2014 Ford Explorer Comfort & Quality

9.0
Comfort & Quality

Space is really no problem in the 2014 Ford Explorer. It comes configured only as a seven-passenger wagon, and leaves five-passenger duties to the smaller Edge--and a sleeker, more urbane definition of three-row transportation to the Ford Flex. Across the lineup though, there's excellent headroom and front-seat comfort to go with flexible cargo capacity.

Perhaps it was a parting gift from Volvo, or the studying of driver fatigue has paid off: Ford has finally learned how to make more comfortable, supportive front seats, and the 2014 Explorer has them. Softer cushions are paired with just enough side bolstering where you need it, and the seats are power-operated with heating control.

A comfortable ride and great front seats provide much to be happy about, although third-row passengers will feel a little left out.

Head room soars in front and the middle row of seats, even with the sunroof option ticked, and the wide center console doesn't cut into knee room very much.

In the second row, there's room for a child between two adults on the bench seat. Knee room is fine, head room is great--but the bottom cushion of the seat could be better tailored. It's short and angles down at its front edge. A pair of buckets can be ordered for the second row, and have the same cozy feel as those up front--without the optional ventilation, though.

The third-row seat is pretty cramped for adults, but it's more than adequate for children, who can climb into the narrow space created when you flip the middle row forward via an easy lever.

For cargo duty, the Explorer comes with a fold-away third-row seat, power-operated if you want. Power or fold the back seat and the middle seats, and the Explorer lays bare 81 cubic feet of cargo volume--almost all of it available for big, flat packages, since the seats fold nearly flat and wear an invulnerable grade of carpeting on their backs. With 21 cubic feet of space with the third row occupied by people, the storage space is fairly large, and lined with durable if inexpensive-looking plasticky material. 

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