuitive center stack." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "The interior is trimmed with nicely textured, soft-touch materials. Metal or woodgrain trim is available, and we'd choose the latter. It provides a warmer interior ambiance." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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Seating

The Ford Explorer seats seven in three rows, or six when equipped with second-row captain’s chairs. Leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front seats and heated second-row seats are available. Reviewers say that the Explorer’s wide door sills make entry and exit difficult, and that rearward visibility is poor from the driver’s seat. Most agree that the second and third rows aren’t very spacious, with limited legroom in the third row and second-row seats that are not spacious enough to accommodate a rear-facing child seat.

  • "While visibility to the front and sides is good, you'll be thankful for the wide-view side mirrors and blind-spot detection that compensate for the lousy view toward the rear." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The third row is short on legroom and will fit only small children. The Explorer's second-row seats may be a bit disappointing for families as well, as there's not as much room to install rear-facing child safety seats -- something you'd expect to do with ease in a vehicle of this size." -- Edmunds
  • "Thick roof pillars and a high beltline make it difficult to see out of the car, while wide door sills hurt ease of entry. Moreover, the interior feels smaller than the large exterior dimensions would suggest -- space in the second and third rows of seats is tight." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)
  • "The cabin, while comfortable, does feel a bit cozy. The width also results in an annoyingly prominent doorsill that forces drivers and passengers to step over the sill to get out. For this 5' 11" adult male, it was a minor inconvenience." -- Motor Trend (2013)

Interior Features

The 2015 Ford Explorer comes standard with a six-speaker stereo and an auxiliary input jack. Available features include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, Ford’s voice-activated Sync system (with Bluetooth and a USB port), satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, proximity key, push-button start, parallel park assist, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and a sunroof.

Although critics say that updates have made the Explorer’s MyFord Touch infotainment system easier to use, many write that it’s still not as intuitive as the systems available in competing midsize SUVs. Additionally, some note that MyFord Touch has difficulty recognizing voice commands, and can be distracting to use while driving.

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  • "… ongoing year-to-year system improvements have made a difference, and in our most recent tests, MyFord Touch worked reasonably well. We also continue to like the usefulness of the Sync voice commands. That said, some rival infotainment systems are still easier to use." -- Edmunds
  • "Even after multiple software updates, the optional MyFord Touch infotainment system remains difficult to use and unreliable, so we'd avoid it if possible." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)
  • "The Explorer overall, however, has problems. Headlining them are Ford's touch-sensitive MyFord Touch controls - optional on the XLT and standard with the Limited and Sport - which remain near-impossible to use while keeping your eyes on the road." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "In some test vehicles, the MyFord Touch interface was plagued by glitches that included an unresponsive touchscreen, slow operation, and voice control that refused to recognize some commands even though they were spoken slowly, loudly, and clearly." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Cargo

The 2015 Explorer has 21 cubic feet of cargo space, which expands to 43.8 cubic feet with the third row folded and 80.7 cubic feet with both rear rows lowered. A power liftgate is optional. Most reviewers write that the Explorer’s maximum cargo space is on the small side for the class, and some mention that the third-row seat can be difficult to fold. However, a few note that the Explorer offers a useful amount of cargo space when all seats are in use.

  • "Cargo capacity is adequate, but you'll be able to fit more stuff inside most other comparable rivals." -- Edmunds 
  • "The 2nd- and 3rd-row seats fold flat to provide a spacious cargo hold. The process for folding the 3rd row is multi-step and more complicated than it should be. There is a cargo well behind the 3rd row but only when the seat backs are raised." -- Consumer Guide (2013) 
  • "Cargo room behind the third row measures an impressive 21 cubic feet. Fold down the second and third rows and maximum volume totals 80.7 cubic feet. That's in line with the Pathfinder, but on the small side in this group." -- Cars.com (2013)
Review Last Updated: 9/15/14

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