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2015 Ford Expedition: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2015

The 2015 Ford Expedition is one of the few remaining full-size SUVs that seats eight passengers, tows more than 9,000 pounds and consumes fuel like a swarm of locusts buzzing through a cornfield. Fortunately, those locusts are a little less ravenous now that there's a twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 under the hood. Full-size body-on-frame SUVs like the 2015 Expedition aren't all the rage anymore, but they still have their place. Just ask any large family that owns a camper or boat.

The Expedition also offers a nifty power-operated third-row seat that folds into the floor, creating a clean, level cargo area. For those who want even more room, the long-wheelbase EL trim should fit the bill. Furthermore, Ford provides a wide array of interior colors and seating options, plus forward-thinking electronics such as SYNC voice-command functionality and MyFord Touch infotainment. If a big, tough SUV with generous features is what your family requires, the Expedition is a satisfying choice.

What's New for 2015?

The 2015 Expedition gets refreshed styling and an overhauled interior with new tech features, but the headline news is that the old V8 is gone, supplanted by Ford's EcoBoost twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. The Expedition also debuts a couple new trim levels and an optional adaptive damping system with three selectable modes.

What We Like

Stalwart styling; cool cabin technology; power-folding third-row seat; trucklike capabilities; smooth ride

What We Don't

Trucklike size and thirst

How Much?

$45,040-$59,825

Fuel Economy

All Expedition and Expedition EL models are powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic.

The regular-wheelbase Expedition with rear-wheel drive returns 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, while adding the optional 4-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing drops efficiency to 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy. The Expedition EL yields 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy and 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy, respectively. These numbers are notably better than what the old V8 provided, but you'll still go through a lot of gas if you buy an Expedition.

Standard Features & Options

The 3-row Expedition is offered in regular- or extended-wheelbase (EL) form in four trim levels: XLT, Limited, King Ranch and Platinum.

The XLT ($45,040) starts with standard amenities such as 18-inch wheels, a roof rack, rear parking sensors, an external security keypad, cruise control, power adjustable pedals, a partial power driver's seat, the SYNC voice-command system, Bluetooth and a 6-speaker audio system with USB connectivity, satellite radio and an auxiliary input.

The Limited ($54,635) steps up to niceties such as 20-in wheels, a rearview camera, power-folding mirrors, a power tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats with full power adjustments (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, a Sony audio system and the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-in touchscreen.

The King Ranch ($58,865) adds a 2-tone paint job, fancy saddle-style leather upholstery and wood interior inlays.

Finally, the Platinum ($59,825) largely shares the King Ranch's equipment but goes without the 2-tone paint and cowboy theme.

Options include adaptive suspension dampers, an air suspension with automatic load leveling, power running boards, a rear entertainment system and second-row captain's chairs that reduce seating capacity to seven.

Safety

Ford equips every 2015 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 is no collision involved. AdvanceTrac with roll stability control serves to help keep the vehicle from veering off course when skidding or plowing, while electronic traction control helps keep the tires from slipping on ice or wet pavement.

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

The 2015 Ford Expedition is no sports car, but it doesn't wallow and lean the way SUVs of the 1980s and 1990s used to. Part of the improvement can be credited to the Expedition's independent rear suspension, a design that allows the two rear wheels to move up and down independently. Additional credit is due to the available auto-leveling rear suspension that helps minimize rear-end sag.

On the road, the Expedition's steering feel is heavy but not laboriously so. The ride is smooth and the cabin is quiet, but if you catch a strong crosswind, you'll have to hold on to the steering wheel or make quick course corrections. Happily, the Expedition's EcoBoost V6 has more than enough muscle to move a full load of passengers and gear without worry.

For city driving, the Expedition is at its worst. Its huge size is not conducive to small parking spaces or tight parallel-parking maneuvers. The parking sensors, rear backup camera and integrated blind-zone mirrors greatly help with docking.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe -- The Tahoe has slightly more power and gets 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.

2015 Nissan Armada -- The Armada has a much more powerful V8 engine, but its resale and fuel economy figures lag behind the Expedition, and it doesn't offer an extended model.

2015 Toyota Sequoia -- The Sequoia offers two V8 engine options and has better resale value than the Expedition. The Expedition, however, can tow more weight, offers more creature comforts and has a lower base price than the Sequoia.

Used Lincoln Navigator -- The Navigator is basically an Expedition with extra style and luxury, and you can find a certified pre-owned model through your Lincoln dealer for the price of a new Expedition.

Autotrader's Advice

The Limited hits the sweet spot, providing MyFord Touch as standard and including many other desirable features for a few grand less than the King Ranch and Platinum.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Ford Expedition: New Car Review - Autotrader