New Car Review
2017 Ford Expedition: New Car Review
The 2017 Ford Expedition full-size SUV offers eight seats, more than 9,000 pounds of towing capacity and frequent visits to the gas station. So its appeal is naturally limited. But a large family with outdoorsy pursuits and perhaps a boat on a trailer will find the old-school Expedition to be an excellent choice.
We say old-school because a lot of modern crossovers have what's called a unibody construction, meaning their bodies are basically one piece. The Expedition uses a body-on-frame setup. The lower section is often called a ladder frame: There are two girder-like steel rails running front-to-back, and connecting them are steel "rungs." Then the body goes above that. Pickup trucks are built this way and most SUVs of an older design are pickup-based.
The advantage is that body-on-frame vehicles tend to have superior towing talents. When properly equipped, the Expedition can pull 9,200 pounds.
It also offers a power-operated third-row seat that folds into the floor, creating a level cargo area. For those who want even more room, there's the extended-wheelbase EL version, which is 15 inches longer overall. An all-new Expedition is anticipated for 2018, but the 2017 model still has a lot to recommend it.
What's New for 2017?
Ford hasn't made any changes, but the EPA has revised fuel consumption figures by about one mile per gallon here and there in an attempt to reflect more real-world results.
What We Like
Stalwart styling; cool cabin technology; power-folding third-row seat; truck-like capabilities; smooth ride; space
What We Don't
Dated interior; thirst for fuel
$48,320-$65,400 (regular length); $51,030-$68,055 (extended length)
The rear-drive Expedition with the regular wheelbase returns 15 mpg in the city, 12 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg in combined driving. Adding the optional all-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing results in 15 mpg city/20 mpg why/17 mpg combined.
The Expedition EL yields 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined in rear-drive form and 15 mpg city/19 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.
Standard Features & Options
The 2017 Ford Expedition is offered in regular- or extended-wheelbase (EL) form in XLT, Limited, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels.
The XLT ($48,320/$51,030) comes with 18-inch wheels, a roof rack, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, an external security keypad, cruise control, power-adjustable pedals, a partial power driver's seat, splittable second-row seats that slide and recline, the SYNC voice-command system, a 4.2-in screen, Bluetooth and a 6-speaker audio system with USB connectivity, satellite radio and an auxiliary input.
The Limited ($57,240/$59,890) brings 20-in wheels, power-folding mirrors, a power tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats with full power adjustment (including lumbar support) and driver memory functions, a power adjustable steering wheel, heated second-row seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-folding third row, Sony audio and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-in touchscreen.
The King Ranch ($61,810/$64,640) adds two-tone paint, saddle-style leather upholstery and wood trim.
The Platinum ($65,400/$68,055) largely shares the King Ranch's equipment but does without the two-tone paint and cowboy theme. It has a sunroof as standard.
All-wheel drive is around $3,000. Other options include adaptive suspension dampers, an air suspension with automatic load leveling, 22-in wheels, power-retractable running boards, a rear entertainment system, and second-row captain's chairs that reduce seating capacity to seven.
Ford equips every Expedition with its Safety Canopy System, which includes front, front-side and 3-row side curtain airbags. A rollover sensor can activate the side and curtain airbags even if there's no collision. AdvanceTrac with roll stability control helps keep the vehicle from veering off course when skidding or plowing, while electronic traction control reduces wheel spin on slippery surfaces.
Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are standard throughout the range. The King Ranch and Platinum trims have front sensors as standard. They also get a blind spot monitoring system that's optional in the lower trims.
In government crash testing, the Expedition received a perfect five stars overall, including five stars in frontal impacts and five stars in side impacts.
Behind the Wheel
For something this big and comfortable, the Expedition doesn't wallow and lean. Some credit goes to a suspension design that allows the two rear wheels to move up and down independently. The optional self-leveling rear suspension also helps with body control.
Steering feel is heavy but not laborious. The ride is smooth and the cabin quiet, but catch a strong crosswind and the steering wheel will need a firm grasp, ready to make quick course corrections. Happily, the EcoBoost V6 has more than enough muscle to move a full load of passengers and gear without issue.
The Expedition is at its worst in cities. Although the parking sensors, rearview camera and integrated blind spot mirrors help, there's no getting away from its substantial size.
The upside is massive cargo space. In the regular model, that area stretches from 18.6 cu ft. with all the seats in place. Fold them down for 108.3 cu ft. In the EL, we're looking at 42.6 and 130.8 cu ft., respectively.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Chevrolet Tahoe -- Slightly more power and slightly better fuel economy than the Expedition, but its rear seats don't fold flush into the floor and don't offer as much legroom. Also look at the GMC Yukon and Chevy Suburban.
2017 Nissan Armada -- Redesigned for 2017. Comes with a more powerful V8 engine than the Expedition's V6. No long-wheelbase variant, though.
2017 Toyota Sequoia -- Not as many creature comforts or as much towing capacity, and a higher base price, but enjoys better resale values than the Expedition.
Considering this is an Expedition and not something smaller, like an Explorer, it's probably worth going for the extra space of an EL.