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2016 Ford Expedition: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2016

For some, the 2016 Ford Expedition is a hugely appealing old-school SUV. Most people don't need a full-size SUV with seating for eight, towing capacity in excess of 9,000 pounds and frequent visits to the gas station. But those who do -- a large family with outdoorsy pursuits and a boat on a trailer, for example -- will find the Expedition to be an excellent choice.

We say old-school because a lot of modern crossovers have what's called a unibody construction, which means that their bodies are basically one piece, but the Expedition uses a body-on-frame setup. The lower section is often called a ladder frame. There are two girderlike steel rails running forward to back that are connected by steel rungs, and the body goes above that. Pickup trucks are built this way, and most SUVs of an older design are pickup-based.

The advantage here is that body-on-frame vehicles tend to have superior towing capabilities. 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.

What's New for 2016?

It's goodbye to the unlamented MyFord Touch infotainment setup and hello to its more user-friendly successor: SYNC 3.

What We Like

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

What We Don't

Dated interior; thirst

How Much?

$46,630-$61,530; $49,340-$64,180 (EL)

Fuel Economy

All Expedition and Expedition EL models use 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 rear-drive Expedition with the regular wheelbase returns 16 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg combined. Adding the optional all-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing results in 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined.

The Expedition EL yields 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined in rear-drive form and 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

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

The XLT ($46,630) 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, second-row seats that split, slide and recline, a 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 ($56,340) 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 ($60,570) adds 2-tone paint, saddle-style leather upholstery and wood trim.

The Platinum ($64,180) largely shares the King Ranch's equipment but does so without the 2-tone paint and cowboy theme. It has a sunroof as standard.

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.

Safety

Ford equips every 2016 Ford Expedition with its Safety Canopy System, which includes front, front-side and 3-row side-curtain airbags. A rollover sensor can activate the front-side and side-curtain airbags even if there is 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 is 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 that's so 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.

The steering feel is heavy but not laborious. The ride is smooth and the cabin is quiet, but if you catch a strong crosswind, you'll have to hold the steering wheel firmly, 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, rear backup camera and integrated blind-zone mirrors help, there's no getting away from its substantial size. There's no point even thinking about trying to squeeze into a tight parking space.

The upside is massive cargo space. In the regular model, this area is made up of 18.6 cu ft. when all the seats are in place. You can fold them down for 108.3 cu ft. In the EL, we're looking at 42.6 cu ft. and 130.8 cu ft. based on the seat positions.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Chevrolet Tahoe -- The Tahoe has slightly more power and slightly better fuel economy than the Expedition, but its rear seats don't fold flush onto the floor and don't offer as much legroom. You should also look at the GMC Yukon and the Chevy Suburban.

2015 Nissan Armada -- The Armada has a more powerful V8 engine, but its resale and fuel economy figures lag behind the Expedition. There's no long-wheelbase variant either. A new generation will debut for 2017.

2016 Toyota Sequoia -- This model offers two V8 engine options and has better resale value than the Expedition. However, it does not have as many creature comforts or as much towing capacity, and it comes with a higher base price.

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

Autotrader's Advice

The Platinum would be nice, but the Limited hits a sweet spot.

Find a Ford Expedition for sale

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Certified 2016 Ford Expedition XLT
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Used 2016 Ford Expedition 4WD XLT
Used 2016 Ford Expedition
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Used 2016 Ford Expedition XLT
Used 2016 Ford Expedition
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Used 2016 Ford Expedition XLT
Used 2016 Ford Expedition
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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.
2016 Ford Expedition: New Car Review - Autotrader