After the Christmas presents were opened, and the fervour of the season ebbed out of our house, the euphoria swept away by too-many-new-things-to-play-with drunkenness, we set about packing. The packing was initiated by me, the mean dad who knows that his family will a) pack the morning of our trip and b) take until 11:00 AM to be done packing and c) force him to leave hours after the planned departure time. Trip, you ask? Yes, our annual winter road trip was upon us and we were headed to one of our Canadian happy places.

The packing was enforced and completed in time, which left our family with no excuses for leaving late. My goal was to have everyone packed and the vehicle loaded the night before. Utopian, yes, but imagine the possibilities! We got half-way to Utopia. Everyone was packed, but I didn’t manage to get everything into the vehicle that would ferry us on our trip – a 2016 Ford Explorer Limited.

In Limited trim, the Explorer is a roomy six-seater with two captain’s chairs in the second row. To be honest, this configuration is ideal for our family’s long hauls because it separates the kids but also makes it easy for them to get in and out of the third row. The aisle negates the need to flip the second row seating down to get to the back, and that makes for much more peaceful ingress and egress every time we get in or stop and everyone gets out. The heated second row seats have plenty of head and leg room and they slide fore and aft and recline. The back of centre console has a dual cupholder, a climate control system as well as two USB plugs and a 110V household plug for charging devices. For the record, there are additional USB plugs under the front armrest lid and at the front of the centre console along with a 12V charging plug – thank you Ford for getting this right!

Before we started ingressing (I have deemed this an acceptable word for 2016 since Webster’s has deemed the same for words like “WTF” and “eggcorn”), we had to load up and so I got up early the day of our trip and set about making the most of the space we had to work with. I have a wife and two daughters that each pack five times as much as my son and I do together. We stowed away one of the rear seats (it folds itself backwards into the deep trunk well, making for a nice flat half-trunk) and one of my kids sat in the other rearmost seat. The Explorer offers up a reasonable 595L cargo space behind the third row, which grows to 1,115L when you fold the third row down. With one of the third-row seats down, we found plenty of room for all our stuff.

Or, maybe ditch the kids? 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Road Trip

And we were off. Inside, the Explorer features a nice (but dark) cabin with some sweet touches like open-pore wood trim, a dual-pane moonroof overhead and heated and cooled perforated leather seats which we found very comfortable. They also have massaging functions that left my lower back and my butt feeling relaxed after hours on the open road.

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