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2021 Ford Expedition

Consumer Reviews
0 Reviews
2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
September 13, 2020

Buying tip

The a la carte menu for the Expedition XLT is long and impressive. Dress up one to save money on costlier trims.

The 2021 Ford Expedition SUV crams considerable space and family-friendly amenities into its sizable frame.

What kind of SUV is the 2021 Ford Expedition? What does it compare to?

If carrying up to eight people isn’t enough, the 2021 Ford Expedition SUV offers more grunt, space for gear, and towing capacity than three-row crossovers. It competes against other boxy three-row haulers such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Toyota Sequoia.

Is the 2021 Ford Expedition a good SUV?

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Its 7.0 overall score is high on our TCC Rating and higher than many other new cars. The Expedition’s style and space are impressive; fuel economy, not so much. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Ford Expedition?

The longer-wheelbase Expedition Max stretches out its tail by nearly a foot compared to the Expedition for more cargo space, and it is now available in every trim level. Also new is an appearance package that spices up some of the down-ballot trims of the Expedition. Like last year, the Expedition is available in XLT, Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum models.

All are powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 that makes 375 horsepower or 400 horsepower, depending on trim level, down the driveline to a standard 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all trims, although four-wheel drive is a popular pick for many Expeditions. When properly equipped, the Expedition can tow up to 9,300 pounds while comfortably carrying up to eight in spacious confines. Cloth upholstery wraps comfortable seats in nearly every position, and adults won’t gripe (too much) if stuck in the wayback with up to 36.1 inches of leg room. Second-row riders get more than 40 inches of leg room, too. The Expedition Max stuffs more than 34 cubic feet of cargo with all aboard; the Expedition’s 19.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row is nothing to sneeze at either.

Like last year, every Expedition includes automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors. Crash tests aren’t yet complete, but what’s in so far from the feds is promising.

How much does the 2021 Ford Expedition cost?

The base Expedition XLT costs about $55,000 and climbs steadily toward an $87,000 summit in fully loaded, Expedition Platinum Max spec.

We steer toward the lower end of the spectrum where the 2021 Expedition XLT is a good value with good space. It includes 18-inch wheels, three rows of seats, cloth upholstery, a power-folding third row, power-adjustable driver’s seat, wi-fi hotspot capability, keyless start, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with smartphone software. A handful of options can dress up the Expedition XLT with synthetic leather, power-folding seats, heated and cooled front row chairs, or a pair of captain’s buckets in the middle.

In top trims, the Expedition rivals Lincoln’s Navigator for the finish—without the ostentatious exterior looks.

Where is the Ford Expedition made?

Every Ford Expedition is assembled in Louisville, Kentucky.

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2021 Ford Expedition

Styling

The 2021 Expedition is built for families but without the dadbod.

Is the Ford Expedition a good-looking car?

Two years into a new face and body for the Expedition, Ford has a winner that can punch up to higher tax brackets with a wealth of interior appointments and a fuss-free body. It’s a 7 for style on our scale.

The Expedition marries the truck looks of the F-150 with svelte taste. The headlights frame a wide and expressive grille, banded with chrome, and scoped in with a blue oval in the middle. The body sides cut a sharp profile without being too blocky. Its big and thick doors are trimmed with metallic accents that balance the big glass windows and tall frame. On 18-inch wheels the Expedition is fine; 22-inchers fill out the wheel arches without calling too much attention to itself.

Inside, the Expedition draws closer to the F-150. It’s more tightly arranged, with chunky controls and information clusters. The Expedition Platinum runs through Lincoln’s closet for finer leathers and wood trim, which help the Ford stand out among even luxury competitors.

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2021 Ford Expedition

Performance

Big power for a big body, the Expedition is impressive.

The 2021 Ford Expedition taps twin-turbo V-6 power and a 10-speed automatic to power its family-class battleship body. It’s a 7 thanks to ready power and a capable ride.

Is the Ford Expedition 4WD?

Affirmative. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all Ford Expeditions, although four-wheel drive is a popular upgrade.

How fast is the Ford Expedition?

Every Expedition is powered by a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 375 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque, although Expedition Platinum models turn up the same engine to 400 hp and 480 lb-ft. Some of that power is sapped by the models’ considerable curb weights; up to 5,800 pounds in Expedition Max guise with four-wheel drive.

With the turbos whistling, the Expedition can sprint from 0-60 mph in about seven seconds. The 10-speed can swap a ratio or three quickly, which means the big SUV can easily catch up to highway traffic.

With the right equipment, coolers, and battery, the Expedition can tow up to 9,300 pounds, which is enough for many travel trailers. An available off-road package bumps up the Expedition’s adventure creds and includes drive modes for mud and sand.

The Expedition handles well for an SUV of its considerable ilk, though it’s not as refined as smaller SUVs in the Ford lineup. The stock steel suspension can be upgraded to adaptive dampers that quell fussy roads, although the tall vehicle leans predictably when roads get complicated. A finely tuned electric power steering system keeps the Expedition light on its heavy feet, but there’s not much coming through the wheel. It’s as enjoyable to drive as nearly any eight-seat SUV. We’re not sure how we just typed that, either.

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2021 Ford Expedition

Comfort & Quality

Big and comfy, no miles are too many in an Expedition.

The Expedition’s grunt is even surpassed by its generous proportions. Its confines easily hold up to eight passengers with room to spare for cargo (or even more room in Expedition Max models). That much is clear from its shadow.

What’s more: The Expedition butts up against the tony Navigator in fit and finish. All of the above net a 9 on our comfort scale. The Navigator can do one better, but you’ll pay for it.

In front, the Expedition’s soft seats are power-adjustable in most trims, with cloth upholstery and a good view ahead. Expedition Limited and higher trims wrap the seats in leather upholstery and can add heaters, coolers, or even massagers.

The second row gets lots of spread-out space and 41.5 inches of leg room that can expand another inch in max-relax mode. A split-bench is standard, although two captain’s chairs are better fit in Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum trims. A wide passthrough lets third-row riders into the wayback relatively easily, and the second row slides forward—even with a car seat in place—for easier entry.

The third row is best for children, but adults will fit with 36.1 inches of leg room.

Behind the third row, the Expedition will hold 19.3 cubic feet of gear, which expands to 63.6 with the seats folded forward. With the second row folded, that space expands to 104.6 cubes.

The Expedition Max stretches out space behind the third row and offers 34.3 cubic feet of cargo or 79.6 with the seats folded. With just the first row in place, the Expedition hauls 121.5 cubes.

Base Expeditions are fitted with cloth seats and monochrome interiors, but the top Expedition Platinum rivals Lincoln for finish and fine materials.

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2021 Ford Expedition

Safety

Full crash-test data isn’t available, but the early returns are promising.

How safe is the Ford Expedition?

The 2021 Expedition nets an 8 on our safety scale, even without full crash-test data. We’ll update this space if that changes, but what’s in so far is good.

Federal testers gave the Expedition a five-star overall score, including five stars for front- and side-crash safety.

The IIHS hasn’t yet rated the Expedition, we’ll update this once they do.

Absent full crash data, the Expedition is equipped with a raft of active safety features that includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors.

On the options list, or standard on Expedition Limited and higher, are parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, and adaptive cruise control.

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2021 Ford Expedition

Features

The 2021 Expedition is well-equipped in any trim.

Which Ford Expedition should I buy?

The Expedition wants for little in any configuration, but the XLT version is the best value for family shoppers. It’s what we would pick.

That’s because the 2021 Expedition XLT’s starting price of about $55,000 includes 18-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, a power-folding third row, power-adjustable driver’s seat, active safety features (covered above), wi-fi hotspot capability, keyless start, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility software.

All of that, plus good options earn the Expedition an 8 for features on our scale.

From there, it’s a race pace up the ladder of cost and comfort for the big SUV. The Expedition Limited trim level adds leather upholstery, premium audio, 20-inch wheels, power running boards, and a power passenger seat. The Expedition King Ranch orchestrates its western themes like Ennio Morricone with Del Rio leather and subtle country nods; the ride is just as soft thanks to standard adaptive dampers.

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Ford Expedition?

The Expedition Platinum slathers the big SUV in chrome, big wheels, leather everywhere, and bathes the interior with light from a panoramic sunroof. It starts at more than $75,000 and doesn’t stay there long with available options.

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2021 Ford Expedition

Fuel Economy

Other family vehicles are more efficient than the Expedition.

Is the Ford Expedition good on gas?

Definitions of “good” vary, but by many commonly accepted versions, the 2021 Ford Expedition is not good on gas.

The EPA says the most efficient version is with rear-drive and a short frame, which rates 17 mpg, 24 highway, 20 combined. With four-wheel drive, those ratings sink to 17/22/19 mpg; a relatively minor penalty, but still a 3 on our scale.

Long-wheelbase Expedition Max models fare worse. The EPA rates those at 17/23/19 mpg and 16/21/18 mpg with rear- or four-wheel drive, respectively.

If you need only three rows for family, many crossovers, including the Explorer, rate in the low-20s combined.

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7.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 8
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
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