Ford Authority

2020 Ford Explorer Seats Were Designed For Long Commutes By ‘Dr. Comfort’

For the most part, people spend a lot of time behind the wheel, whether it be sitting in rush hour traffic or taking road trips. And that’s where the humble automotive seat comes into play. Most of us know all too well the difference seat quality and design can make, and Ford is well aware of this, too. And that’s why the 2020 Ford Explorer seats were actually designed by a guy nicknamed “Dr. Comfort.”

Mike Kolich, Ford Global Seating and Comfort Team

That man is Mike Kolich, who oversees the Ford global seating and comfort team. Together, they came up with the new sleek and stylish front seats in the 2020 Ford Explorer, which maintain the stringent Blue Oval standard for shape and softness, but do so with a less cumbersome design that frees up space for second-row passengers.

“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,” said Kolich, whose Ph.D. in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering with an emphasis on seat comfort has earned him his nickname. “As engineers, we’re thrilled with this new seat, but really it’s what our customers say and think that matters.”

Kolich’s latest design manages to maintain a high level of comfort while also eliminating some of the bulk by reducing the thickness of the seat back and shoulder area. A V-shaped design provides torso support for a wider range of body types and sizes. In the Explorer, available 8 and 10 way adjustable front-row seats cool occupants using a ventilation feature that draws warm air from the body rather than pushing cold air through seat perforations.

New front-row back panels allow for a more sculpted appearance and improved second-row knee room. Meanwhile, the 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 an exhaustive series of more than 100 in-lab tests, including initial softness and hardness distribution tests that use proven metrics to validate that the seats deliver what customers expect.

“Our lab testing has changed the way we operate,” Kolich said. “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, and we know what people expect.” Spoken like a true doctor, we’d say.

We’ll have more on Ford’s innovative new Explorer soon, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Explorer news and continuous Ford news coverage.


Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Tim

    The doctor must have been on vacation when they designed the seats for the Explorer ST. An hour drive in mine and I need therapy. And there’s virtually no lateral support in seats put in a supposedly sport model.

  2. Lori

    I had a 2011 Ford Explorer Limited and I traded it for a 2020 Ford Explorer Limited and the seats in the 2020 are awful! The seats in the 2011 were much better. Talked with the dealer and made a complaint with Ford and there’s nothing that they want to do. Wish I would of never bought it! Can’t stand to drive or ride in it so I’m currently driving my husband’s car while we take the car to a Auto Trim business to have the front seats re-done and of course at my cost. Lost a Ford owner here!


      Hello Lori
      did you get your seats revamped? and if so, what was the outcome ? I am considering taking the financial plunge and having them custom interior / padding/ even possible custom panel sewn in the middle to eliminate the seam that drives into my back… it feels like metal driving into me. My dealer replaced the cushion?? why . there is a spring grinding into my back… the cushion is not going to solve that issue … and MOST importantly they did not reassemble the seat correctly. Now the plastic trim is falling off . the seat is not clipped in together correctly. The back hard plastic cover is barley holding on to the seat. Thoughts?


    The driver seat in the ford explorer XLT is horrible for comfort. The seat bottom is angled back.. the front is up.. rear is down. not a “flat/ level” seat. It feels like sitting in a “hole” .. a rocking chair. .. applies pressure on the under / back of the thigh. cuts off blood flow and makes the leg cramp or fall “asleep”. This is a SUV not a NASA rocket ! Why is the front of the seat not adjustable to allow the drive to make the seat bottom level horizontal?”
    also, the seat back of the drivers seat feels like there is a spring protruding in the back of the driver. the seam of the leather seat grinds in the drivers back. why seams? why not just a nice smooth panel boot to the top in the center? . The leather is soft and nice. Ruined by the seams.
    I also own a 2020 Fusion hybrid energi titanium.. the seat is the same… “sport” . terribly uncomfortable for a trip more than 30 min. these seats actually cause back and neck issues

  4. Grant D Morgan

    I concur 110% with comments above. Seats are so so uncomfortable and make my back ache. My wife’s car, 2020 and we leased it, which now is very advantageous to buyout since prices have skyrocketed. My wife still says she won’t buy it just because of the seats!

    I have an 18 F150 and those seats are perfect! Come on Ford, do something?!

  5. Greg hollon

    Explorer ST here and the rear of my drivers seat doesn’t recline enough to get me from being humped up like a monkey screwing a football …it’s pretty and it’s fairly quick but I hate this thing

  6. Tenrten

    I have a 2021 Ford explorer ST the driver seat feels like I’m sitting on a steel beam I have an appointment this coming Tuesday extremely uncomfortable feels like there’s no padding whatsoever also when your weight shifts sometimes going around a bend you can hear something moving not all the time though.. anybody else have issues with the comfort of the seats?


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