There are a mass of crossover SUVs right now and most of them are road cars with off-road pretensions. The Ford Expedition, though, is different. It’s a truck platform designed to lug big loads and tow up to 9,300 lbs, which has been civilized and turned into a luxury people carrier.
The Expedition is rugged, tough, and capable off-roader that just happens to have three rows of seats. It’s an overtly masculine truck for the outdoors types, anybody that needs to tow serious loads with their daily driver and big families. It’s a minivan, a truck, and a statement piece all in one.
You ride high above traffic in the Expedition and look down on the world. There’s a raft of active safety, too, but go wild with the options and this turns into a seriously expensive car.
Is it worth it? Yes, we think it might be.
Considering the size and off-road potential of this car, it is also surprisingly quick. The 375 bhp, 3.5-liter V6 turbo engine, unbridled to 400 bhp in the Platinum, can propel this leviathan to 60 mph in just seven seconds. It is not a cheap car by any stretch of the imagination and it starts at $51,695, which buys the XLT. This model comes with all the engine and towing capacity, but few of the frills.
The XLT is the only car that Ford offers with the off-road package, which is a serious combination of two-speed transfer case, off-road shock absorbers, an electronic LSD and all-terrain tires.
The Limited is $10,000 more and offers a 4G hotspot, enhanced Sync Connect infotainment system and the usual touches like bigger wheels and color-coded body parts. The Platinum is $72,710 before you hit the options list, which puts it head-to-head with some very serious cars. It does come with a lot of this equipment as standard, though.
A 10-speed automatic is a new addition and should mean that the big Expedition is always in its powerband, but it is straying in to rarefied territory with the Expedition.
With 370 bhp and 470 lb/ft of torque, you’d think this twin-turbo V6 engine could be really thirsty. Stop-Start technology, turbocharging a downsized engine, and a series of other tricks have helped the Ford grab the best in class figures when it comes to fuel economy.
The rear-drive truck returns 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. You pay a small penalty for four-wheel-drive, as you’d expect, so think carefully if you want your Expedition to have the bite to back up its off-road look.
Safety and Infotainment Features
This massive battle bus barged its way to a five-star NHTSA crash test rating as this big and imposing Ford offers some serious safety tech. You will have to pay for most of it, however.
Blind spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert are all part of their own safety package on the options list, and they are not cheap. You will have to spend more than $5,500 on the 202A Equipment package and you can also add a 360-degree camera that links to the infotainment system and helps you place the car in tight spots.
If you want adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warnings and lane departure warnings then you have to pay even more. The Driver Assistance package is tech that could prove a lifesaver, so it’s worth the additional expense. This level of support pushes the price of the Expedition towards the designer labels like Porsche and Cadillac.
The Sync 3 infotainment system has Bluetooth and voice activation. It is also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ready and the eight-inch screen is a star of in-car tech. Plus, there are other cool touches, like two separate TVs in the rear linked to Sling TV through the car’s Wi-Fi hotspot. Again, it’s part of a pricey, near $2000 Rear Entertainment package.
The Expedition is a luxury car and the interior trim reflects it, especially the seats that resemble lounge room recliners in the front and you can order captain’s chairs for the second row. The second and third row can fold totally flat for 104.6 cubic feet of storage space.
How It Stacks up Against the Competition
Obvious rivals include the Chevrolet Suburban and the GMC Yukon, which are basically carbon copies. The Ford Expedition beats them hands down on towing capacity and cargo space. In fact, it’s the most efficient car in this class. The Suburban and Yukon somehow find a way to slot nine seats in, though, which could make a difference.
The Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada are both solid contenders but fall short when compared to the Ford Expedition. The truck base gives the Expedition a real purpose in life and it could haul families, boats, and everything in between.
The Expedition’s greatest threat comes from the Lincoln Navigator. The Lincoln is just as adept, takes just as many people, and it pumps out 450 bhp. It’s a leap forward on the interior, too, with a cleaner and fuss-free option alternative to the button-heavy Ford.
When you’re getting into this price bracket then the number of seats or towing capacity won’t always be the dealbreaker. If you’re simply shopping for a prestige SUV, then we’re straying into Porsche Cayenne territory here. The Volvo XC90 is another option that comes loaded with safety tech and the Cadillac Escalade is a more expensive and much more spectacular car.
- Aggressive off-road styling that will win fans.
- Massive towing capacity.
- Most fuel-efficient in its class.
- Eight seats make it a high-riding minivan.
- Optional active safety kit is the real deal.
- The best model is Porsche Cayenne money.
- Basic kit is sparse, and you’ll hammer the options.
- Seriously competent rival in the Lincoln Navigator.
- No special engine to take the model into war with the biggest names.