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Ford Explorer Interior

Some reviewers think the 2016 Ford Explorer has a handsome interior made with upscale materials, especially in the Platinum trim, though others say that lesser trims don't seem as upscale. Some find the front seats uncomfortable and the back two rows of seats cramped. Test drivers think the upgraded available infotainment system is an improvement from previous years, and they appreciate that with this system, the Explorer now has hard buttons and no longer uses touch-sensitive controls for simple climate and audio adjustments.

  • "Considering the price, the Explorer's interior features attractive and luxurious materials, with a soft-touch dashboard and precise-feeling controls. The front seats are very supportive, and the cabin is particularly quiet as well." -- Edmunds
  • "The interior also looks bland and unrefined in all but the Platinum trim." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "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. Redesigned door panels have a more comfortable armrest, and the dash trim is nicer." -- Car and Driver

Seating

The 2016 Explorer can seat up to seven people in three rows, or six if equipped with second-row captain's chairs. Available features include heated, ventilated and power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats and a power-folding third-row seat. Some critics write the Explorer's front seats aren't very comfortable, and they say outward visibility is poor. Auto journalists note the second-row seats are fairly tight, and they add that the third row is cramped for anyone besides small children. They do say the cabin has improved sound deadening and is quiet at speed.

  • "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
  • "The third row is short on leg- and headroom 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. And while the Explorer has the commanding ride height expected in an SUV, its thick roof pillars and tall dash limit outward visibility. Even with all of the available parking aids, it's a handful in tight spaces." -- Edmunds
  • "Heavy doors with seemingly improved seals helped to isolate road noise for improved, and more comfortable drives." -- Left Lane News

Interior Features

Standard features in the 2016 Explorer include a six-speaker audio system, Ford's voice-activated Sync system for music playing and hands-free phone use, a rearview camera, a USB port and Ford's MyKey, which allows parents to monitor their kids' seat belt usage and limit the vehicle's top speed and audio volume. Available features include front and rear parking sensors, a front wide-view camera, a 12-speaker Sony audio system, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity key, navigation, push-button start, parallel and perpendicular park assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, a sunroof, adaptive cruise control and the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen.

A few auto writers report that the infotainment system isn't the best in the class, but most say it's much improved from previous years. They like that buttons have replaced touch-sensitive controls for changing climate and audio settings. They also note that the perpendicular park assist works well. A few test drivers mention the available Sony sound system has outstanding audio quality.

See 2016 Ford Explorer specs »

  • "[MyFord Touch] … isn't the most user-friendly system, but it has been improved over the years and now works reasonably well (especially compared to the standard MyFord system). A welcome change for 2016 is the replacement of the touch-sensitive audio and climate controls with physical buttons." -- Edmunds
  • "The Platinum also gets standard Premium Sound from Sony, featuring both Sony's Clear Phase and Live Acoustics. It's more than just another thing -- this is an amazing sound system that will keep you listening long after you have pulled into your driveway or the office." -- AutoWeek
  • "Ford largely nailed the updates here just by listening to consumer complaints and bringing back buttons to allow for adjustment of climate controls and so forth. What used to be a panel of touch-sensitive lines now has real buttons and knobs that mean you can actually have confidence that you have, in fact, turned on your cooled seat and not just left fingerprints on your dash." -- Cars.com
  • "Perhaps more interesting is a new self-parking mode that can automagically back the 2016 Explorer into a perpendicular spot between two other cars. I tested this feature and found it worked quite well." -- Autoblog

Cargo

The 2016 Explorer has 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats, 43.9 cubic feet with the third row folded and 81.7 cubic feet with both rear rows folded. A hands-free power liftgate is available. According to reviewers, the Explorer's cargo space is large and they appreciate the flat loading floor that is created when you lower the rear seats. Some are pleased with the amount of space behind the third row, but others think there isn't much room when all the seats are up.

  • "Fold both seating rows and you have generous cargo space." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As you'd expect with any three-row SUV, cargo-carrying largely depends on whether you're using all three rows. With the third row up, there's not a ton of space in back for cargo, though the cargo well is fairly deep. With the third row folded flat, there's a nice flat floor to carry a number of large items." -- Cars.com
  • "The cargo hold behind the split third row is also better than most, thanks to a well in the floor." -- Car and Driver
  • "When those seats aren't being used to shuttle various ride-moochers, they can be folded flat into a well in the rear cargo area creating a large, flat load floor that'll hold a week's worth of luggage for a family of four. Easily." -- Edmunds
Review Last Updated: 6/8/15

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