Having established that the Explorer is less than brilliant, both on and off road, you might be wondering if there is anything we really liked about this SUV. The good news is that the interior is really very good. Fit and finish is excellent and everything appears to be made of high quality materials. Compare this interior to an Explorer from 10 or even 5 years ago and you’ll be amazed that it’s the same car.
Our tester came dressed in fully loaded Limited trim, which pushes the amenities to near luxury car levels. The power front seats feature heating and cooling, and all seating is upholstered in perforated black leather. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard for the front seats, with rear zone controls handily placed on the back of the center console.
The interior also impressed us with its roominess, as 6 full-sized adults fit quite comfortably, which is not something you can say of some of the SUV’s in this class. Like most SUVs, cargo capacity is compromised a bit due to the relatively high floor, but with both 2nd and 3rd rows folded down there is a sizable amount of space. Both rear rows are split-folding, and the 3rd row features PowerFold® , which lets you stow the seats at the push of a button.
The Explorer has been outfitted with an impressive array of available technology. For safety, there’s a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert, which basically flashes a red LED in the side mirror when there is a car in your blind spot. More impressive is the Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning System with Brake Support, which uses sonar to sense traffic in front of you. Both of these worked well, although the collision warning system was perhaps a bit intrusive, as it was triggered when a car in front of us simply turned off the road.
Our Explorer also came equipped with the MyFord Touch™ system, which allows for voice-activated control of the navigation, entertainment and connectivity. As we reported on earlier this year, the MyFord (or MyLincoln) Touch™ system does work, but not without instigating fits of frustration. Among other gripes, we found the user interface to be less than intuitive and the voice recognition software less than accurate. Hopefully Ford will continue to refine this system into something that provides all the features, without the headache.
Perhaps the best feature of the new Explorer is that it doesn’t look like the old model. The design strikes a good balance between the more chiseled truck look and the rounder, softer profile of a modern crossover. In fact, you wouldn’t have to get your vision checked if you confused the Explorer for a much more expensive luxury SUV. We observed multiple people comment on how good the car looks, with one person even asking if this was a new Mercedes-Benz.