Review update: The 2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum poses issue for car seats

March 29, 2020

The Ford Expedition Max Platinum is nearly 19 feet long with space for up to eight passengers or nearly 122 cubic feet of cargo. It is the definition of a Bed Bath & Beyond runner or family hauler, yet it’s not compatible with some top-rated car seats.

With a TCC Rating of 7.0 out of 10 the 2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum hits big with a massive interior, swift acceleration, and comfortable seats, but it poses a problem with car seats for small children, it’s hard to park, and it has a luxury-truck price tag.

I spent a week with the 2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum installing car seats, running the kids to the doctor’s office, and getting groceries to find how it serves families. Here’s where it hit and where it missed.

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

Hit: Room for the family

The interior of the Expedition Max is huge. Opting for the Max adds 12 inches of length to the Expedition, which is already massive. At 5-foot-10, I was able to stand hunched over inside the Expedition comfortably while strapping my kids into their car seats in the third row. Adults can comfortably sit in all three rows for a road trip while still hauling 34.3 cubic feet of gear behind the third row.

 

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

Miss: Popular car seats aren’t compatible

Optional on every Expedition Max model except the Platinum where they’re standard, the inflatable rear safety belts pose an issue for those who need to haul young kids: they aren’t compatible with some popular, top-rated car seats. Key brands like Chicco say their car seats should not be installed in seats with inflatable seat belts. Some brands like Britax that accommodate inflatable rear seat belts can have issues fitting or strapping in safely with these airbag-equipped belts. I was unable to correctly and safely get my daughter’s approved Britax car seat strapped into the second-row of the Expedition Max with the airbag-equipped seatbelts.

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

Hit: Power running boards

Every Expedition Max Platinum features power-deployable, body-colored running boards. These might not seem like a big deal, but they are an underrated and often overlooked feature that allows young kids to climb into a tall SUV like the Expedition unassisted. That makes parents’ lives easier.

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

Miss: The longest parking spots

The Expedition Max feels massive behind the wheel, all the time. The size—particularly its 19-foot-long length—can pose challenges in typical parking lots. The Expedition Max sticks out of many typical parking spots and its length can make getting into those spots in tight parking lots a challenge that requires two- or three-point turns.

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

Hit: Family room on wheels

The first two rows of seats of the Expedition Max Platinum are comfortable thanks to long, wide, soft, and thick bottoms. The seat backs are supportive, though smaller-than-average bodies may find them to be a little too wide. For long hauls, the front two bucket seats feature in-seat massagers that are louder than those in a Mercedes-Benz but are still helpful on long drives.

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

Miss: Car seats in the third row

The third row has plenty of space and three top-tether connection points, but some car seats won’t fit correctly. The fold-flat seats in the third row don’t allow for the headrests to be removed. For crash and safety reasons, the hard-mounted headrests sit slightly forward of the seat back. This prevented both of my highly rated car seats from sitting flush against the seat back as the head rests ended up resting against the car seat’s built-in head protection.

At $82,670 as tested, the 2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum is expensive and costs nearly as much as a 2020 Lincoln Navigator. The Expedition Max Platinum features luxury touches such as LED lighting, heated and cooled massaging front seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 12-speaker B&O audio system, 22-inch alloy wheels, and second-row captain’s chairs, but a head-up display, air suspension, and adaptive headlights aren’t offered.

The Expedition Max Platinum excels at hauling people and cargo without a flashy luxury badge, but for those that plan on carrying young kids in car seats, the leather-lined King Ranch or well-optioned Limited are better options due to the lack of standard rear seat airbag seatbelts.

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2020 Ford Expedition Max Platinum
Base price: $57,230
Price as tested: $84,065
EPA fuel economy: 16/21/18 mpg
The hits: Huge interior, comfortable seats, and easy-to-use controls
The misses: Platinum’s rear seatbelt airbags, price tag, and hard to park

2020
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2020
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