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#18

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $30,015 - $41,675
Invoice: $28,288 - $38,862
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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Ford Explorer Interior

Reviewers praise the 2014 Explorer’s cabin for its modern, upscale appearance and ample use of high-quality materials. One reviewer adds that the Explorer’s radio and climate control buttons and knobs operate with a high-quality feel.

  • "Especially considering the price, the Explorer's interior is pleasantly upscale. Materials quality is attractive and luxurious, with a soft-touch dashboard and precise-feeling controls." -- Edmunds
  • "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)
  • "Additionally, the Explorer has a beautifully-designed interior. …" -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)

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Seating

The Explorer seats up to seven people in three rows. Cloth seats are standard, and leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, heated second-row seats and second-row buckets seats are optional. One reviewer says the front seats are comfortable, but others note that the cabin feels somewhat small, and that the second- and third-row seats aren’t especially spacious. Multiple critics complain that rearward visibility is poor.

  • "In our latest three-row crossover comparison test, we faulted the Explorer's cramped interior and meager visibility. 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
  • "The front seats are very supportive, too." -- Edmunds
  • "Visibility to the front and sides is good thanks to a commanding view from the driver's seat. But rearward visibility suffers from blind spots. We quickly became thankful for the wide-view mirrors and available blind-spot monitoring system." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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)
  • "Overall [front-seat] room is very good. Headroom gets trimmed a bit by the available sunroof's housing, which is only an issue if you have the seats set very high. … The 2nd-row split bench cannot be adjusted fore or aft like on some rival 7-seat crossovers. As such, legroom and knee space range from adequate to cramped, depending on where the front seats are positioned." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Interior Features

Standard features on the 2014 Ford Explorer include a six-speaker stereo and an auxiliary input jack. Features available in option packages or on upper trims include Ford’s SYNC system with Bluetooth, which enables voice control of external music players, as well as Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment system, a 12-speaker Sony stereo, satellite radio, a USB port, dual-zone automatic climate control, a backup camera, a dual-pane sunroof, navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system. There are a number of safety and driver-assistance features available as well, including lane keep assist, cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. Ford’s active park assist feature is optional as well, which enables the Explorer to parallel park with minimal driver input.

Most critics say that MyFord Touch and the Sony stereo make the cabin appear more upscale. However, many also write that the infotainment system is frustrating to use and doesn’t respond very quickly to inputs.

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  • "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
  • "The optional MyFord Touch interface contributes to the premium vibe, as it adds a high-resolution display screen (plus two additional screens for the gauge cluster) and touch-sensitive audio and climate ‘buttons.’ MyFord Touch and the voice-activated Sync system are great ideas in theory, but that's where our praise ends. In practice, the touchscreen buttons are difficult to locate and identify, and they're often slow to respond. Couple that with frequent technical glitches and you have a setup likely to frustrate even the most tech-savvy of users." -- Edmunds
  • "The Explorer's instrument cluster is clean and simple on the base models and, on the XLT and Limited, it can be upgraded to include the MyFord Touch package that features configurable LCD screens in place of the traditional analog gauges." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "[The optional Sony audio system] has a more high-tech look than the standard panel, but some functions, such as adjusting temperature and fan speed, are more finicky to operate. 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 Explorer has 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 43.8 cubic feet with the third row folded and up to 80.7 cubic feet behind the front row. Rivals like the Chevrolet Traverse offer much more overall cargo space. One reviewer acknowledges that the Explorer can’t hold as much as other midsize SUVs. However, another reviewer writes that the Explorer has a large cargo area.

  • "The Explorer has 80 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, making it less spacious than the Dodge Durango and well below the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia." -- Edmunds
  • "Both rear rows fold nearly flat to create a vast 80.7 cubic feet of cargo area, and both have power-folding availability." -- Kelley Blue Book
Review Last Updated: 6/26/14

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