The Car Connection Ford Expedition Overview
The Ford Expedition is a full-size SUV with some of the highest towing and hauling ratings in the Ford empire. It's designed to carry big families and bring along their belongings, when those needs can't be met by a more user-friendly crossover.
The Expedition is offered in both short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase (Max) versions.
A brand-new Expedition bowed for the 2018 model year. It shares the Ford F-150's aluminum-intensive construction and twin-turbo V-6 powertrain.
With the Expedition, Ford is equipped to take on vehicles such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, the Nissan Armada, and the Toyota Sequoia.
MORE: Read our 2018 Ford Expedition review
The new Ford Expedition
The newest Ford Expedition that went on sale in late 2017 boasts new features to match its new body. Under the hood, Ford planted its 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 to handle propulsion duties, while the automaker's advanced 10-speed automatic handles shifting duties. They combined for best-in-class towing figures for the full-size SUV of 9,300 pounds. That rivals some full-size trucks in capability. Base output is 375 hp, but special versions make up to 400 hp.
Like the outgoing model, the new Expedition comes in standard- and long-wheelbase variants, the latter being called Expedition Max. The interior still boasts sitting for up to eight, including driver, and sports some of the latest interior tech including multiple USB power ports, upgraded audio, and Ford's latest infotainment system.
The cavernous cabin sports 172 cubic feet of space in Max versions, and behind the third-row seat it has 36 cubic feet of space. The seats fold flat, and the middle row slides fore and aft. It can even be flipped forward to access the third row without removing a car seat. The third row has a power-folding option, and is suitable for adults.
Like the F-150 on which it's based, the Expedition uses more aluminum in its construction that makes the SUV lighter overall. Those figures yield slightly better fuel economy in the high teens on the EPA combined cycle.
The Expedition offers a huge range of equipment from blind-spot monitors to forward-collision warnings. Comfort features on the list include heated and ventilated seats, six USB ports, 15 cupholders, and a 12-speaker B&O Play audio system. A loaded Expedition can cost more than $80,000.
Introduced for the 1997 model year, the Expedition entered its second generation in 2003, with the third-generation version arriving in 2007. The 2015 model brought further upgrades to the third-generation SUV; some might even consider it the fourth generation since so much was changed.
At first, the Expedition was an indirect follow-up to the old Ford Bronco, a two-door 'ute that was sold through the 1991 model year. Similarly based on truck running gear but offering an extra set of doors, the Expedition proved popular even while Ford's smaller Explorer saw its sales collapse in the wake of a major tire recall.
The first-generation Expedition was produced from 1997 through 2002 and was built on the F-Series platform of the day. The first Expedition could seat up to nine passengers. Buyers had a choice of either a 4.6-liter V-8 or a 5.4-liter V-8, both coupled to a 4-speed automatic. For the 2000 model year, the smaller engine's power output of 215 horsepower rose to 240 hp; the larger V-8 saw power rise from 230 hp to 260 hp at the same time. The upgrades coincided with revised front- and rear-end styling, the addition of side airbags as an option, and the availability of rear parking sensors.
The second-generation Expedition was sold from 2003 to 2006. With its upgraded architecture came an independent rear suspension that vastly improved the SUV's ride quality. It also helped increase cargo space in the rear, enabling Ford to add a power-folding third-row seat. This Expedition's styling was smoothed and refined almost to the point of anonymity, especially inside, though the impression of quality construction grew with better-fitting trim. The drivetrains—including available four-wheel drive—carried over, but in the 2005 model year the smaller V-8 was dropped. In the same year, Ford added a new version of stability control with anti-roll programming.
The current, third-gen Expedition went on sale in 2007 wearing a much more straight-edged suit of sheet metal than its predecessors. At launch, it was powered by a 310-hp, 5.4-liter V-8, and in its first makeover it received a 6-speed automatic transmission. With 365 pound-feet of torque and a heavy-duty towing package offered, this Expedition could initially tow up to 9,200 pounds. It also came in an "EL" edition for the first time, measuring almost 15 inches longer than the standard SUV, with 24 cubic feet of additional cargo room.
The most extensive updates of the third-generation Expedition's platform came in the 2015 model year. Ford gave the model an updated look to match the 2014 F-150's, while the corporate twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 were fitted as the Expedition's only engine offering. The Expedition was brought fully up to the expectations of the latest group of SUV shoppers with a new continuous-damping suspension system for more comfort and quiet, and there were cosmetic improvements all around. This version is still technically part of the third generation, although it received a heavily revised interior, the new sheet metal, and the new engine.
Ford launched a Platinum edition of its big SUV with the new 2015 model. This version sits above the previously range-topping Limited trim and includes a fancier leather interior in unique colors, inching ever more toward the accommodations found in its Lincoln Navigator sibling.
For 2016, Ford updated the Expedition's infotainment system to its much better, much quicker Sync 3 system. In 2017, it made adaptive dampers and 22-inch wheels standard on the Platinum model.
Between 2007 and the big changes for 2015, Ford added a rearview camera, flex-fuel capability, a capless fuel-filler system, and the SYNC entertainment system, which connects drivers to phone and audio functions via Bluetooth and also controls connected media devices.