2015 Ford Expedition PlatinumPosted on January 19th, 2015
Full-sized utility vehicle gets a new game face
By Nina Russin
The term ‘expedition’ conjures up images of a base camp at some exotic locale in the Himalayas, replete with climbers, sherpas and yaks. The newest Ford Expedition full-sized utility vehicle can hold the entire climbing team, together with their camping equipment, c-rations and oxygen canisters.
Available in regular and extended-length versions, the newest Ford Expedition might be the nicest base camp an endurance athlete could dream of, with plenty of space for the bicycles, wet suits, sleeping bags, and running gear for the eight passengers it holds.
But cargo space alone isn’t what makes the Expedition special. Ford’s ace-in-the-hole is its twin turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost engine that delivers 365 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque. Together with the standard six-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy averages 22 miles-per-gallon on the highway and 16 around town: an impressive number for a car weighing close to 6,000 pounds.
Turbocharging prevents anemic performance at altitude. When equipped with a towing prep package the Expedition can haul up to 9,200 pounds: a good-sized trailer.
Base price for the 2015 Platinum model tested is $57,950. Adding red metallic exterior paint, 20-inch alloy wheels and the $1,195 destination charge, final MSRP is $61,720.
Engineered for the long haul
I remember the first Ford Expedition that debuted in 1996: basically a bigger version of the brand’s best-selling Explorer. The Expedition has come a long way in the past two decades. The 4.6-liter engine on the original model produced 215 horsepower, averaged 17 miles-per-gallon on the highway (12 around town) and towed up to 4,000 pounds. The new Expedition has 30 percent better fuel economy and tows more than twice the load.
Connectivity wasn’t much of an issue back then since the Internet was in its infancy. Today, customers need to stay connected wherever they go. The 2015 Expedition includes Ford’s Sync voice-activated infotainment system with satellite radio. The Platinum model tested adds voice-activated navigation and a Sony sound system.
Other standard convenience features include leather seating, dual-zone climate control, keyless start, automatically deploying running boards, compass, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats and power folding third-row seats. The power liftgate makes it easier to load large items in back while standard roof rails enable owners to add a gear rack or cargo carrier up top.
Test drive in Arizona
Traffic in this part of the country reaches its zenith in January, thanks to Scottsdale’s world-renowned car auction week, the annual influx of snowbirds and corporate retreats at area golf resorts. Navigating through this traffic in a high profile vehicle with a 119-inch wheelbase can be a challenge.
Thanks to active safety features such as blind spot monitoring and a rearview camera with cross traffic alert, driving the Expedition through traffic is not much different than a smaller passenger car.
The electric power steering system is nicely tuned to the chassis. Granted the Expedition doesn’t have the turning radius of a Mustang, nor the on-center response. But I was able to perform a U-turn on a wider surface street, and had no problems jumping into the adjacent lane when two cars in front of me decided to play bumper tag.
A four-wheel independent suspension isn’t a given in this type of vehicle, but it makes a difference for passengers in the second and third rows. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the Expedition in firm, linear fashion.
The V-6 engine is a beautiful machine, with power and performance indistinguishable from a V-8. The turbocharged block develops peak torque at 2500 rpm, so the driver doesn’t need to dig deep into the throttle to accelerate hard off the line or merge into high-speed traffic. There is plenty of power on the high end for passing slower vehicles at speed.
The six-speed automatic transmission progresses smoothly through the gears with no obvious shift shock under normal driving conditions.
Engineers did an excellent job minimizing road, wind and engine noise into the cabin so passengers can converse or enjoy the premium audio system.
The Expedition’s spacious interior makes it an ideal choice for active families. Self-deploying running boards on the test car make it easier for a small woman to enter and exit the car. There are also grab handles on the front pillars. I noticed that the grab handle seemed a bit close to my head: not a problem under normal circumstances but possibly during a collision.
Power seat adjustments make it easy for smaller drivers to maintain a clear forward view. When the driver fires the ignition seat adjustments automatically restore to the most recent settings. Power adjustable pedals are also standard on the Platinum model. The only thing missing is a dead pedal, which would make driving more comfortable for smaller adults.
Both first and second rows have ample head, hip and legroom for adults. A power folding third-row seat adds an additional three seating positions or folds into the floor to expand the cargo area.
There is ample room for storage throughout the cabin, including a large center console bin and glove box. I found both the center stack screen and gauge cluster easy to read in bright sunlight and after dark. Redundant audio controls on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction.
Standard MyKey enables parents to add controls such as lowering the maximum speed and a perimeter alarm, so new drivers can safely share the vehicle.
The Ford Expedition comes with front, side and safety canopy side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, hill start assist, illuminated entry, post-crash notification for police and emergency medical personnel, traction control, stability control with roll mitigation, antilock brakes, tire pressure monitoring, rearview camera with cross traffic alert and trailer sway control.
The newest Expedition is rolling into Ford dealerships nationwide.
Like: A safe, solid full-sized utility vehicle with available four-wheel drive, versatile interior, good fuel economy and excellent driving dynamics.
Dislike: Grab handles on A-pillars are close to the driver and front passenger’s heads: something that could be an issue in a collision. No dead pedal on the driver’s side.
Model: Expedition Platinum 4×2
Base price: $57,950
As tested: $61,720
Horsepower: 365 Hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 420 lbs.-ft. @ 2500 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Off-road: Yes (4×4 version only)
Fuel economy: 16/22 mpg city/highway2015, Luxury 2015, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Ford, performance, pricing, standard safety
Leave a reply