You'll find plenty of roomy three-row crossover SUVs on today's market, but there are some jobs they just can't do: Few of them can seat eight, and none can tow a 9,000-plus-pound trailer. That's when full-size body-on-frame SUVs such as the Ford Expedition come in handy — but unlike some of its competitors, the Expedition has brains as well as brawn.
What sets the Expedition apart from its full-size competitors is the way it embraces technology. Take the engine: Instead of a traditional V8, the Expedition uses a 3.5-liter V6 with twin turbochargers. Output is a V8-like 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, and while the Expedition's EPA fuel economy estimates may seem low, they compare favorably with the its V8-powered rivals: 18 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway) with two-wheel drive and 17 mpg combined (15 city/20 highway) for 4x4 versions. Ford also makes a long-wheelbase version called the Expedition EL; its EPA estimates are 1 mpg lower. Compared to the competition (and to other vehicles in general), the Expedition is very quick: In Edmunds testing, an Expedition EL 4x4 sprinted to 60 mph in a muscle-car-like 6.5 seconds. Depending on how it is configured, the Expedition can tow up to 9,200 pounds.
The Expedition's chassis is equally modern. Most full-size SUVs share their platforms with pickup trucks, and many use the same solid rear axle as a pickup truck. Ford fits the Expedition with a fully independent rear suspension, which not only makes for a smoother ride compared to its competitors' — especially when fitted with the optional three-way adjustable dampers — but also makes the Expedition more predictable in emergency maneuvers.
As you'd expect, the Expedition's interior is both roomy and classy, especially in top-of-the-line King Ranch and Platinum trim (though there are a few cheap material choices that don't fit in with the upscale theme). Ford has deep-sixed the much-maligned MyFord Touch infotainment system, and we find the new Sync 3 touchscreen stereo and navigation system much easier to use. The Expedition offers three rows of seating with plenty of stretch-out space. The second row offers a choice of a 40/20/40-split folding bench or twin captain's chairs, the latter option offering better access to the third row. While the regular-length Expedition doesn't offer much luggage space behind the third row (18.6 cubic feet), the extended-length EL offers a whopping 42.6 cubic feet. When not in use, the third-row seat folds flat into the floor, creating even more cargo room.
Ford offers the Expedition in four trim levels. The XLT has the basic comfort and convenience features we expect in a midlevel vehicle, with plenty of creature comforts on the options list. The Limited adds more power features. And the King Ranch and Platinum trims turn the Expedition into a true luxury yacht; equipment is similar, but the King Ranch has a Western theme. There are a lot of choices in the Expedition lineup, and Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Ford Expedition for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.