$10,396 - $14,002

2011 Ford Explorer Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 Ford Explorer was new.


Interior: 8.4

While there are a few quibbles here and there, most reviewers are happy with the interior on the 2011 Ford Explorer. They say that the cabin, which has standard seating for seven and optional seating for six, is nice enough to erase any bad memories buyers may have about the old Explorer’s digs. There are plenty of available technology features, but the ones reviewers like best, like MyFord Touch and Sync are only available on the upper trims. Choosing these options can seriously inflate the Explorer’s price.

  • "The overall look might be a bit bland for some tastes, but don't let the outward appearance deceive you. 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
  • "The Explorer certainly feels like an expensive vehicle. The interior is swathed in soft-touch materials, and the fit and finish is excellent." -- Car and Driver
  • "Tick off adjustable pedals and MyTouch driver connectivity with configurable panels inside the instrument cluster. Only hard plastic on the doors lets the interior down, but there’s no question that this is Ford’s best effort ever." -- Left Lane News


The 2011 Ford Explorer has seating for seven, thanks to a standard third row. A few reviewers say the third row can be used comfortably by adults for short trips, though several others say space is tight. If you routinely haul more than five adults, that’s something you’ll want to check out. Even if you don’t usually have that many adult passengers, reviewers say that space in the third row is ample for kids.

The first two rows of seats get positive reviews, with reviewers commenting that the second row has plenty of legroom. If you don’t need seating for seven and really want to treat your passengers well, you can opt for second-row captain’s chairs on the Limited model. Reviewers say they’re a great option, but remember that opting for them will take away one seatbelt, lowering the SUV's seating capacity to six.

  • "Legroom in the front and middle rows is generous, but the third row is tight for grown-ups."--Car and Driver
  • "[In the third row] room is surprisingly good. Adults up to about 5'8" will actually be comfortable for short to moderate-length trips." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The first and second rows were roomy, comfy. And the second row moved out of the way easily for access to the way-back." -- USA Today
  • "Second row accommodations are similarly comfortable, but despite the Explorer's substantial footprint (it's 197.1-inches long, shadowing its predecessor by nearly four inches), the third row access and accommodations are competitive but won't thrill those used to minivans." -- Autoblog
  • "Fabric seat offerings were top shelf, but the perforated leather with ventilated seating was even more so." -- Left Lane News

Interior Features

Overall, reviewers like the 2011 Ford Explorer’s interior, which they say has top-notch materials and features. They especially like the new Explorer's interior tech, but to get the best-liked features such as the MyFord Touch and SYNC infotainment systems, you’ll have to trade up to the XLT model and opt for the Driver Connect Package, which adds almost $5,000 to the Explorer's base price. These systems are standard on Limited models, which start at $37,190. If you can do without all the bells and whistles, the base Explorer is still reasonably well equipped, with standard features that include Ford’s MyKey system, an auxiliary input jack, cruise control and steering-wheel mounted audio controls.

  • "With the optional MyFord touch system (standard on the Limited, optional on XLT, and unavailable on base models), the color-coded audio, navigation, phone, and climate settings on the screen in the center stack are also shown in a second instrument-panel LCD. Changing settings can be done by touching the slow-to-respond, main eight-inch screen or by using overly sensitive buttons located directly underneath." -- Car and Driver
  • "The interior looks considerably more modern, and Ford has thrown in all its latest technological goodies, including Sync, MyTouch and MyKey." -- Edmunds
  • "Sporting an uncluttered look and high-quality, feel-good plastics, it's a pleasant place to be." -- Autoblog


The 2011 Ford Explorer has 80.7 cubic feet of cargo space when you fold all the seats down, which isn’t as much as the old Explorer offered, but it’s still decent for the class. When you fold just the third row, there’s 43.8 cubic feet of cargo space. With all seats in use, the Explorer as 21 cubic feet of cargo space, which is plenty of room for a grocery store run, even if you have a large family. 

Reviewers complain that folding the third row manually can be complex, but they love the power-folding option. Small storage spaces are good.

  • "Fold all the seats down and the Explorer's 80.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume is down 3 cubic feet from last year. Competing crossovers have more space." -- Cars.com
  • "The second and third rows fold completely flat in a variety of configurations, and the third row seats can independently fold and unfold at the touch of a button. Storage goes beyond cup holders and trunk, offering thoughtful compartments to hold everyday items such as umbrellas and parking cards." -- CNET

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