The 2015 Ford Expedition is a colossus
The 2015 Ford Expedition is a colossus in more ways than one, according to auto writer Greg Rubenstein
When a gallon of gasoline topped $4, the end of thirsty, oversized sport utility vehicles seemed to be in sight. After all, a 28-gallon fill-up costing at least $100 isn’t the most economical way to travel 300 miles, and there really aren’t many people who actually need seating for eight plus the capability to tow 9,200 pounds.
Of course, that was then. Now that fuel is back under $3 per gallon, the behemoth-class SUV is back. With renewed consumer confidence in cheap gas, the refreshed-for-2015 Ford Expedition comes offering an impressive array of luxury features and even a pinch of parsimony: the only engine offered is a twin-turbocharged V-6, replacing the ubiquitous—and fuel-hungry—V-8 that has previously propelled every Expedition since the model’s 1996 debut.
The Expedition is Ford’s biggest SUV, and it comes in two versions—long or extra-long, with the choice of two- or four-wheel-drive and a dizzying array of trim configurations, option packages, and price points. There’s a version starting at $45,780, but the tested model—an EXP Platinum 4 x 2—hit a sweet spot with an abundance of whiz-bang tech, a deep well of luxury features, and a $63,250 as-tested price.
While a relatively small-displacement V-6 might seem underwhelming in a vehicle with a base weight of 5,559 pounds—the heaviest version (extended-length 4 x 4) tips the scales at 6,091 pounds—it is not wanting for power. The twin turbos help this engine produce 365 horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque, which is 55 horsepower and 55 pound-feet of more torque than the outgoing 5.4-liter V-8 could muster. Although the EPA’s optimistic fuel-economy rating of 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway proved to be far from the real-world 11 mpg city and 12 mpg highway economy observed over a week’s worth of mixed driving, the Expedition still returns better performance and equal economy compared to the outgoing model.
From behind the wheel, the Expedition rides like a vehicle smaller and lighter than its footprint, thanks to a new continuously controlled suspension-damping system with three driver-controlled modes: comfort, normal, and sport. While the sport mode tightens the ride and might be helpful while towing, comfort mode proved to be the most relaxed setting, offering an excellent compromise between agile handling and isolation from bumpy roads.
Ford put in a lot of effort to give the Expedition a quiet ride. Improved door and body seals, new sound dampening materials throughout, and acoustic glass for the windshield and front windows deliver an interior that rivals—and beats—many luxury sedans for motoring serenity. Reinforcing that feeling of peace is a freshened exterior, which simultaneously projects an aggressive character and a softened approach. The Expedition’s rugged new front-end styling and chrome accents all around give this SUV a go-anywhere, do-anything personality, while rounded sheet metal at the beltline offers a hint of feminine touch.
For those who want the capability to haul lots of people, stuff, or both, the Expedition is a well-executed SUV without any significant demerits. Thanks to innovative engineering—including fitment of a turbo V-6 where V-8 used to rule—Ford has breathed renewed life into what was once a dying class of vehicle. Although there isn’t a lot of competition in the super-sized SUV segment, this Expedition is a legitimate luxury contender and is at minimum worth a test drive. You’ll come away impressed.
Among the array of technology found in this Ford are premium features more typically available in true luxury models:
- radar-based blind-spot and cross-traffic monitoring systems
- front and rear parking sensors
- heated and cooled seats
- three full-color information display screens
- eight-inch center-console touch screen for the infotainment system
- seven-color LED interior lighting.
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