The Ford Expedition is a full-size sport-utility available in two lengths and powered by a twin turbo V6 engine. It’s a good choice among SUVs capable of towing a heavier trailer. Tow ratings reach 9,200 pounds on some models.
Expedition was last redesigned for 2008 and revamped for 2015 with mechanical upgrades, including an optional adaptive suspension. Most notably, Ford dismissed the traditional V8 engine in favor of a turbocharged V6.
For 2016, Ford Expedition gets a new SYNC 3 infotainment system. Working through an eight-inch touchscreen, it replaces the MyFord Touch controls.
Expeditions remain available in two lengths: standard and EL (extended-length). Expedition EL rides on a 131-inch wheelbase and is 14.8 inches longer overall than a standard Expedition. The rear fender are is elongated, making access to the third row a lot easier in the EL.
All Expeditions get the same 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6. In addition to generating 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the V6 growls pleasantly. Despite its mass and heft, the Expedition can accelerate quickly.
Expedition is EPA-rated at 16/22 mpg City/Highway, or 15/20 mpg with four-wheel drive. Expedition EL models weigh more and are rated at 15/21 mpg with rear-wheel drive, 14/20 with four-wheel drive.
Piloting an Expedition is pleasant, with surprisingly commendable road manners. At times, it can feel almost like being in a crossover SUV. Expeditions are big, heavy vehicles, however, so maneuverability isn’t a strong point, and parking isn’t easy, even with the rearview camera. We recommend getting the adaptive suspension.
Ford’s adaptive suspension offers three modes: sport, normal, and comfort. However, it’s only an option on top models.
The Expedition has earned excellent crash-test scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: five-star overall, and in separate tests. Rollover resistance is the exception, with only a three-star rating (four-star for 4WD).
Ford Expedition comes in four trim levels, in regular or extended-length form, with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Expedition XLT ($45,435) and Expedition EL XLT ($48,145) come with power-adjustable pedals, cloth seating, front/rear climate control, satellite radio, SYNC, Bluetooth, AppLink, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and 18-inch tires. Major options include leather and a power tailgate.
Expedition Limited ($55,145) and Expedition EL Limited ($57,795) add new SYNC 3 infotainment, perforated-leather heated/ventilated front seats, automatic climate control, heated second-row seats, woodgrain trim, power-folding third-row seat, front parking sensors, and 20-inch wheels. Options include a sunroof, navigation, and powered running boards.
King Ranch ($59,375) and EL King Ranch ($62,025) get their own untreated leather interior, which requires upkeep, as well as a power tailgate, remote start, and blind-spot monitoring. Options include 22-inch wheels, a load-leveling rear suspension, and second-row bucket seats. Platinum ($60,335) and EL Platinum ($62,985) are loaded.
Standard safety equipment includes side airbags, a rearview camera, and Trailer Sway Control. Blind-spot monitoring is optional, other active-safety features are not.
Expedition has an unabashed utilitarian appearance. Because of its steel structure, the Expedition is no longer related to the aluminum F-150 pickup. Even so, with their blunt front end, massive grilles, square angles and numerous straight edges, both clearly belong to the same truck family. At the same time, styling details convey a softer, relatively streamlined theme, such as the wide chrome strip across the rear.
Interior room nearly matches that of a full-size van. With the third row raised, a standard Expedition has almost 20 cubic feet of cargo space, expanding to 108.3 if second-row seats are down. An EL offers a total of 130.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
Front occupants get comfortable captain’s chairs, with power-adjustable pedals. Even smaller drivers shouldn’t have trouble finding a good position, helped by a high-mounted seat that provides a fine view ahead.
Leg and knee space in the first and second rows is expansive. Adults can even manage in the third row, at least for short journeys, though arriving there may demand some less-than-graceful maneuvers.
Most models have switched to SYNC 3 infotainment control, with its eight-inch screen on the center stack, trimmed in metal and woodgrain.
Past Expeditions have suffered limited visibility. Now, glass areas are taller, minimizing obstructions.
Crisp handling and light, but precise, electric power steering belie the Expedition’s mammoth dimensions, making it quite easy to drive. Especially in upper trim levels, ride quality is pleasing.
Ample power and response from the twin-turbo V6 is another unexpected bonus. Not only does the engine deliver copious power at lower speeds, but it has a distinctive sound quality that many drivers are likely to appreciate. The 6-speed automatic transmission is both smooth-shifting and responsive to the gas pedal.
Expedition is impressively manageable given its size. The adaptive suspension performs effectively in controlling so much weight, delivering a luxury-SUV riding experience. Expeditions with the standard suspension aren’t likely to be quite as easygoing when pavement turns rougher. This is a vehicle that’s better on the road than off.
The Ford Expedition is a comfortable full-size SUV that can pull a trailer. Platinum and King Ranch versions are authentic luxury vehicles, but you can still get a basic XLT edition for actual work.
Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.