The 2012 Ford Expedition EL is an extended-length version of the standard Ford Expedition. While you trade off some maneuverability and parking ease, in return you get easier third-row access and more cargo space behind the back row.
The Expedition family has changed very little in recent years, and it dates back to a 2007 model-year redesign. Ford's 5.4-liter V-8 is flex-fuel compatible and makes 310 horsepower, yet it doesn't feel all that sprightly as soon as you add passengers or a light towing task—even though the six-speed automatic is responsive and smooth. Ride and handling are far better than what you might expect from a body-on-frame truck; the Expedition EL soaks up irregularities and grips the road well, even if its steering is old-lux light.
With a wheelbase of 131 inches and a length of 221 inches, the Expedition EL is one of the biggest SUVs on the planet. Longer, wider-opening rear doors help with access to the power-folding third row (another consideration if you parallel-park frequently). And behind that, there's space enough for a load of groceries, even with the third row up in place.
Functionally, the interior has plush, supportive seating all around—with space enough in the third row, for short stints. The entire cabin is well-trimmed, but the rather simple dash layout reveals that this big ute was designed at another time for Ford, before it developed MyFord Touch and became more fashion-forward. That said, the EL can be had in any of the Expedition's trims; Limited and King Ranch trims will impress any client, and most models include Ford's voice-activated Sync Bluetooth connectivity.
- 2012 Chevrolet Suburban
- 2012 GMC Yukon
- 2012 Nissan Armada
- 2012 Toyota Sequoia
The Expedition's primary rivals both come from General Motors. The Chevrolet Suburban is an extended-length version of the Chevy Tahoe, and like the Expedition EL it gets longer doors and easier third-row access. We've found the powertrains on the full-size SUVs to be a little peppier than the 5.4-liter in the Expedition, though the Suburban doesn't ride and handle quite as nicely. The GMC Yukon XL is the same package as the Suburban with only minor trim differences. The Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia don't come in extended-length form and aren't ideal picks for those who frequently need to use a third row (or use one at all for adults), but they have comparable levels of truck-based towing hauling ability.