2019 Ford Expedition Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
October 18, 2018

A new full-size SUV benchmark, the 2019 Ford Expedition tops almost every category from towing to third-row comfort.

The 2019 Ford Expedition is a category-killer. It weds excellent performance with pure and clean styling and substantial cargo and people space, whether in standard or long-wheelbase Expedition Max form.

Offered in XLT, Limited, and Platinum trim, we give the 2019 Expedition a 6.3 out of 10, with strong scores in utility and safety, and predictably, a low score in gas mileage. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Hewn from aluminum–the body panels, at least–the latest Ford Expedition joins pickup truck and SUV styling themes, to excellent effect. It’s essentially an F-150 with three rows of seats, after all, and the cohesive wagon shape looks even better than Ford’s rugged best-selling truck. It’s all straight edges and clean lines here, which gives the Expedition great outward vision and a great look. Inside, the cabin’s a knock-off of the F-150, with chunky controls for the transmission one of the few notable changes.

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Ford’s 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 couples to a 10-speed automatic and rear- or four-wheel drive. Most Expeditions churn out 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, but the Platinum ups that to 400 hp and 480 lb-ft. The powertrain throbs and whistles with a performance-car heartbeat, but will pull up to 9,300 pounds. The Expedition’s no lightweight, but its ride and handling are commendable for a 5,400-pound truck, and it can slug it out off-road with site-specific tires and shocks.

In either standard or Max trim, the 2019 Expedition carries more than its fair share. Up to seven passengers can share up to 172 cubic feet of space; two people can ride with up to 121.5 cubic feet if they’re more into possessions than friends. In almost every position, the Expedition offers lots of all-day ride comfort, lots of charging points and cupholders, and lots of flexibility. It’s nearly as talented as a minivan.

Safety scores aren’t complete but the Expedition does well in federal crash tests. if only Ford would provide automatic emergency braking on the XLT for less than $6,000.

In other regards, the Expedition outfits itself fantastically for any journey, short or long. It offers a vast list of features, from blind-spot monitors to high-end B&O audio, to an expansive panoramic roof and SlingTV service delivered via in-car wireless internet. All ate up with options, the Expedition can cost more than $84,000; that’s where we’d steer you in the direction of the fabulous, and fabulously expensive, Lincoln Navigator.

7

2019 Ford Expedition

Styling

The 2019 Ford Expedition tailors its big-SUV shape with appealing, crisp lines.

Crisp and clean of extraneous detail outside, the 2019 Ford Expedition has a neatly composed cabin that might be mistaken for a Lincoln in some parts of the country.

We like it enough to give it a couple of points above average, for a 7 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Redesigned in 2018, the latest Ford Expedition marries the SUV body to the Ford F-150’s truck face and chiseled-stone features. The C-shaped headlights still look like tools, if expensive ones, while the Expedition’s softer grille avoids the razor-sharp look of its more recent trucks.

At its best in profile, the Expedition wears an arrow-straight belt line and slab-sided body panels that look retro and cutting-edge, all at once. The tall doors and thick welts of chrome block out a shape that’s long on substance as well as size.

The letdown comes at the back, where plain taillights can be lit by LED. A chrome strip spans the back, stamped with EXPEDITION, in case you forgot which SUV you bought. Big wheels amp up the Big Wheel feel; 18s on base SUVs can swell to 20-inchers, or 22-inchers from the options list.

The Expedition cockpit embraces the F-150’s styling cues more overtly. The dash looks like a carbon copy, but with better fit and finish. The biggest departure comes at the center console; in the Expedition, the console grows busy with a rotary shifter and the controls for the shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system.

On Platinum models, Ford shows off all it’s learned about truck buyers and how much money they want to spend. The Platinum dives deep into the luxury bin and comes up with beautifully stitched leather on the seat bolsters and door panels, real wood trim, and fine chrome details that make for a lovely driving environment.

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7

2019 Ford Expedition

Performance

The 2019 Ford Expedition belts out straight-line acceleration and great ride quality that belies its size.

The 2019 Ford Expedition quaffs miles behind the power of a strong twin-turbo engine, available four-wheel drive, and an independent suspension. Of all the full-size SUVs without luxury badges, it’s the most accomplished performer.

We give it a couple of points above average for its muscular drivetrain, and call it a 7 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All Expedition draw power from a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 with dueling power outputs. Base XLT and mid-grade Limited models come in 375-hp tune, with 470 lb-ft of torque on tap. In the Expedition Platinum, the same rorty powerplant snorts out another 25 hp and 10 lb-ft, for a total of 400 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque.

The Expedition’s no lightweight, at more than 5,400 pounds despite a set of lighter-weight body panels, but no matter. The extreme power the twin-turbo V-6 pumps out gives the SUV a point-and-shoot feel. It never feels sluggish or short on power, thanks to those whistling turbos and their addictive, jet-fighter noises.

Credit also goes to the slick-shifting 10-speed automatic, which drops a few cogs at a time to plant the Expedition within a thick peak-torque band that begins at a low-ish 2,250 rpm. The gear changes happen in rapid-fire real time, but mostly go unnoticed, unless a planted foot on the gas calls up a three-gear downshift.

The powertrain helps the Expedition to a class-high tow rating of 9,300 pounds. A heavy-duty tow package ensures the transmission and cooling systems can keep up, while an FX4 off-road package dresses up four-wheel-drive models and extracts the most from the Expedition’s traction-control systems. The usual snow/gravel/pavement modes add specific FX4 programs for driving in sand or mud, and vary throttle and shift patterns to suit.

Expedition ride and handling

We think any SUV of this size starts off with a handling demerit based on weight and size. That said, the Expedition has a charming hustle that takes the awkwardness out of the equation.

Electric power steering takes a quick set in corners, and shrinks the driving feel of the behemoth SUV. Weighted well off center, the Expedition’s steering doesn’t have great feedback—really? With those all-season tires? And that wheelbase?—but it’s quick and natural enough in feel.

A standard independent suspension gets upgraded on some Expeditions with adaptive shocks that react to driving conditions to quell errant ride motions. The Expedition still has copious body lean and dives into corners, but in a very well-controlled way, without surprise. It’s as precise as a vehicle its size can be, progressive and easy to drive quickly.

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9

2019 Ford Expedition

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Ford Expedition conducts a master class on utility.

The Ford Expedition has vast cargo space, good fit and finish, and seats for seven passengers. Its extreme utility earns a score of 9 here, and bumps elbows with the closely related Lincoln Navigator. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Expedition kicks off things in the front row with a comfortable power driver seat, a high driving position, cloth upholstery, and well-placed bolsters. It’s a best-case-scenario La-Z-Boy, with the kind of spread-out comfort that endures through a whole tank of gas, if you can drive that long without pause. Ford bundles leather upholstery and 10-way power adjustment for both front seats in a package that’s somewhat pricey.

The Expedition has enormous doors, which makes access to the second- and third-row seats easy. The second row can be configured with a split-bench seat or with a pair of recommended captain’s chairs on Limited and Platinum models. They have even better access to the third row and more support, too, but in both cases, the second-row seats slide forward, even when a child car seat is fitted.

Third-row space is expansive enough for adults to ride on a long road trip. There’s plenty of leg room, not to mention four cupholders. Head room is a bit tight for very tall passengers, but the power-fold and power-recline seat can accommodate with minor adjustments.

Behind the third-row seat, the Expedition has 20.9 cubic feet of storage space, with a relatively low cargo floor thanks to its compact independent rear suspension. The Max model has 36 cubic feet. Fold down the third-row seat and the standard SUV has 63.6 cubic feet of space, the Max, 79.6 cubic feet. In carry-all mode, the Expedition sports 104.6 cubic feet of space behind the front seats, and a massive 121.5 cubic feet behind the Max’s front row. Ford sells most Expeditions with a handsfree power tailgate, and a nifty cargo management system isn’t very expensive.

Base Expeditions have dark but well-fitted cabins. At the Platinum level, the Expedition wears wood and leather that nearly trips into Lincoln Navigator territory. We’d be very satisfied with the Platinum, that is, if we hadn’t lived with a blue-leather Lincoln.

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7

2019 Ford Expedition

Safety

Safety ratings are incomplete, but the 2019 Ford Expedition has the odds in its favor.

Safety data for the 2019 Ford Expedition hasn’t been completed, but we give it a 7 here for its strong federal crash-test scores and for its available safety gear.

We deduct a point because most of that safety gear comes at a high cost. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Expedition earns a five-star score from the NHTSA in 4WD form. A sole four-star score for rollover resistance notwithstanding. The IIHS hasn’t crash-tested the SUV yet.

Every Expedition comes with parking sensors; on base models, the rearview camera displays on an absurdly small screen, but it’s there.

Ford really should make some of the Expedition’s safety options standard. To spec out any Expedition XLT with forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking, you’ll have to spend more than $6,000 on other ancillary gear. Blind-spot monitors, same boat. Adaptive cruise control and active lane control, too. It’s all walled off beyond the $60,000 price point, which makes the base Expedition seem uninterested in the latest safety technology. Most of it comes at a $3,000-plus premium on the Expedition Limited, while it’s mostly standard on the Expedition Platinum, which also offers LED headlights and a surround-view camera system.

The Expedition offsets some of those stiff penalties with excellent outward vision.

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5

2019 Ford Expedition

Features

The 2019 Ford Expedition rings all the luxury bells, and blows all the whistles–just not in XLT trim.

The 2019 Lincoln...er, Ford Expedition packs an enormous list of features in its rolling Dopp kit. Sling TV service, six USB outlets, seating for seven, power everything, and a trailer-view camera for hitching up and heading out give the Expedition unparalleled, minivan-like functionality, minus the sliding doors.

Base models lack some critical features that should be standard in vehicles that cost this much. The Expedition doesn’t come with automatic emergency braking or Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Those omissions offset a really rich set of available features.

We give it a 5 out of 10 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The base Ford Expedition XLT has some great functionality built it, from its seven-seat cabin to its twin-turbo drivetrain. It’s fitted with power features, a power driver seat, a power-folding third-row seat, cruise control, climate control, 18-inch wheels, and an AM/FM/satellite/CD audio system with a handful of USB ports and nine speakers, and a very small LCD touchscreen.  Forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking can be fitted to this model, but only after the addition of more than $6,000 of other features. The same’s true for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you want those systems–and we recommend them–you’ll push the Expedition’s price to nearly $60,000.

Other option packages ladle on the goodies, from leather upholstery, to 10-way power front seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, blind-spot monitors, heated and cooled front seats, keyless ignition, and a power handsfree tailgate. Off-roaders can opt for a bundle of gear that adds tougher shocks, a low-range transfer case, all-terrain tires, underbody protection, running boards, and an electronic limited-slip differential.

All trim levels can be configured with four-wheel drive and long-wheelbase bodies, as well as a heavy-duty trailering package with an automatic trailer-assist controller that makes hitching up as simple as a turn of a knob.

The Expedition Limited is our idea of what a base premium SUV should be. It adds 20-inch wheels, premium B&O audio, power running boards, handsfree tailgate, heated and cooled 10-way power front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, parking sensors, and blind-spot monitors, as well as in-car wireless internet access, and a rear-seat entertainment system with SlingTV. Automatic emergency braking is another $715; other options include navigation, a panoramic sunroof, 22-inch wheels, LED headlights, automatic park assist, and adaptive cruise control with active lane control.

The Expedition Platinum offers nearly all this equipment standard, as well as a surround-view camera system. Options at the top end include leather second-row captain’s chairs and power-fold second-row bench seats. It’s exceptionally pricey, but worth a look if you might instead spend even more on the mechanically similar Lincoln Navigator.

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3

2019 Ford Expedition

Fuel Economy

Gas mileage falls out of focus in the 2019 Ford Expedition.

The EPA hasn’t rated the 2019 Ford Expedition yet, but we assume its 2018 figures will carry over, since nothing has changed under the hood.

We give it a 3 for gas mileage, based on combined EPA ratings that fall below 20 mpg in nearly all versions. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The best 2019 Expedition for fuel economy is the base rear-drive version. The EPA says it’s good for 17 mpg, 24 highway, 20 combined.

The same drivetrain–a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 coupled to a 10-speed automatic–generates ratings of 17/22/19 mpg when fitted with four-wheel drive.

The long-wheelbase Expedition Max turns in ratings of 17/23/19 mpg when configured with rear-wheel drive; with four-wheel drive, it’s pegged at 16/21/18 mpg.

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September 9, 2018
2019 Ford Expedition Platinum 4x2

Terrific what a great car

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I don’t own the new Ford Expedition but hired it through Alamo while on holiday from the uk...my experience thoughts.after doing 4000 miles is what a great car.....absolutely great comfort seats are perfect... + More »
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$52,130
MSRP based on XLT 4x2
 
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6.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 7
Features 5
Fuel Economy 3
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  • 2019 Expedition arriving; 2018s still on sale
  • $1,500 rebate on 2018s; $500 on 2019s
  • Lease a 2018 from $449 for 36 months
  • 0.9% APR for 36 months + $1,250 bonus on 2018s
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