Performance » 6
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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
cruises over hill and dale, around curves, into and out of driveways and parking spaces with the ease of a much smaller vehicle
performance when loaded up can be sluggish when swift acceleration is needed, especially at higher speeds such as when merging or passing on the freeway
alert 6-speed automatic transmission is always in the right gear
the V-8 can’t move the Expedition with the same gusto that most of the Expedition’s competition enjoys
Car and Driver
A significant contributor to the Expedition's confidence-inspiring ways is its steering system, which allows the SUV to maneuver through parking garages and mall parking lots with relative ease.
It outperforms expectations with steering and ride quality, and with overall road manners that belie its body-on-frame heft. But ultimately, the Expedition loses ground to some other big SUVs because its V-8 engine isn't as powerful.
The Expedition, in fact, doesn't offer any choice in drivetrains. The only engine is a 5.4-liter V-8 with 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that's smooth and responsive, the powertrain delivers the goods to either the rear wheels or to all four wheels. With other full-size SUVs approaching 400 hp in standard form, the Expedition's numbers suggest exactly how it feels on the road--acceptable under medium engine loads, then progressively more strained as more people and cargo enter the equation. It's capable of towing up to 9,100 pounds, but that kind of heavy-duty durability shouldn't be confused with brisk performance.
Despite its size, driving the Expedition is relatively easy—thanks to light but precise steering, and a suspension that does a great job reeling all that weight in. The ride of the Expedition is certainly no match for the newer generation of car-based crossovers, but it rides better than other body-on-frame trucks. The suspension does a splendid job of soaking up irregularities while keeping the back wheels glued to the road over rough surfaces, with none of the nervous hopping that characterizes solid-axle designs.
The net product is a mammoth SUV that doesn't always feel mammoth from behind the wheel. The only major criticism, other than the lack of engine power, is the Expedition's rather spongy brake feel and plentiful nosedive in hard stops.
Somewhat shy on power, the 2012 Ford Expedition has fine handling for such a large vehicle.