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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, September 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Autos

2019 Ford Expedition is rich in power, comfort and cargo space

Don’t let its crisp styling and well-furnished cabin fool you; Ford’s full-size Expedition SUV is a brute at heart.

That heart being a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 that makes as much as much as 400 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. It powers the 5400-pound SUV from 0-60 in less than 7 seconds and can tow up to 9300 pounds.

The Expedition was completely redesigned for 2018. It grew longer and also lighter, thanks to extensive use of aluminum body panels. It also inherited the powertrain from the F-150 pickup.

Composed ride, fresh tech

The Expedition ($52,130) carries eight comfortably, its ride is composed and it features the latest iterations of Ford’s infotainment and driver-assist systems.

Inside, a beefy dashboard houses an 8-inch touchscreen flanked by large air vents. The rotary gearshift device nestles into a broad center console, just forward of a massive covered storage bin. Fifteen — count ‘em — cupholders dot the cabin.

The second row tilts and slides and the third-row bench is power-operated. It’s roomy enough to accommodate a pair of adults for extended periods.

Expedition’s standard-equipment list includes a power-adjustable driver's seat, keyless ignition, air conditioning, rear parking sensors and heated side mirrors.

Tech highlights include Ford's vastly improved Sync 3 infotainment interface, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

MAX package maxes out cargo space

Available driver assistance functions include a 360-degree camera, which is especially helpful in parking lots; blind-spot monitoring; active park assistance; and forward and reverse side-sensing systems. 

In its natural state, the Expedition is one of the largest vehicles on the road. But buyers seeking industrial-strength cargo capacity can order the long-wheelbase Expedition MAX, a $2,685 package available on Limited ($63,015) and Platinum ($73,365) trims. MAX adds three feet of length to the Expedition, all of it dedicated to the space behind the third-row seats.

A sizable bin hides beneath the cargo floor.

The Expedition produce 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, but the Platinum is tuned to produce 400 hp and 480 lb-ft. Platinum also delivers such extras as wood accents, massaging front seats and active noise cancellation. 

Base trim, with extras, hits sweet spot

Most buyers will find that the base XLT hits the sweet spot, especially when outfitted with a pair of options packages.

The 201A ($1,485) package adds simulated leather upholstery to the first and second rows and a power-adjustable front passenger seat. 

202A ($5,065) adds to that a trove of comfort, convenience and safety features that include keyless ignition and remote start, a hands-free liftgate, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, running boards, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Limited ($63,015) bundles the features from 202A and adds 20-inch wheels, front parking sensors, retractable running boards, heated second-row seats, and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. 

The FX4 4x4 Off-Road package ($1,650) adds low-range gearing with 4-Low lock and seven drive modes, a 3.73 limited-slip rear axle, all-terrain tires, off-road shocks and skid plates. 

Tight turning circle helps in parking lots

The Expedition’s bulk can feel out of place in city traffic, but its tight turning circle makes it surprisingly maneuverable in the supermarket parking lot. 

Every Expedition employs an independent rear suspension instead of the solid rear axle typical of SUVs. Adaptive dampers are available on the Limited, standard on Platinum. 

Our Platinum tester shrugged off broken road surfaces and rode smoothly. Even adaptive dampers struggle to control 5,400 pounds of SUV, though, leaving the driver to contend with considerable body lean.

Steering responses are slow and feedback is numb. While there’s not much in the way of on-center feel, the Expedition tracks well in its lane. The oversized steering wheel feels like it was handed down from one of Ford’s heavy-duty trucks.

The big V-6 produced smooth and vigorous power, with nearly no turbo lag. The 10-speed gearbox was always on the money, with well-timed shifts that consistently landed the six in the heart of its power band.

So, yes, it’s a brute, but there is, in sum, nothing brutal about Ford’s big cruiser. 

Questions or comments? Contact Don at don@dadair.com.

2019 Ford Expedition Platinum 4x4
Vehicle base price: $52,130
Trim level base price: $76,175
As tested: $81,815 (includes destination and handling)
Options included 22-inch polished aluminum wheels; leather second-row seats; heavy-duty trailer tow package; rear-entertainment system; reversible cargo mat
Tow capacity: 9300 pounds
EPA rating: 19 combined/17 city/22 highway



Don Adair
Don Adair is a Spokane-based freelance writer.