The Ford Expedition has been around in North America for over two decades.
It is the full-size vehicle of choice for many transporting larger families, and their trailer or boat. Ford launched an all-new fourth generation Expedition in 2018 (codenamed U553) and it continues with body-on-frame architecture constructed using a combination of boron steel and aluminum. Tested here is a 2019 Ford Expedition Limited, in order to determine how it stacks up in this increasing competitive full-size SUV segment.
The Ford Expedition that Ford Canada lent us arrived painted in a subtle Silver Spruce colour. The first thing anyone will notice upon seeing this car is the sheer size of it. The Expedition measures 5,333mm long, 2,373mm wide, and 1,941mm high. To put it into perspective, the Expedition is near 80mm longer than the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S 560 (reviewed here), a car that comes to mind for most when one thinks about a limousine.
My tester was equipped with the Stealth Edition package, which replaces almost all of the chrome bits you can find on the exterior with a more upscale looking gloss back finish. The parts that received a blackened treatment include its five-bar front grille, side mirror caps, roof rails, power-deployable running boards, tailgate appliqué, rear bumper skid plate, trailer hitch cover, and its front and rear light housings. The Stealth Edition also comes with black “Expedition” lettering on the hood, unique red-letter stitching, and a set of 22″ six-spoke black wheels to complete the covert look.
One of the main reason car buyers shop for full size SUVs is for their exceptional towing capacity. The Expedition boasts a best-in-class towing capacity of 9,200 pounds with the optional Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow package. This package comes with a heavy-duty radiator, Pro Trailer Backup Assist, 3.73 electronic limited-slip differential (instead of the standard 3.11 Non-Limited Slip Axle), integrated trailer brake controller, and two-speed automatic with neutral towing capability.
That towing capacity is made possible by the Expedition’s standard 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine delivering 375 horsepower at 5,000RPM and a healthy 470 lb-ft. of torque at 2,250RPM. Despite its two-and-half ton curb weight, the turbocharged V6 powerplant does an excellent job at getting the Expedition moving. Turbo lag is kept to a minimum and the 10-speed automatic transmission strikes a fine balance between responsiveness and efficiency. Those who plans to take the Expedition and its Control Trac four-wheel-drive system off-road can take advantage of the Terrain Management System. This allows drivers to select from one of seven preset modes to optimize driving dynamics to various elements such as snow, grass, gravel, and sand.
Fuel efficiency is not normally considered an emphasis for full size body-on-frame SUVs like the Expedition. However, we noted that the EcoBoost engine is rated at an impressive 14.7L/100km city, 11.4L/100km highway and 13.4L/100km combined consumption figures. I observed 16.7L/100km during my test week, which consisted of mainly city drives, and a relatively economical 11.8L/100km on the highway. The 95L fuel tank recommends premium 91-octane for optimal performance.
Given the enormous size of the Expedition, it is not surprising to report that the Expedition has plenty of interior space. Visibility is not an issue from the driver’s seat, and navigating around tighter parking lots is manageable thanks to the 360-degree camera with split-view display. However, one will need to be mindful of the height when entering indoor parkades. Our tester was equipped with the optional second-row bucket seats, and a dual-headrest rear seat entertainment system, offering a business-class flight experience to occupants. Head and legroom are both acceptable in the third row, and the seats come standard with a PowerFold feature that can fold and unfold with a touch of a button from the cargo area.
Cargo volume behind the second row is rated at an ample 1,627L, and a respectable 546L even with the third row up. For those who require more space, Ford will offer you an Expedition MAX model in the Limited or Platinum trim with an additional 300mm of length for an extra $3,000. That is a reasonable premium for the extra real estate and a good option for those individuals; just make sure you measure the driveway or garage to make sure it fits.
Ride comfort of the Expedition is a bit on the firm side, typical for body-on-frame construction, but not uncomfortable. The heated and ventilated front seats are great for long road trips, and those who are frequently on the road might find it worthwhile to opt for the Platinum trim for its Active Motion front seats, designed to reduce fatigue by using air pockets to massage the back and legs. Enjoyment over long trips is further enhanced by the 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, a standard feature on the Limited and Platinum trim levels.
The Expedition’s infotainment is controlled using the eight-inch touchscreen SYNC 3 system. The system is easy to use, with a tiled design controlling most of the different apps within the system, and several shortcuts along the bottom allowing you to access audio, phone, or navigation information quickly. The SYNC 3 touchscreen system is one of the better touchscreen units in the industry with precise response and minimal attention required to navigate its different functions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are standard features, as well.
My Expedition tester came with the optional Driver’s Assistance Package, which comes with Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane-Keeping, Pre-Collision Assist, Auto High-Beam, and Rain-Sensing wipers. Along with the standard 360-degree camera, Blind Spot Information System, and Enhanced Active Park Assist, you never feel alone or intimidated driving such a large vehicle even if you find yourself getting into the downtown core during rush hour.
Pricing of the 2019 Ford Expedition starts at $59,949 for the base XLT trim, going up to $72,949 for the as-tested Limited, and $81,299 for the top-of-line Platinum. My tester was then added with the Stealth Edition Package (which has the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow and Driver Assistance package built in for $7,500), Convenience Package ($2,000), Dual-Headrest Rear Seat Entertainment System ($2,100), 2ndrow bucket seats ($400), and a couple of accessories that bring the as-tested total to $85,705. It competes almost head-to-head with the GMC Yukon XL Denali (reviewed here), and offers slightly better city fuel economy having gone with the turbocharged V6 instead of GMC’s V8, and a better towing capacity when equipped properly.
The 2019 Ford Expedition Limited is a heavy hitter in the full size three-row SUV segment offering a handsome look, an abundance of interior entertainment, decent fuel economy, and best-in-class towing capacity. For anyone looking for a family vehicle for the long road trips, especially for families with a RV trailer or a boat, the Expedition is one they should give a long hard look at before making any purchase decisions.