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Explorer with 3 kids


New Member
May 25, 2014
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2010 Honda
I am new here but wanted to ask a quick question. We are a family of 5 and are wishing to get rid of our Honda van and move into something that is better in the snow and sportier. My question is, do any of you have a newer explorer and have 3 kids? We do not want to put three kids across the middle seats so one is always needing to climb in the back. How annoying will this be to consistently be lifting the seat to get in and out? Is there a captain chair option but then a buddy seat to be able to seat 7 if needed in any model?
Thanks for your help.

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Welcome to the Forum hojo3.:wavey:
There is no 'buddy' seat for the Explorer. You can get the 2nd row buckets with power fold and tumble. I have them on my MKT and assume the Explorer has the same system. Press a button and the bucket seat folds and tumbles forward. You then have to manually put it back in place but that is an easy job. I had a 2011 Explorer with a 2nd row bench, and you would have been hard pressed to seat 3 people on it since the middle seat is only about 11" wide. The centre console for the 2nd row is an option which quite a few members with children decided against getting for better access to the 3rd row. Without the console you really don't need to fold the buckets. Also, keep in mind that the 2nd row bucket seats do not have inboard armrests.


If you get the 2nd row buckets without a console, there is plenty of room for the kids to scoot thru to the 3rd row without lifting the 2nd row seats.

Do either of you know what years the captains chairs are available? It seems vague when you try to Google it. Thanks

Being in your shoes 5 months ago, I understand. We had a 2011 Odyssey and I wanted to blow it up. I didn't. In January we bought a Limited in Sunset and I loved it, but it had the bench. I have 2 boys and my mother in law (whom is with us more than not). My boys fought and it was horrible. Even with power fold seats I felt my sanity slipping away. When I had the first oil change last month, I test drove a Sport to kill time. I loved it. Hubby and I agreed with the right deal we will trade in this perfectly good Explorer for a new one. We did the trade last week, and what a difference. Love the seating....

My sister has a 3 year old, a 2 year old and 2 month old twins. Her seating is identical to my Sport and we agree on one thing, that's the best seating. I have black seating as does she....a must with kids. The bench is not a choice I would do again.

Good luck!

Do either of you know what years the captains chairs are available? It seems vague when you try to Google it. Thanks
Go to http://www.ford.com/ and build the model you want. You can then select the options for that model. By the way they are not captain's chairs. They are bucket seats. The only model that you cannot get them on, I believe, is the Base model.


AZ mom, so the sport has the bucket seats so your kids can pass through? We will probably be looking for a used one so we are trying to figure out all the specs so we can look for the right one. Thanks for your response.

Yes, that's correct. It reminds me of the Odyssey once we removed the middle seat of the second row. Which was the only perk I can recall that vehicle having. :)

My hubby is 6'3 and he can get back there no problem. Now would he stay there when we go to Disneyland, probably not. Depends if he comments about my driving. ;)

My sister can get past the infant carriers to reach and buckle the 2 & 3 year old, without too big of an issue - the girls are in the 3rd row. She has a 2012 Limited with Ecoboost.

My opinion is the 2nd row buckets are a must! Good luck with trying to find a used one, I know in Arizona that the 2nd row buckets are harder to find...even new. I saw a couple on Carmax before we bought the Sport, of course they would have to be delivered.

I will tell you that going from a Honda to a Ford was a no-brainier for me, wish I would have done it sooner! No regrets and no issues- just happiness and giggles of laughter. The Explorer turns on a dime, so much easier than the Honda!

I believe that the 2nd row bucket seats were an option starting in 2012 in the Limited. It looks like you could get it in 2013 in an XLT, too. I have 3 kids (ages 13, 11 and 8 ) and the 2nd row bench works fine because the older 2 can operate the 2nd row to flip it up and climb into the back. My mom and step dad travel with us on short (2-3 hr) trips to relatives and the bench is a must to carry 7 people.

lol, it's my mother in law who is cool, it's the father in law that I don't understand and should ride on top of the car....lol. When he comes out he has to have the best car rental, etc. good thing it's 2x a year. Let's put it this way, father in law doesn't know about Explorer or hubby's Mustang.

Thanks for the laugh!

We ordered bucket seats without console on ours as well. It's very convenient letting them get into the back without me having to do anything. We have 4 kids and no concern on space.

Have a question for those with 2nd row buckets and no console - we have a large dog that likes to ride right behind the front console when we fold down the 2nd row seat. I'm thinking that would not be possible in this configuration because of the gap, is that correct?

We were fairly set on getting a bench seat but do see some advantages when we have the kids in the vehicle to buckets... but want to figure out the other "kid" too.

With the buckets folded your dog would likely end up on the floor in the gap.
I had a bench in the Explorer and my two dogs would be in the back cargo area. With the MKT and no console, the one dog comes through the gap and ends up sitting in one of the bucket seats if they are not folded. I may have to come with some way to block the gap between the seats.



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Thanks Peter. Your pics helped confirm that we will get the bench. Definitely not a good config for our Lab.

Keep in mnd the pics I posted are of my 2014 MKT but I believe the Explorer has the same configuration without the 2nd row console. I have a picture of my previous 2011 with the seats folded, but it only is from the rear.



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I have 3 kids and an Explorer Sport with the bench seat. My kids are 12, 10, and 6 years old with the little one being in a booster seat still. They fit fine in the middle row and only climb in the back every once in a while.

If you have 3 kids and travel, having that kid in the 3rd row really cuts down on storage space.

I have five kids and a 2013 limited awd. The older boys like to ride in the third row. Tumbling the 2nd row is a little task but nothing in our life is easy or convenient, so....

Welcome to the Forum dudefish.:wavey:


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