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The biggest SUVs on the planet have resisted extinction--but it doesn't mean they've gone without meaningful change. Just when it almost looked like Ford had written off its full-size truck-based SUV completely, the Expedition has been brought fully up to the expectations of a new decade of SUV shoppers with a higher-mileage turbo V-6. a new continuous-damping suspension system for more comfort and quiet, and cosmetic improvements all around.
Looking at the Expedition’s toughest rivals, it’s rising to the challenge just in the nick of time—now that full-size GM SUVs (the Chevrolet Tahoe and Silverado, and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL), have been given quieter, more stylish interiors, more features, and a fuel-saving engine lineup.
The 2015 Ford Expedition no longer shares a frame with the Ford F-150, now that the F-150 has gone in a radical new direction, with lightweight aluminum construction. So while the F-150 has become flatter, more planar, and angular, the Expedition still has a softer and more streamlined look—one that's essentially been intact since 2007. The new model year brings only a thick new chrome strip across the back, an updated grille, wheels up to 22 inches, and plush new interior trim, as well as a more distinctive Platinum model.
Inside, the biggest news is the MyFord Touch infotainment system, with its eight-inch screen; two new, smaller full-color 4.2-inch screens flanking the steering wheel; and a clean new center-stack design to accommodate it.
The big news, however, is that Ford is forgetting about the V-8 and instead installing its EcoBoost V-6. The power's not explosive, but the Expedition is now a truly quick vehicle, despite its mass and height. The 365-horsepower turbo six even makes good, growly noises, while maintaining the SUV's strong 9,200-pound tow rating. It helps Ford in the EPA derby too: the new SUV is rated as high as 16/22 mpg (up from 14/20 mpg with 2WD).
Powertrain is only part of it, though. Ford has also added a continuously damping system to the Expedition—for the first time ever on a Ford-brand vehicle. In the 2015 Expedition it offers three modes—comfort, normal, and sport—and along with new electric power steering, only boosts the Expedition's reputation as a brute ute that rides and handles better than most of its rivals. It's a shame the new adaptive shocks only are offered on the most expensive versions, in a $2,180 package.
The two lengths of the Expedition—standard and EL—carry over for 2015. With the Expedition EL you gain 14.8 inches longer overall, with longer rear fenders and glass. It's one of the biggest SUVs on the planet, frankly, and its wheelbase of 131 inches is longer than the full length of either a Smart fortwo or Mitsubishi i-MiEV. With either version you get an almost van-like interior and loads of passenger space in the first two rows, but cargo space is more abundant and third-row access is much easier in the EL. Just beware that you’ll pay the price in maneuverability and parking ease.
The Expedition has earned excellent crash-test scores from the NHTSA, while the IIHS hasn't yet tested it. A rearview camera is now standard, and blind-spot monitors are available.
Four trim levels are available: XLT, Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum. Expeditions come with at least the expected power features, Bluetooth, the rearview camera, and USB ports, with a starting price of about $44,000. Platinum models start as high as $61,000 and can be fitted with a wine-color Brunello leather with tuxedo stripes and French seams; seven-color LED ambient lighting; Ford truck apps for towing; and a ten-speaker, 700-watt Sony sound system.
- Stronger, higher-mpg engine
- Should ride smoother and quieter than ever
- Good third-row space in EL model
- Plush King Ranch interior
- Drives smaller than it looks
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- It's still an eight-year-old design
- Not easy to park, even with rearview camera
- Gas mileage has made gains, but not big ones