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2015 Ford Expedition: First Drive Review

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Ford Expedition, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Ford Expedition Review.

 

A decade ago, drivers were flocking to big, traditional SUVs such as the Ford Expedition. Gasoline prices hovered around $2 per gallon, making comfortable and capable V8-powered vehicles reasonably affordable to drive. Even those who didn’t regularly tow or carry heavy loads chose large SUVs over smaller, more efficient vehicles. For better or worse, the trend was to go big or go home.

The arrival of the 2015 Ford Expedition reminds us how much has changed over 10 years. Gas prices have nearly doubled, and an economic downturn has reminded Americans that, at home and on the road, bigger isn’t always better. Automakers are working hard to deliver better efficiency as they strive to meet federal fuel economy standards.

Ford’s EcoBoost engine lineup is a key part of its fuel-efficiency strategy, and for the first time, a turbocharged EcoBoost V6 powers the Expedition. It delivers more horsepower and torque while, according to Ford, using less fuel. That’s not the only improvement to the latest version of Ford’s largest SUV. Updated styling, new trim choices, and advanced safety and infotainment technology make the Expedition more capable than ever.

Fresh Styling

Ford says that the people who buy its big SUV prefer more conservative styling, so the 2015 Expedition is not radically different from its predecessor. However, the look is certainly fresher inside and out. Up front, the Expedition receives a new grille, headlights, and a restyled lower fascia with LED fog lights. Newly designed wheels — in large sizes, per today’s fashion — also set the 2015 model apart. At the rear, a wide accent strip lends a more upscale look.

Inside, updates include a new instrument cluster with a pair of color displays flanking the speedometer. Carry-over trim choices include the base XLT, mid-range Limited and western-style King Ranch. A new Platinum trim is at the top of the lineup, contributing to a more luxurious interior with features such as premium leather seats.

The overall package suggests quality and durability, if not outright luxury. The faux wood in our Expedition Platinum test vehicle is more realistic than some competitors’, but Ford still uses plenty of hard plastic on the Expedition’s door panels, dash and console. See the 2015 Ford Expedition models for sale near you

Updated Technology

You won’t find luxury-car features such as adaptive cruise control on the new Expedition, but buyers can opt for safety and comfort technologies not offered on earlier models. An available blind spot monitoring system includes a rear cross-traffic alert system. A backup camera is now standard.

Buyers can also choose Ford’s SYNC technology with the MyFord Touch infotainment system, including an 8-inch touchscreen. Audiophiles will like the available 12-speaker, 390-watt Sony sound system.

Is a V6 Enough?

Rated at 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, the 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6 is more powerful than the outgoing V8 that it replaces. It also produces peak torque at lower engine speeds, ideal for those pulling a heavy boat or trailer.

The 6-cylinder engine certainly feels more than capable of moving the nearly 3-ton SUV in a hurry. Our drive included both highways and steep mountain roads; the EcoBoost performed impressively, with strong acceleration off the line and quiet cruising at higher speeds.

A new electrically powered steering system also aims to improve efficiency. Steering feel is commendable, delivering the right amount of feedback, nice weight at high and low speeds, and good on-center feel.

Fuel economy claims remain untested; Ford has yet to release official fuel economy ratings for the 2015 Expedition. The automaker expects a 15 percent increase over the 2014 model. That should yield ratings of around 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for the most efficient version.

Big and Bigger

Ford continues to offer two wheelbases for the model: the 119-in Expedition and the 131-in Expedition EL. Of course, both rear- and 4-wheel-drive options remain, too. Both Expedition versions provide space for up to eight passengers, and the third-row seat will accommodate adults (getting back there isn’t easy, though). The second-row seat does not slide fore and aft, so moving it takes several steps.

Keeping Up

The competition, namely the Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and GMC Yukon, are totally redesigned for 2015. With a standard V8, these models already achieve the fuel economy that Ford aims for with the EcoBoost-powered Expedition. The Expedition is arguably the utility leader, however. The EL offers more cargo space than the Suburban, and every 2015 Expedition can tow more weight than comparable Chevy and GMC models.

Unlike a decade ago, new-car shoppers who want 3-row passenger space have many more efficient options than big and heavy SUVs such as the Expedition. But for those who require trucklike utility, the 2015 Ford Expedition is a stronger player than ever before. Find a Ford Expedition for sale

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Just purchased a new 2015 Limited Exp. Only drawbacks I found were the center console is to deep and narrow ( plenty of room though ) and poor fog lights ( LED ) The car is very tight and quiet even while driving at 80 mph. The car is everything and more than I thought when I purchased it.  The MPG is 22 hiwy ( @ 75 mph) and is excellent around town with a light foot. Between 45 and 50 mph steady I am getting any where between 23 to 28 mpg. There is a lot of plastic still used in the interior but Ford makes it look good.  Overall quality is excellent.  I looked at Chevy Tahoe and found that the interior on the LTZ was nicer than my Limited. That was the only advantage Chevy had over the Exp. The ride goes to Exp. and it is very responsive and fast for the size car it is.  Had 2 older Exp’s and there is no comparison to the new one. But I will say that I got 200,000 miles out of both my older ones with no problems or expenses. My advice is get the Limited loaded and stay away from the XLT, you get a lot more value and overall nicer car. If  you  choose the Platinum you will get a lil nicer interior and power running boards.  For a option of the power running boards just remember when you open the doors it may hit your shins if you are not expecting it.  I opted out for that option on my Limited and the 2800.00 price tag that goes with it.  If you like the look of the captains chairs in the second row it is a 790.00 option.  I unbolted the center seat in the second row, covered the bolt holes and now have captains chairs at no cost. I have done that in my previous exp.’s” Overall I rate the car at a 8.5 to a 9 for satisfaction and driving.    

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