First introduced for the 1997 model year, the Expedition was the first full-size SUV Ford sold with a 4-door body. The Expedition is currently in its fourth generation, which made it's debut in in February 2017 just ahead of it's Chicago Auto Show debut as a 2018 model. It is available as either a 7 or 8 passenger SUV that comes in regular or an extended length, known as the Expedition MAX. The Expedition Max is one of the largest vehicles on the road measuring at 221.9" in length and 79.9" wide. Despite its grandiose size, it is very easy and comfortable to drive. With technologies such as power telescoping and tilt steering wheel, power adjustable foot pedals and seats the Expedition can quickly accommodate drivers of all sizes. Available trim levels include the XLT, Limited, King Ranch (new for 2020) and Platinum which are all offered in either regular or Max versions. All base models come with standard equipment such as a tri-zone electronic temperature control, Ford Co-Pilot 360, trailer sway cotrol, reverse sensing system, FordPass Connect, SYNC 3 with an 8" LCD Capacitive touchscreen , enhanced voice recognition communications and more.
The most notable changes for 2020 include the addition of Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of driver aids to the standard equipment list and the availability of the popular King Ranch trim package. Ford Co-Pilot 360 includes features such lane-keeping assist, driver alert, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, dynamic brake support, pre-collision assist with auto emergency braking and BLIS (blind spot information system) with cross traffic alert. This standard package is nice for Ford buyers who no longer have to add safety / driver assist technology features as options to their vehicles. Also new for 2020 is the Kind Ranch package which comes with 22-inch six-spoke machine-faced wheels, 360-camera with split view and front/rear washer, Del Rio leather-trimmed seats in all rows, and two-tone paint package, adaptive cruise control and a voice-activated touchscreen. Paint colors were also updated to include burgundy velvet metallic, desert gold, iconic silver, rapid red metallic and star white metallic. The burgundy velvet metallic on my test car was one of the most common compliments both in person and in photos.
Styling of the 2002 Expedition Max is contemporary and still looks fresh going into its third model year. The styling has a contemporary ruggedness to it with a front fascia that includes a grille that meshes into the headlight assemblies with a brushed silver look which is a refreshing change from all the blacked out grilles we've been seeing. Although, expect a black accent package to come from Ford. The new Expedition also has a higher beltline with slightly smaller windows that give it a luxurious look and profile. Ford also does a great job hiding its running boards, which automatically drop out of the side when you grab the door handle and fold back into the side of the truck when the doors close. Around back, you'll notice that same brushed silver strip with the Expedition name across it clearly identifying the SUV. Overall, the design is clean and maintains the original boxy shape of SUVs that started it all.
The Expedition comes with rear wheel drive standard on all trim levels and with 4-wheel drive as an available option. A standard turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine nets 375 horsepower and 480-pound feet of torque. If you upgrade to the Platinum trim level it will add 25 horsepower totaling 400. The engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic with SelectShift. Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is an impressive 9,300 lbs. Opt for the Heavy-Duty trailer tow package if you're looking to max out the towing capacity. Curb weight on the massive Expedition Max is 5,794 when equipped with four-wheel drive. Many may question the lack of V8 in a big truck like this, but the V6 performs well. With a V6 under the hood, the Expedition nets 16 MPG city, 21 MPG highway with a combined 18 MPG average. With primarily suburban driving, I netted 17 MPG for a week of driving. The 27.8 gallon tank in the MAX gave me around 472 miles with a full tank.
Ford has done a great job making the Expedition a perfect weekend getaway vehicle. The ride is comfortable and the suspension is smooth, attributes not typically associated with a truck-based vehicle. The SUV handles well on the highway navigating traffic with minimal lean. Inside, the cabin is surprisingly quiet and the interior amenities are top notch. The seats offer great support and are extremely comfortable. Upon adjusting the seats in the Platinum model, I even discovered a seat massaging feature for both the driver and passenger. The feature was a pleasant surprise and was easy to adjust on the 8-inch infotainment screen. Additional features such as the panoramic vista roof extends above the front two rows of the vehicle and slides open to bring the outdoors in. In addition to the comfort features, you'll find plenty of space inside the Expedition. My kids likened the inside to a small apartment with all the room they had. There is plenty of leg room in all three rows, in fact even adults can sit comfortably in the third row of the Expedition Max. with up to 121 cubic feet of storage, there is room for just about everything you need for your weekend adventure. With the second and third row folded flat, the Expedition Max easily went from family hauler to a work truck as drywall and lumber fit in with ease. Whatever your plans with the Expedition, it's bound to accommodate.
The Expedition is loaded with smart technology that utilizes Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system. SYNC 3 now includes enhanced voice recognition communications and Ford's entertainment system. Standard is an 8" LCD capacitive touchscreen in the center stack with swipe capability, pinch-to-zoom capability is also included when equipped with the available voice-activated touchscreen navigation system. SYNC 3 is pretty intuitive and easy to get used to and responds well to inputs and swipe gestures. The integrated system nicely blends Android Auto and Apple Car Play and also features 911 Assist and AppLink. It features 6 available USB ports and a center console wireless charger to keep all devices charged and ready to use. While the wireless charger is a great feature, I found the placement rather odd in the center stack compared to other vehicles. If you're someone who likes to crank up the music, Ford offers a 12 speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system standard on Limited & Platinum models and dual headrest rear-seat entertainment system to keep the back-seat passengers entertained. And with available Ford Pass Connect in vehicle 4G LTE WI-FI.... You can stream your favorite Netflix show from the backseat or even watch live TV utilizing a slingbox.
Prices start at $52,810 for the XLT and can climb to a starting price of $76,965 for the Platinum MAX. Add in some options like 4-wheel drive, the towing package, and rear seat entertainment and you're looking at nearly an $87,000 vehicle. My test Expedition Max (pictured) came in just under $85,000. Competition for the Expedition includes the Chevrolet Tahoe & Suburban, GMC Yukon, Nissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia. Ford has been king of the segment in recent years, although an all-new offering from the GM brands may have Ford looking closely at any mid-cycle refreshes.