Ford Explorer Cargo Space Specs

Whether you are packing for a weekend away or heading to the supply store for that big home improvement project, the new 2021 Ford Explorer has cargo space for you. The engineers at Ford Motor Company have designed the Explorer to carry six or seven people with plenty of cargo space. We've done the research to answer how much cargo space Ford's Explorer offers you.

The 2021 Ford Explorer has 87.2 cubic feet of cargo space when all rear passenger seats are folded flat into the floor. The full cargo space specs are:

  • Volume behind first-row seats - 87.2 cubic feet
  • Length behind first-row seats - 83.9 inches
  • Beltline width - 59 inches
  • Wheelhousing width - 48.1 inches
  • Length behind second-row seats - 49.8 inches
  • Volume behind the second-row seat - 47.9 cubic feet
  • Length behind third-row seats - 20.8 inches
  • Volume behind third-row seats - 18.2 cubic feet
  • Cargo space height - 32.8 inches

The Ford engineers have put a lot of work into designing the 2021 Explorer to give multiple cargo space options to solve your hauling needs. What is the Cargo Management Area System? Do the passenger seats fold flat? Can you carry a full-size mattress or sheets of plywood? What about child car seats and how many? Keep reading for the answers to these and other questions.

New model Ford Explorer suv at a dealership. Ford Explorer Cargo Space Specs

What are the Cargo Space Options?

The 2021 Ford Explorer comes in six versions, from the Standard to the Platinum model. The different models all have seats that fold flat and four cargo hooks in the back for attaching straps or bungee cords. 

The Standard and XLT have cloth seats with carpeting. The Limited, ST, and Platinum models offer leather seating with carpeted floors. 


The base model of the 2021 Ford Explorer comes with two rows of passenger seats, folding into the floor making a smooth surface. The second-row has 35/30/35 inch bench seats. The third-row has 50/50 inch bench seats. 

The XLT through Platinum models come standard with two captain seats in the second-row. You can buy these models with a 35/30/35 second-row bench if you choose. The third-row is the 50/50 inch bench seats.  

Do the seats fold flat in a Ford Explorer?


All of the seats in the second-row and the third-row fold flat. With the base or XLT models, the seats fold down manually. With the Limited, SLT, or Platinum models, the second-row seats have E-Z entry and PowerFold® Seating. All of the seats can be lowered separately. The PowerFold® Seating buttons are on the shoulder of the seats.

The PowerFold® Seating for the third-row bench seats gives you the option to lower the back of the seats, stopping them at any angle you may want for your cargo needs. Or you can power them flat. The third-row control buttons are mounted in the frame of the rear door supports. 

Do Car Seats Work in a Ford Explorer?


The 2021 Ford Explorer is designed to carry a growing family. Car seats can either be attached using the traditional lap and shoulder belt or, if the car seat is designed for the LATCH system, it can be attached with those anchors.

LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children and is a car seat industry development to secure a car seat in a vehicle easier. The Ford Explorer has the  LATCH system on two seats in the second-row and on both seats in the third-row. The LATCH car seat has tethers built into it, which correspond to built-in anchors in the vehicle's seats. These tethers have easy-to-use clips that attach to the anchors in the Explorer.

What is the Cargo Management System on 2021 Ford Explorer?

Ford Explorer V6 Plug-in Hybrid stopped on a road in mountain scenery. Ford Explorer Cargo Space Specs

To organize your stuff in the cargo space, you may add the interior package called the Cargo Management Area System. This package provides a rubberized protector mat for the rear cargo well, a cargo net, movable dividers, and a reversible load floor fitting over the rear cargo well. The reversible load floor has carpet on one side and vinyl on the other side. The movable dividers stick to the carpet side to hold stuff in place.  

How is cargo space calculated?


The cargo space for the Ford Explorer and other Ford vehicles is figured by multiplying the Length by width by height to get the cubic foot measurements. With the passenger seats folded flat, the total cargo space is 87.2 cubic feet. Folding only the third-row seats flat, the Ford Explorer has a great 47.9 cubic feet of hauling space.  

You may see in advertisements that the Ford Explorer has 152.7 cubic feet of space. This is the volume for the entire vehicle, including space around the two front seats. This is not a good measurement for figuring cargo space.

When comparing the Ford Explorer with other SUVs for their cargo space, it is important to know that the six major car companies do not all use the same standards to figure the cubic feet of cargo space.

Can you fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood in a Ford Explorer?

In the 2021 Ford Explorer, you can fit a stack of 4x8 sheet plywood flat with the two rows of seats folded flat. The space between the two wheelhousings is 48.1 inches giving you an inch of clearance for the lumber.   

These 4x8 sheets of plywood will stick out about a foot from the back.  The Ford Explorer has a liftgate that can be powered to stop halfway up, holding the plywood sheets in place. Or you can use straps connected to the cargo hooks to secure your lumbar to the cargo space.

Will a full-sized mattress fit in Ford Explorer?

A full-sized mattress will fit in the cargo space with the two rows of seats folded flat. A full-sized mattress is 54 inches wide by 75 inches long by 11 inches high.  The cargo space is 83.9 inches long, so the entire mattress will fit with the liftgate closed. Unlike the plywood sheets, the mattress is too wide to fit flat between the wheelhousings, so you will need to prop one side on top of the wheelhousing. 

Does the 2021 Ford Explorer Come with a Tow Hitch?

back view of a Ford Explorer Plug-in hybrid IAA

The new Ford Explorer has towing power but does not come with the tow hitch standard. It is easily added to any model by adding the Class III Trailer Tow Package. A Class III trailer hitch can pull up to 5,000 lbs and can support a tongue weight of 500 lbs.   

On the Ford Explorer, the Class III Trailer Tow Package includes a Class III frame-mounted hitch with trailer connectors. The Standard, XLT, and Limited models have a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinders engine which has a good towing power of a  maximum of 5,300 lbs.

If you need more towing power, the Ford Explorer ST and Platinum models have the 3.07L EcoBoost 6-cylinders engine, which can pull 5,600 lbs.  

Can You Add a Roof Rack?

glossy metallic silver ford explorer on showroom

The Ford accessories store offers by Thule or Yakima:

  • Roof rack crossbars
  • Roof rack cargo box
  • Roof rack cargo basket
  • Roof rack ski and snowboard carriers
  • The THULE-Lift-Assist-Kayak carrier
  • Roof rack kayak, paddleboard, or canoe carriers
  • Roof rack awning
  • Hitch-mounted bike carrier for two to four bikes

Summarybeautiful day on the mountains and a ford explorer


The 2021 Ford Explorer is a cargo workhorse. With the second and third-row seats folded flat, you can carry 87.2 cubic feet of weekend fun, home improvement material, or anything in between. This is 83.9 inches in length from the back of the driver's seat to the liftgate with 59 inches of beltline width and 48.1 inches between the wheelhousings. The Ford Explorer is ready for all your cargo-hauling needs.

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