$7,311 - $9,810

2010 Ford Explorer Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2010 Ford Explorer was new.


Interior: 8.0

The Ford Explorer's cabin stands out because it's impressively quiet for an SUV, especially a traditional truck-based one. While some reviewers said it looks upscale, others complained about the dated-looking cabin and controls.

  • "Ford has done an exemplary job of insulating occupants from noise and vibration. The air conditioner is relatively quiet, but it does its job. Conversations are easily heard, the music sounds good, and the mirrors, with their square corners defying intuitive logic, are mercifully quiet, as are the tires." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Considering its vast interior volume and all the opportunities that exist for outside noise to creep inside, the … Ford Explorer is impressively, refreshingly quiet." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Despite incremental improvements over the years, the Explorer's materials quality remains mediocre and its design rudimentary. Most of the climate and audio controls are comprised of lots of similar-looking black buttons, and the regular audio head unit still displays its info in Ford's old-school, '80s-look green font." -- Edmunds


The Ford Explorer can seat up to seven when equipped with its third row, which was optional on base models and standard on Eddie Bauer and XLT Sport models. Reviewers found the seats spacious, and said that even the third row can fit adults -- a rarity for midsize SUVs. However, while there’s plenty of space, some of the seats aren’t as plush as test drivers would have liked.

Limited models come with a special seating configuration option that reduces seating from seven to six by replacing the three-person second-row bench with reclining captain's chairs and a storage console. Limited models also come standard with perforated leather upholstery.

  • "The seats are at once more supportive and more comfortable than in older Explorers, where we found them a bit hard." -- New Car Test Drive
  • “Three adults can squeeze across in the roomy 2nd row. Legroom is tight only with the front seats fully aft. The 3rd-row cushion is low to the floor, pancake flat, and the floor shape obstructs foot space. But 3rd-row headroom is expansive, and legroom is surprisingly good." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Headroom abounds in the first two rows, and second-row legroom is surprisingly generous, even in the three-row configurations." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

Reviewers complained that the Explorer’s controls look dated and are somewhat awkwardly-placed. One recurring complaint was the placement of the door handles.

The base model comes standard with air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an audio input jack. Options when it was new included rear climate control, power-adjustable pedals, satellite radio, Ford’s SYNC infotainmene system and leather-trimmed heated front seats.

A rear DVD entertainment system and voice-activated navigation system with Sirius Travel Link weren’t available on the base model, but were optional on Eddie Bauer and Limited models.

  • "Ford designed the interior door panels so the armrests and door pulls would supplement the impact protection hardware built into the door's innards. Thus, the armrests and door pulls were separated, with the pulls positioned below the armrests. This poor ergonomic positioning makes it a bear to grab hold of the pulls, and they offer too little leverage to make closing the doors easy." -- New Car Test Drive
  • “Explorer has large, clear main gauges. The transmission shift lever prevents easy access to climate controls. The dashboard design puts the radio just out of easy reach. The turn signal stalk is mounted at an awkward angle. Rear climate controls are set into the ceiling and are difficult to read." -- Consumer Guide
  • “Most of the climate and audio controls are comprised of lots of similar-looking black buttons, and the regular audio head unit still displays its info in Ford's old-school, '80s-look green font. The sharp two-tone color schemes make this workaday SUV feel a little more upscale, though, and the optional Sync phone/MP3 voice activation and hard-drive-based navigation systems are both effective and modern.” -- Edmunds


The Ford Explorer’s cargo space is quite good for its class. In base models without the third row, the Explorer provides 45.1 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in use and 85.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Reviewers were impressed that the seats fold completely flat.

In models with the third row, space measures 13.6 cubic feet with all seats in use, 43.9 with the third row folded and 83.7 with the second and third rows folded. By contrast, the Honda Pilot provides even more space: 18 cubic feet of cargo volume with all three rows of seats in use, which increases to 47.7 and 87 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down.

Cargo features for the Explorer include a center floor console, cargo management system and rear cargo shade. A big advantage it has over many affordable SUVs in its power fold third-row seat, which is standard on Limited models and folds flat at the touch of a button.

  • "Explorer cargo room, always a high point, remains generous." -- Motor Week
  • "The cargo floor is completely flat when all the seats are folded, with almost no forward rise (two degrees as opposed to ten in older models)." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "It's feasible to carry two adults in the third-row seats, but choosing the third-row option slightly reduces the available cargo space and results in a not-quite-flat load floor." -- Edmunds
  • "Opening hatch glass is handy, but the hatch itself is heavy to open and close. Second- and 3rd-row seats fold nearly flat for ample cargo room, but leave gaps large enough for smaller items to fall through. The optional power folding 3rd row is a real convenience. Aside from a large console box, interior storage is meager." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Not only do the two rear rows fold almost perfectly flat, but the third row is available with a power folding option that makes it easy to transform the Explorer from people-mover to cargo-hauler and back at the push of a button." -- Kelley Blue Book

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