Ford promises the all-new ’20 Explorer will leave commuters and road-trippers sitting pretty.
A new front-seat offering maintains Ford’s stringent standard for shape and softness while using a less-cumbersome design that frees up space for second-row passengers, the automaker says.
The fatigue-, leg-cramping- and back-pain-reducing seat is the result of work by Ford’s global seating and comfort team, whose supervisor, Mike Kolich, has earned the internal moniker Dr. Derriere.
“Road trips can be largely defined by how comfortable people are – and when you get down to it, how comfortable our seats allow them to be,” says Kolich, who has a doctorate in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering with an emphasis on seat comfort.
“As engineers, we’re thrilled with this new seat, but really it’s what our customers say and think that matters.”
Ford measures seat comfort largely by shape and softness, the company says in a news release. Kolich and his team have maintained the comfort standard in the new Explorer’s front-row seat while eliminating some of the bulk by reducing the thickness of the seatback and shoulder area.
The seat’s V-shaped design provides torso support for a wide range of body types and sizes. Explorer ST and Platinum models are equipped with a multicontour system with unique massage patterns. New front-row back panels provide a more sculpted appearance and improved second-row knee room, Ford says.
In addition, available eight- and 10-way adjustable front-row seats in the Explorer cool occupants using a ventilation feature that draws warm air from the body rather than pushing cold air through seat perforations.
Second-row seats feature new-to-Explorer EZ-entry functionality, allowing easy access to the third row without having to remove a child’s booster seat.
To maintain a comfort standard throughout the vehicle, each seat design is put through more than 100 in-lab tests – including initial softness and hardness distribution tests – that use proven metrics to validate that the seats satisfy customers.
“Our lab testing has changed the way we operate,” Kolich says. “Not long ago, the industry didn’t have measurable objectives like we do today. We would build a seat, and from there it was trial-and-error. We’re smarter than that today – we know what people expect.”