2012 Ford Expedition SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Ford Expedition SUV

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Ford Expedition Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.4 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 310 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Ford Expedition

  • Even with its truck-based trappings, the 2012 Ford Expedition is quite the civilized option for shoppers needing a vehicle with significant passenger, cargo and towing capacities.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Respectable handling and road comfort; roomy third-row seat; easy-to-fold rear seats increase interior flexibility.

  • Cons

    V8 engine struggles under heavy loads; dated and cluttered controls; interior cheapened by some low-quality plastics.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, the Ford Expedition gains standard blind-spot mirrors. The XLT can now be equipped with heated second-row seats, and front parking sensors are standard on the Limited and King Ranch trim levels.

Full 2012 Ford Expedition Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Ford Expedition gains standard blind-spot mirrors. The XLT can now be equipped with heated second-row seats, and front parking sensors are standard on the Limited and King Ranch trim levels.


Size is the 2012 Ford Expedition's best asset, but it's also likely to be this SUV's biggest disadvantage in today's social and economic climate. However, there remains a viable consumer market that needs an SUV this big for moving both people and cargo.

Ford's full-size SUV actually comes in two sizes: large and extra large (fittingly known as the EL). While both offer enough space for eight passengers, the EL extends the space aft of the third row for greater cargo capacity. Think of it as Ford's answer to the Chevy Suburban. The Expedition has a few advantages over its main rival, including a comfortable third-row seat that folds into the floor and a superior ride quality.

However, the Ford Expedition isn't alone in these advantages. The 2012 Toyota Sequoia is even better in these areas, and although it isn't quite as spacious as the EL, its cabin essentially lines up between the two Ford models. Furthermore, the Sequoia (and the Chevys) is offered with a more powerful V8 engine than the Expedition's aging V8. With only 310 horsepower on tap, this is certainly the big Ford's greatest weakness.

We should also mention that if towing or the EL's extra cargo space aren't priorities, a large crossover like the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse or 2012 Ford Flex will almost certainly meet your people-hauling needs while being more fuel-efficient and easier to drive. Still, the 2012 Ford Expedition remains a well-rounded vehicle best suited for vacations, long road trips and recreation outings that need a certain degree of heavy-duty hauling capability.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Ford Expedition is a full-size body-on-frame SUV available in two body lengths: regular and the EL, which adds 15 inches of overall length. Each is offered in four trim levels: base XL, midrange XLT, upscale Limited and top-of-the-line King Ranch edition. Every Expedition comes with standard seating for eight except the regular-length XL, which comes standard with five. Optional second-row captain's chairs lower capacity to seven.

The XL comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels (18 inches on the EL), automatic headlights, foglamps, a roof rack, running boards, heated mirrors with integrated blind-spot mirrors, keyless entry (both remote and door-mounted keypad), cruise control, air-conditioning (with rear controls), cloth upholstery, a six-way power driver seat (manual recline), a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split second-row seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and rear audio controls.

Upgrading to the XLT adds 18-inch alloy wheels to the regular body style, plus rear parking sensors, power-adjustable pedals, power rear-quarter windows, a trip computer, the voice-operated Sync system (includes Bluetooth phone connectivity and an iPod/USB audio interface among other functions) and an upgraded sound system with satellite radio and steering-wheel-mounted controls. XLT models can also be ordered with the Sport Appearance package that includes a body-colored grille, black running boards and black interior trim.

The Limited trim level packs on 20-inch polished alloy wheels; a heavy-duty tow package; front parking sensors; power-folding mirrors; driver-side auto-dimming mirror; a power liftgate; a rearview camera; automatic wipers; dual-zone automatic climate control; leather upholstery; eight-way power front seats with heating, cooling and driver memory functions; heated second-row seats; a power-folding third-row seat; a house-style electric outlet and a premium sound system with subwoofer.

The Western-chic King Ranch edition sports features similar to the Limited while adding special two-tone paint, 20-inch painted alloy wheels, upgraded headlamps, upgraded "Chaparral" leather upholstery and wood trim.

Many amenities found on upper trim levels can also be had as options on the less expensive models. Other major add-ons, depending on trim level, include 20-inch alloy wheels, a load-leveling rear air suspension that is great for towing, a sunroof and a rear entertainment system with two headrest-mounted screens. Available on all but the XL trim level is a touchscreen navigation system that includes HD radio and Sirius Travel Link service (provides real-time information on traffic, weather, sports, movie listings and local fuel prices).

Powertrains and Performance

The standard powertrain combo for the 2012 Ford Expedition and Expedition EL is a 5.4-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission. It produces 310 hp and 365 pound-feet of torque.

Buyers can opt for four-wheel drive with low-range gearing. The last Expedition we tested (it produced 10 hp less than the current model) accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds, a below-average time for this segment. Properly equipped, the Expedition has a maximum tow rating of 9,200 pounds. This is solid, but more powerful competitors will feel more capable while towing up grades.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy for a two-wheel-drive Expedition is 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined -- average for a full-size SUV. EPA estimates for 4WD versions drop to 13/18/15.


The Ford Expedition comes standard with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, traction control, trailer sway control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Ford's programmable MyKey system, which allows parents to specify speed limits and stereo volumes for their teenage drivers, is also standard. Parking sensors and a rearview camera are optional.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2012 Ford Expedition's versatile passenger cabin can be configured to comfortably accommodate five, seven or eight passengers. The standard second-row bench seat features reclining seatbacks and is split 40/20/40, which allows the center portion to slide forward to put young children within easy reach. Second-row bucket seats are an option, except on XL models.

The third-row seat is similarly versatile. The standard seat folds down with a simple tug on the release mechanism. The available power-folding seat is push-button-friendly. The Chevy's Tahoe and Suburban (and their GMC twins) require owners to physically remove the heavy third-row seats if they want to open up cargo space.

With the third-row seat up, the Expedition offers an ample 18.6 cubic feet of storage and the EL provides a generous 42.6 cubic feet. Drop both the second- and third-row seats and those numbers jump to 108.3 and 130.8, respectively. In this manner, the Expedition has a clear advantage over large crossovers that offer similar space for people.

The Expedition's interior design is generally inviting, though the dash features controls that are out of date in appearance and functionality compared to those found in Ford's F-150 pickup. For example, the navigation system features a rather small touchscreen. Some low-quality interior materials also disappoint, particularly when you've paid the extra money for a premium trim level.

Driving Impressions

Thanks to an independent rear suspension, the 2012 Ford Expedition doesn't feel like a 5,500-pound behemoth rolling along on such a massive footprint. The ride quality rates an overall pleasant experience. Relatively precise and responsive steering also makes the Expedition more nimble than you'd expect.

The 5.4-liter V8 under the hood is sufficient for everyday driving, but performance suffers when you've packed up the Expedition with full load of passengers and cargo or you're towing a trailer, much less both. Unlike its competitors from GM and Toyota, there is no upgrade V8 available. The six-speed automatic transmission gets the job done with minimal hassle, but shifting manually on steep roads may be required to hold the desired gear.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Awesome suv built to handle

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Ford Expedition

I bought the vehicle new and it now has 84000 miles on it after 26 months. I use it daily on construction sites and as a family vehicle. This vehicle sees extreme duty on the job site. There are days that I come home covered in mud and the engine has not shut off since I got in it that morning. No rattles, no creaks, no loose parts, no engine issues, tires never need alignment, getting about 65000 miles per set of tires and it handles great. If you are looking for a full size SUV give the Expedition a shot. I used to have a Tahoe and older Sequoia and the Expy is my favorite of the three.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great family car

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Ford Expedition

I bought a 2011 Expedition in 2012. Searched for long time and found one that had been dealer car, got it with 13,500 miles for 13,000 dollars off new price. Front bucket cloth seats are the most comfortable I have ever had. Makes long trips with the family and short trips a pleasure. It handles extremly well and has plenty of power in town and on highway. It has enough power and handling for man, and makes women feel secure and riding higher than other cars. All 8 seats will fit average size adults very comfortably. With the third row down it seats 5 with HUGE cargo space. I do not often write reviews, but had to this time because this is one of, if not the best SUV I have ever owned.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2011 Ford Expedition

Thought I would never buy a Ford again but buying a travel trailer and needing the perfect tow vehicle made me check out the Expedition. Am I glad I did. Roomy, comfortable, great features, good ride, and drives like a big, solid hunk of metal on all road surfaces. Stable in wind, good on wet surfaces and in the mountains. Get the 3.73 rear end if you want to tow and get better acceleration with no mpg penalty. The nav system is quite good as is the sound system and flexibility of options. So far, I could not be more pleased. Oh yeah, folding power 3rd seat makes for easy loading and extra passenger space. Perfect tow vehicle.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

2nd expedition

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Ford Expedition

Our 2001 Expedition bought new was such a difference from having all pickup trucks and lasted us 139,000 miles and was GREAT. This 2011 model is far and away a diffferent animal; stronger, way more powerful and quiet; combined some features of the old Eddie Bauer. We added and K&N air filter. The truck now has 9,000 miles on it, gets 15.5 around town and from our home in Vegas to Phoenix netted 22 MPG! Trailer towing...the 6-speed gets you going faster in 1-2-3, 4th gear is about the same and it seems to like 5th for towing; 65 MPH nets 2,200 RPM's. Mileage is 10.5 overall, besting the 2001 truck by 1.5 MPG. DO NOT TOW with SRC engaged! In crosswinds it does strange things.

Talk About The 2012 Expedition

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
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