2011 Ford Explorer Photo
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With a skosh less people space than the seven-seat Flex, the 2011 Ford Explorer still suits at least five people with room to spare.
9.0 out of 10
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QUALITY | 9 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

The seats are now suited to old guys' spines—as are the fold-flat second and third rows...
Car and Driver

A standard third row seat comfortably accommodates passengers of all sizes, not just kids, and there is massive headroom in all three rows.

The cabin is relatively quiet and certainly comfortable — nothing trucky about it.
New York Times

The third row, with 33.2 inches of legroom, matches the voluminous Chevy Traverse. But somehow in the Explorer, that seat seems a bit tight for adults.
Popular Mechanics

Speaking of cabins, the Explorer's is a fine one – so fine, in fact, that it not only feels several generations ahead of the interior in the outgoing model, it might just be best-in-class.

The 2011 Ford Explorer won't match the company's own Flex for the kind of horizontally usable space that makes it easier to load people and cargo. Even so, the new Explorer lays out its cubic feet and features with swell attention to headroom and easy access.

Up front, the Explorer supports driver and passenger with softer cushions and active headrests that don't press forward too far, as has been the case on some recent Fords. The second-row seat is a little less cozy. Without the sunroof option, headroom soars more than four inches over a six-foot passenger and there's no doubt the Explorer's a wider vehicle than before (by about five inches). Two adults fit easily, with room for a child between.

The quibbles are with the Explorer's seat-bottom cushions. With the standard second-row bench seat, that bottom cushion is short, and tilts down at its front edge a bit. The Explorer lacks the sliding second-row bench you'll find in the more compact Chevy Equinox--but we'd still trade that for a properly angled bottom cushion.

Even though it's an "SUV," according to the ads we've seen, the Explorer apes the most clever crossovers with easy-flip seats. The second-row chairs have levers that make it easier to fold the seats for access to the cramped, kid-sized third-row seat. The second-row bench can be swapped out for buckets, which still flip forward.

When it's time to haul more cargo than people, the Explorer's third-row seat folds out of the way--with power controls, if you want to save those ergs for spin class. In that cargo bin, you'll find some of the Explorer's least pretty plastics and trim, but you'll also be able to cram in 21 cubic feet of stuff. That's just behind the third-row seat; tip forward the back two rows, and the Explorer lays 81 cubic feet of open room at knee height. It's almost all available, since the Explorer's seats fold flat and offer up a less vulnerable grade of carpeting than you'll find in a pricier SUV.



With a skosh less people space than the seven-seat Flex, the 2011 Ford Explorer still suits at least five people with room to spare.

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